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What Bicyclists Should Expect During the 2017 NFL Draft Event

The National Football League’s annual draft is coming to Philadelphia later this month, and in light of Homeland Security’s plans for the event, we want you to know (to the best of our knowledge) which streets will be open to bicycling, and which will be closed, and when.

The draft begins on Thursday, April 27 and will end on Saturday, April 29. It will be hosted by the City of Philadelphia, and takes place on the Ben Franklin Parkway, Eakins Oval, and the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. However, some street closures will start prior to the actual event.

The event will take up the entirety of the Parkway, will be nationally televised, and is security is largely being directed by U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Here are the plans, and what to do during the Ben Franklin Parkway’s transition to a football person extravaganza:

April 5

On Wednesday, April 5, the city will shut down a single motor vehicle parking lane on Pennsylvania Avenue. The bike lane, we are told, will still be open on that street.

April 10

On April 10, the following roads and streets will be closed:

  • Spring Garden Street westbound will close at Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • The westbound center roadway of Benjamin Franklin Parkway will maintain two lanes from 20th Street to Eakins Oval.  The left lane of Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be closed from East Eakins Oval to Spring Garden St. and continue to southbound Kelly Drive, where it will open up to three travel lanes.
  • The right two lanes of Eakins Oval in front of the Art Museum steps will be closed for the building of the theatre.
  • Southbound Kelly Drive will have a lane drop between 25th St. and Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Our suggestion: If you’re a commuter who uses some of these routes, veer away. Eakins Oval is not a recommended street for bicycling as is, and closing a lane of traffic suddenly may make it worse. If you use the Oval to get into Center City, say, from Kelly Drive or Fairmount, considering taking the scenic route, around the back of the Art Museum and along Schuylkill Drive, to get into Center City.

April 19

The center lanes of the Ben Franklin Parkway will be closed on April 19 — which is OK, because you may already have switched your route to the Schuylkill River Trail. Or, if you’re still riding on the Parkway, you can still take the outside green bike lanes to get northwest or southeast, since the outside lanes are still open.

April 24

The yellow on the above map represents the event’s perimeter, which will go up on April 24, and will stay up the rest of the Draft. The following streets will be closed on April 24:

  • Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be closed from 20th Street to the Art Museum.
  • Martin Luther King Drive will remain open to 24th Street.
  • Eastbound Spring Garden Street will remain open from 31st Street to 24th Street.
  • Kelly Drive will be closed at Fairmount Avenue with traffic detoured onto Fairmount Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue.

At this point, if you live in West Philadelphia or Northwest Philadelphia and commute to the city, the trail system will be your best friend. If you live in Fairmount of North Philadelphia, make sure you get below 20th Street before riding into Center City, or out of it, or through it.

April 25

April 25 is when things get a little dicey. You’ll notice in the above map that the trails are still open –we have been told at this time that the trail on Schuylkill Banks and MLK and Kelly Drives will stay open throughout the Draft. The blue lines represent parking closures, and the dotted red lines represent “local access only” streets — which means if you’re a cyclist, you should be able to still use them (again to the best of our knowledge)!

Here’s the full list of closures from April 25 through the end of the draft:

  • 21st Street closed from Winter Street to Spring Garden Street
    • Local access to Pennsylvania Avenue only (all traffic must turn left)
  • 22nd Street closed from Race Street to Spring Garden Street
    • Local access to Park Towne Place only (residents)
  • 23rd Street closed from Fairmount Avenue to Benjamin Franklin Parkway
    • Local access only
  • 24th Street closed from Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Park Towne Place
    • Local access only
  • Martin Luther King Drive closed at Sweet Briar Drive.
    • Road opened daily during peak AM rush hour on 4/27 & 4/28 (5AM-10AM) for access to I-676 via 24th Street
  • Kelly Drive closed from Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Fairmount Avenue
  • Spring Garden Street Bridge closed at 31st Street
    • Road opened daily during peak AM rush hour on 4/27 & 4/28 (5AM-10AM) for access to I-676 via 24th Street
    • Access to I-76 westbound will be maintained
    • Local access to Art Museum will be maintained
  • Spring Garden Street closed from 22nd Street to Benjamin Franklin Parkway
    • Local access after peak AM rush hour
  • Pennsylvania Avenue closed from Hamilton Street to Fairmount Avenue
    • Local access after peak AM rush hour
  • Pennsylvania Avenue/Callowhill Street closed from 20th Street to 21st Street
    • Local access to Barnes Foundation driveway (westbound) only
    • Eastbound open from 21st Street
  • Park Towne Place closed from 22nd Street to 24th Street
    • Local access only (residents)
  • I-676 westbound 22nd Street off-ramp closed
  • The following streets be designated “local access only” west of 22nd Street:
  • Wallace Street
  • Mt. Vernon Street
  • Green Street
  • Judson Street
  • Brandywine Street

Topics: Biking in Philly, Featured

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