Image via Open Streets PHL Facebook page

Image via Open Streets PHL Facebook page

Tomorrow at 11am, Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane will discuss the potential of a Philadelphia Open Streets Initiative in the future.

“After Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia this September, in which blocks and blocks of the city were shutdown to cars, some Philly residents have launched a call for more weekends to feature open streets devoid of cars in certain sections of the city,” reads Radio Times’ description of tomorrow’s 11am programming. “We’ll also discuss potential concerns about open streets weekends, their feasibility, and what it might mean for the city and its denizens.”

An Open Streets Initiative would shut down several city blocks in Philadelphia for a single day, something numerous other cities already do regularly in the summer. Last month, when Pope Francis came to Philadelphia, Center City was basically shut down to cars, and citizens planned their own activities, including bike rides and runs.

The Bicycle Coalition and our Better Mobility partners had been pushing for an Open Streets campaign for some time, as well. We blogged about the city creating something like New York City’s “Summer Street” program during the Pope visit, and all mayoral candidates signed onto our 10-point Better Mobility Agenda in the spring, which includes creating an Open Streets Initiative.

After the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia, another Open Streets Philly campaign was created on social media and claimed thousands of fans.

Both mayoral candidate Jim Kenney and Mayor Michael Nutter expressed willingness to create Open Streets in Philadelphia.

The Nutter Administration even created a “Streets Team” and survey, which asked questions like, “Where would you like an Open Streets event to be held in Philadelphia? And “How often should Philadelphia have an Open Streets event?” We hear the city has now received over 3,000 responses.

The momentum is there, and tomorrow, Philadelphians will be able to hear even more about the plans the city and others have for future Open Streets programs in Philadelphia. Among the guests: Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron, Open Streets PHL member Nate Hommel (Full disclosure: I am also involved in Open Streets PHL), and Denise Goren, director of policy and planning at the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities.

If you’re interested in hearing more about Open Streets in Philadelphia, we recommend you tune into Radio Times tomorrow at 11am on WHYY (90.9FM). We will feature more on this as it develops.

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