If you’re thinking of driving through downtown Philadelphia this Independence Day you may want to think again.
Thousands will flock to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Old City and other parts of Philadelphia Thursday for Independence Day festivities.
That means plenty of road closures, detours and potential traffic headaches as large areas are closed for the Wawa Welcome America concert and fireworks and other events.
The Party on the Parkway, Fourth of July concert featuring John Mayer, the Roots, Kevin Hart, Ne-Yo, Hunter Hayes and others and fireworks will mean plenty of closures around the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Closures began Wednesday at 9: 30 a.m. when the inner lanes (20th Street to Eakins Oval) of the Parkway were closed the length. The inner lanes will reopen for the afternoon rush (3 to 6: 30 p.m.) but then remain closed through the end of July 4th festivities.
The entire length of the Parkway from 18th Street to Eakins Oval will be closed starting at 6 a.m. July 4th through about 11:15 p.m. Other closures for most of the day include: Cherry Street from 18th to 20th Streets; 19th Street from Callowhill Street to the Parkway; 20th, 21st and 22nd Streets from Callowhill to Arch Streets; the eastbound and westbound exits of I-676 to 22nd and 23rd Streets; and the Martin Luther King Drive from the Art Museum to the Falls Bridge.
The closures and detours expand starting at 4 p.m. Closures include: Kelly Drive from South Ferry Road to Eakins Oval; Spring Garden and Callowhill Streets westbound at Broad Street and Hamilton Street westbound at 17th Street. Fairmount Avenue westbound will be diverted northbound onto Corinthian Avenue; 15th, 17th, 19th and 21st Streets south will be diverted eastbound onto Spring Garden Street; and 29th Street southbound will be diverted onto Poplar Street.
Other parts of the city will also see plenty of July 4th-related closures.
The 500 block of Chestnut Street (in front of Independence Hall -- that exact spot where the Declaration of Independence was signed) was closed to vehicles starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday to allow set up time for a free nighttime concert from Peter Nero and the Philly Pops. The closure continues until 4 p.m. Thursday to allow time to break down the stage and for the Independence Day Parade.
Chestnut and Market Streets from Front to 9th Streets will be closed July 4th from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for the patriotic parade.
Expect streets surrounding all the city events to become backed up and street parking to be sparse.
The best bet, as always during a big event, will be to take public transit downtown. After July 4th festivities: SEPTA will be running subway trains until 12:30 a.m.; SEPTA Regional Rail trains will leave Suburban Station until midnight (schedules may vary); SEPTA buses will be staged on 20th and 21st Streets and PATCO will be running on 15-minute intervals all night.
Before you leave on public transit or by car be sure to check the NBC10.com Traffic Page.