In August 2021, when the City of Philadelphia reopened MLK Jr. Drive to cars, it announced in its press release that they’d be looking into continuing weekend closures towards the end of the year. We talked to the Kenney Administration and Council staff to confirm if MLK will continue to be closed to motor vehicles on weekends looking ahead into 2022. The answer is mostly “yes.”
The latest from the City is that the Drive has effectively been keeping summer closure hours with plans to re-evaluate. The City has put out a Request for Information from access management contractors, equipment vendors (including bollards, gates, software, etc.), operators, technology specialists, experts, community organizations, and entrepreneurs working locally, nationally, or internationally on the following three topics:
- Information on managing gate locks at intersections requiring occasional access by private parties,
- Information on clearing/monitoring closed circulation areas to ensure they are free of unauthorized vehicles,
- Information regarding allowance or support for accountable access/independent intermittent use by private parties.
In the press release announcing the RFI, Deputy Managing Director Mike Carroll stated that “Many residents have used and appreciated the weekend and holiday closures of MLK Drive to vehicles. This RFI looks to continue this practice in a cost-effective and sustainable manner,”
Our understanding is that in March, there may be a need to open the Drive up on the weekends to vehicles for operational maintenance. In the meantime, the gates should be closed on weekends until further notice. If you happen to see anything inconsistent with the current status, please send us an update via email or send us photos with a mile marker of the location you captured the issue to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, we will continue to report on the City’s interim plan for the Drive.