Sunday, October 31, 2010

Last Car-Free Day on MLK Drive

The seasonal weekend closure of MLK Drive to cars and trucks ends today, motor vehicle closures car-free days will begin again on Saturday April 2nd 2011. On those days MLK is car -free for it's entire length from 7AM to 12PM. From 12PM to 5 the road is open to cars and trucks from the Art Museum to Sweetbriar. Also after 12PM the Montgomery Drive gates open to allow visitors (and lost drivers) to access the picnic areas, which sometimes surprises people bicycling, skating and walking on the drive.

Thursday's Cities For Cycling Forum offered many recommendations. One repeating theme was the Ciclovia which often refers to closing an arterial street (i.e. Broad and the Ben Franklin Parkway). While MLK would certainly not qualify under that definition, it does offer great opportunities. For example the bike paths on SweetBriar and Lansdowne connects the MLK Drive to the Please Touch Museum. Access to the Zoo via Sweetbriar is only hindered by the chaotic Girard/Lansdowne intersection. Adding some food vendors, kayak lessons, dumpster pools etc. on MLK could draw more people to the drive on weekends. Opposition remains to the car restrictions and applying what we are trying to accomplish on the Delaware River and Schuylkill Banks - giving residents access to the waterfront should apply as well to the west bank of the Schuylkill.

Looking at a longer view the City and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission are exploring the feasibility of reducing travel lanes on MLK. For more information on the Bicycle Coalition's future vision for MLK Drive go to the Take Back the Drive Campaign page.

You can also express your view on the future of MLK Drive
  1. Like and post to the I Have a Dream for MLK Drive page on Facebook.
  2. Comment on MLK Drive in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan