PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – All good things must come to an end. Philadelphia officials announced Tuesday plans for reopening MLK Drive to vehicle traffic. It’s been closed since the start of the pandemic.
“It’s going to be a sad day when that goes away for our runners and bikers,” said Amy Remmer, who runs on MLK Drive.READ MORE: Philadelphia Commerce Director Michael Rashid Resigns After He Reportedly Made Anti-Semitic Remarks, Verbally Abused His Staff
The days are numbered for unfettered use of MLK Drive by runners and bikers. The city is set to reopen the roadway to vehicle traffic on Aug. 4 at 5 p.m. It’s been a respite for those looking for extra space throughout the pandemic
“Almost every day, five days a week,” said Remmer.
Brian McMeley, who uns on MLK Drive, said, “Pretty often probably once or twice a week.”READ MORE: Water Main Break Flooding Multiple Buildings In Society Hill Section, Officials Say
The roadway was closed to vehicles in the spring of 2020 – at the start of the lockdown. It was a way to allow for social distancing when the adjacent Schuylkill River Trail got crowded. It’s also the main thoroughfare for people who live in Mount Airy and Parkside to avoid the expressway.
In anticipation of reopening MLK Drive to cars, it has been fully repaved. However, that was a plan devised long before the pandemic.
MLK Drive stretches for five miles from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the Falls Bridge in East Falls — through Fairmount Park. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia says since the roadway was closed, up to 10,000 runners, bikers and walkers would use it each day.
“It’s nice if I’m taking the bike out or something to be able to have all the open space and know there’s a ton of space to access,” said Remmer. “We’ve got other trails which is great so at least it’s not like we don’t have anything to fall back on. But it made running, biking and getting outside, being active, incredibly accessible.”MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Union Miss Out On Eastern Conference Championship Amid COVID Crisis
Improvements were made to the adjacent walkway to allow for biking and running. And the roadway will remain closed to cars on weekend mornings.