After being partially closed for more than a year, the City of Philadelphia has announced that Martin Luther King Drive will be reopened to vehicular traffic. Mayor Jim Kenney’s office announced Tuesday vehicle traffic will return starting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 4.
According to the City of Philladelphia website, the reopening is based on consultation with City Council and the successful completion of various infrastructure projects including improvements to the recreational trail, paving, and upgrades to lighting.
The City stated that the closure of MLK Drive allowed the City to address requests for recreational space during the height of the pandemic and at the same time facilitated the completion of a number of needed infrastructure projects such as the trail.
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The works include a $1.4 million dollar project to completely reconstruct, rehabilitate and widen the recreational trail, including upgrades to drainage, signage, ADA ramps and line striping, which was proposed before the pandemic and will provide a far safer experience for walkers, joggers and cyclists to continue enjoying the riverbank regardless of traffic on the Drive.
The City said MLK Drive will continue to be closed for weekend recreational use and city holidays from Falls Bridge to Eakins Oval starting on Saturday, August 7 at 6 a.m. through the end of October.
City officials said they are also looking at ways to extend these closures beyond this pattern and it is committed to provide training and orientation of partner agencies to support the extension of the closure through to Spring 2022 and to pilot options which include continuous and holiday closures starting in September.
They also aim to evaluate the longer-term sustainable options which may involve procurement of additional equipment and or services over the next six months.