Beginning on Saturday, March 30, the City of Philadelphia will close MLK Drive to motor vehicle traffic between the East Falls Bridge and Sweetbriar Drive on weekends to increase recreational access for the public. The seasonal closures will begin this weekend in conjunction with the Easy holiday. The closure will be in place starting on Saturdays at 7 a.m. through Mondays at 7 a.m.

MLK Drive has been closed to vehicular traffic seasonally on weekends since 1995. This initiative creates a safer experience for walkers, joggers, and cyclists to enjoy in the warmer months. Between April and November, there is a significant increase in pedestrian and bicycle traffic on the trails and parks along the Schuylkill River. Space on the Schuylkill River Trail is limited but MLK Drive provides a great alternative.

The Department of Streets, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, and Office of Transportation and Infrastructure work together to oversee the program. The 2023 seasonal closure coincided with the start of the MLK Drive Bridge rehabilitation project and ran from April 1 through November 26.

MLK Drive Bridge Detour

Trail users can still access MLK Drive between the East Falls Bridge and the construction zone south of Sweetbriar Drive. The City has updated a detour route map on the MLK Drive Bridge project page. The detour route map shows the official trail detour route and an alternative route. The detour routes are for both directions from the MLK Drive Trail to the Art Museum.

From the north, the detour route starts at Sweetbriar Drive and travels on Lansdowne Drive. The route continues on the sidewalks on 34th Street and a side path on Mantua Avenue. Trail users can then follow the painted bike lanes and sidewalks on Spring Garden Street to Art Museum Drive.

MLK Drive is closed to traffic through gates that monitored by City staff during the day and locked overnight. The Philadelphia Police Department supports this program as Traffic Police District Teams are responsible for closing and reopening the roadway.