(Philadelphia, October 14, 2016) Last month’s “Philly Free Streets” program was a resounding success that reached Philadelphians across multiple age, income and ethnic lines, demonstrating the health benefits of active transportation, according to information collected from participants in several surveys.
Initial data released by the Office of Transportation Systems (oTIS) indicates that Philly Free Streets succeeded in encouraging thousands of residents to participate in active transportation, discover new businesses and sites, and ensure all of Philadelphia participated in the event.
Analysis of a survey of 600 participants conducted by oTIS staff demonstrates the immediate success of the program:
- 64.3% of respondents engaged in outdoor activity that otherwise would not have occurred without Philly Free Streets.
- Philly Free Streets attracted participants of all ages. 34.5% respondents identified their age as 25-34; 21.7% of participants identified as being over the age of 55.
- Philly Free Streets was diverse, with 27% of respondents identifying as minority, including 17.2% reporting as African-American.
- 42 out of 47 Philadelphia zip codes were reported as the home zip code of Philadelphia resident respondents who attended the event. That means 90% of geographic Philadelphia was represented at Philly Free Streets.
“Philly Free Streets brought Philadelphians together from diverse backgrounds,” said outgoing Deputy Managing Director of Transportation and Infrastructure, Clarena I.W. Tolson. “I know future Philly Free Streets events led by oTIS staff will only build on this success.”
Data supplied by Vea Fitness, the app sponsor of the 2016 Philly Free Streets program, provided detail into the activity of walkers and runners who used their app. Walkers/runners averaged approximately 2 miles in distance traveled, cyclists averaged 4 miles, and one runner reported travelling over 17 miles!
Additional survey data provided by Penn Praxis and Open Streets PHL showed that 75% traveled to Philly Free Streets by means other than car or motorcycle.
Bike and pedestrian counts provided by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission supported the initial estimate of 30,000 to 40,000 participants.
“Philly Free Streets was a fabulously successful event,” said Joe Syrnick, President and CEO of the Schuylkill River Development Corporation. “Many of those on the Schuylkill Trail on September 24th were there because of the event, and had never been to the trail before. So it is clearly teaching people about the joys of the trail, and of active transportation. Many of them told me they hope Philly Free Streets will become a regular event – and we here at SRDC fully agree.”
The inaugural route ran from Front & South to the South Street Bridge, then on to the Schuylkill River Trail, into W. Fairmount Park and Parkside, then continuing on to MLK Drive to the Falls Bridge. In addition, streets in West Fairmount Park were closed for activities.
Snap Kitchen, Vea Fitness, AARP Pennsylvania, and Open Streets PHL were the sponsors of the program.
More details on the survey data at phillyfreestreets.com.