Temple University

Plenty of Space to Roam as Philly Free Streets Comes to North Broad Street

What to Know

  • During Philly Free Streets, city streets are closed to cars so that pedestrians and bicyclists can enjoy city streets.
  • The third Philly Free Streets will be held Aug. 11 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and explores the history and culture of North Broad Street.
  • The event began after the Pope's 2015 visit to Philadelphia closed some city streets -- and some people said they enjoyed the traffic break.

Philadelphia's popular Philly Free Streets program returns on Aug. 11 with a lineup of events that celebrate the history and culture of North Broad Street.

North Broad Street will be closed from City Hall to Erie Avenue from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Pedestrians, bicyclists and others on people-powered vehicles are encouraged to freely roam the street.

Museums will open with special programming, ballerinas will teach young people how to tell a story with dance, a "beach" will draw summer visitors and the street's deep black history will be celebrated, including with a scavenger hunt. 

No cars allowed -- until 1 p.m. Neither are motorized bikes or other vehicles except for those with special needs; check the Philly Free Streets site for more restrictions and questions.

Philly Free Streets will have a stretch of North Broad Street closed Saturday. NBC10 First Alert Traffic reporter Pamela Osborne has details.

All parked cars must be off North Broad from JFK Boulevard to Butler Street by 2 a.m. Saturday or risk being towed, the City said. Cross traffic will intermittently be allowed only on JFK, Vine Street eastbound, Spring Garden Street, Ridge Avenue, Girard Avenue, Diamond street, Lehigh Avenue, Allegheny Avenue, Erie Avenue and Butler Street.

This is the third Philly Free Streets event. The idea was born after the Pope's 2015 visit to Philadelphia, when some residents said they enjoyed having a break from cars on city streets that were closed for security reasons.

This upcoming Saturday is the latest Philly Free Streets event, this time on North Broad Street. Rosemary Connors sits down with Bill Bergman, the vice president of public affairs for Temple University, to discuss what we can expect for this event that goes right through the heart of the campus.

"Philly Free Streets is much more than closing a street for a day," said Patrick Morgan, program director for Philadelphia for the Knight Foundation, which helps fund the program. "It’s an opportunity for residents to explore diverse neighborhoods and connect with each other and their city."

The August event is all about North Broad. After a ribbon-cutting at 8 a.m., Mayor Jim Kenney will join other walkers and bikers on the trek toward Erie Avenue. 

Highlights include free admission to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, a black history-themed scavenger hunt at major intersections and family yoga at Temple University' Lewis Katz School of Medicine.

Here's a full list of events on North Broad during Philly Free Streets. If you go, share your pictures with the hashtags #ThinkBroad #PhillyFreeStreets:

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: Free admission to the museum, chalk drawing activities and wearable butterfly art.

South of Vine Street: Drexel Medicine provides health education materials and helps kids make crafts from medical supplies. 

Wood Street: Pennsylvania Ballet presents "Dance Me a Story!" in which kids learn how to tell a story with dance. 

Callowhill Street: Philly Free Streets rest area, featuring Meg Saligman Studio, Philadelphia-born author John Butler reading his book “Chase Does It All” and one of the stops for the scavenger hunt featuring the street's extensive black history. Pick up tickets for "Then & Now: Black History on North Broad Street" at any of six stops on North Broad.

Franklin High School, north of Spring Garden Street: A Mural Arts Philadelphia docent discusses the “Words and Voices” and “All Join Hands: The Vision of Peace Project.”

Fairmount Avenue: Help chalk-paint the Fairmount Avenue triangle, to make it a colorful public space. And join Mural Arts Philadelphia’s "Murals on the Move" in family-friendly make-and-take art activities. 

Poplar Street: Philly Free Streets rest area, featuring activities from the Philadelphia Water Department that show how actions at home impact the city’s drinking water. Also featuring the scavenger hunt "Then & Now: Black History on North Broad Street."

South of Girard Avenue: Indego bike corral service

North of Girard Avenue: A Mural Arts Philadelphia docent discusses the “North Philadelphia Heroes” mural by Cliff Eubanks.

Master Street: Join North Broad Renaissance at the "beach" created on the lawn of the Leon H. Sullivan Human Services Center.

Oxford Street: Indego bike corral service and prizes. Also, join Mural Arts Philadelphia in coloring in a jazz-themed median between Oxford Street and Cecil B. Moore Ave.

Cecil B. Moore Street: Beech Companies’ Jazz on the Ave begins at noon. Plus, Philly Free Streets rest area featuring Philly reading coaches and the scavenger hunt "Then & Now: Black History on North Broad Street." 

Montgomery Avenue: Temple University offers programming focused on health and fitness, art, music, and the community. Tour the campus, engage in do-it-yourself stations like drum-building and magnetic mosaics and learn more about the Pan-African Studies Community Education Program.

Susquehanna Avenue: Philly Free Streets rest area. Pick up a ticket for the scavenger hunt "Then & Now: Black History on North Broad Street."

Uptown Theater, between Susquehanna Avenue and Dauphin streets: Take a tour of the historic Uptown Theater during Philly Free Streets. Tours are $10 and will be offered at 10 a.m. and noon, but they are free for north central Philadelphia residents with ID. Plus, join Mural Arts Philadelphia and Uptown Theater to paint a mural that tells the history of the Uptown Theater.

Huntingdon Street: Philly Free Streets Rest area, featuring employment opportunities at the City of Philadelphia and the scavenger hunt "Then & Now: Black History on North Broad Street."

South of Lehigh Avenue: A Mural Arts Philadelphia docent will discuss the “Wall of Rugs” mural by Kathryn Pennypacker.

Indiana Avenue: The North Philly Rising CDC will share community resources. 

Sedgley Avenue: Philly Free Streets rest area, featuring an interactive model of a house with different cooling elements for homes, such as a white roof and canopy cover, from Philadelphia's Office of Sustainability. Plus participate in Mural Arts Philadelphia Trash Academy activities and pick up a ticket for the scavenger hunt "Then & Now: Black History on North Broad Street."

Westmoreland Street: Use chalk paint to paint a temporary pedestrian plaza at the intersection of Westmoreland Street and Rising Sun Avenue.

3500 N. Broad Street, between Tioga and Venango streets, in front of Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine: Yoga & More on North Broad is a series of fitness activities for all ages and fitness levels. Here's what is scheduled: 10 a.m. Yoga on North Broad; 11 a.m. Family Fitness & Fun; Noon Ridiculously Fit Fun. Plus, at the Shiners Hospital for Children - Philadelphia, learn more about Shriners specialized orthopaedic care, play yard games, and refuel with a snack.

3600 N. Broad Street, Venango Street and Erie Avenue: Join Zion Baptist Church for family-friendly activities, including painting on canvas and nail painting. 

North Broad Street and Germantown Avenue: Celebrate libraries in a mural with Mural Arts Philadelphia and the Free Library Nicetown-Tioga Branch. And learn about pedestrian and bike safety at the Vision Zero Safety Zone. Plus, Neighborhood Bike Works will activate a mobile bike shop, AARP Pennsylvania will host a photo booth and Girls Jump Philly will jump rope between 10 a.m. and noon.

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