Reimagining Philadelphia’s major roadways

Bikes, scooters, pedestrians - oh my! How will Philadelphia make routes safer (and maybe greener) for all travelers to share?

Listen 49:30
People on recumbent bikes use MLK Drive

People on recumbent bikes use MLK Drive when it was closed to car traffic in July 2020. (Kaveen Harohalli/Billy Penn)

Pedestrian and cyclist traffic on major city roadways exploded since the beginning of the pandemic, with many antsy Philadelphia residents flocking to areas like Ben Franklin Parkway and Martin Luther King Drive for recreation and now, more environmentally friendly commuting. With a portion of the MLK route opening again after being off-limits to vehicles since March 2020, alternative transportation activists see an opportunity to lobby the city for more inclusive and safer roadways. Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition’s RANDY LOBASSO says his team dreamed up a compromise, allowing room for car lanes and non-carbon travel, but it hasn’t gained traction with city planners. On the Parkway, architecture critic INGA SAFFRON has covered redesign plans several times in the last three decades, but has yet to see a dramatic transformation. They join us alongside MIKE CARROLL, Deputy Director of the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, & Sustainability, to discuss how the city must adapt to the future of road sharing.

Check out WHYY’s Ryan Briggs’ coverage of updates to the Ben Franklin Parkway & Martin Luther King Drive:

‘Hot mess of cars’ to ‘holistic’: Designers offer a kinder Ben Franklin Parkway

Philly selects finalists to plan pedestrian-friendly revamp of Ben Franklin Parkway

‘Change is hard’: Why the future of a car-free MLK Drive remains in flux

Click HERE to see the finalists in the design competition for the Ben Franklin Parkway plans.

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