Jun 6, 2024 - News

South Street road closures unpredictable this summer

Illustration of a road with multiple track hurdles on a green background.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Philadelphia police will shut down stretches of South Street on weekends again this summer, but officers won't decide exactly where until the night of.

Why it matters: The popular corridor has long attracted large crowds, tailgating and illegal dirt bikes, which have raised public safety issues and hurt local businesses.

State of play: Police are targeting South Street between 5th and Front Street with road closures Fridays through Sundays, Lt. Steven Ricci tells Axios.

  • Officers will determine nightly when and where to put closures in the area, based on factors like crowd levels and police intel.
  • The street closures began Memorial Day weekend.

Inside the room: The flexible schedule is a new approach this year in response to some in the business community who want to ditch closures, Ricci says.

  • Last year, police shut down portions of the roadway at consistent times every weekend.

The big picture: The city is also rolling out new safety measures in the area, including signage about noise violations and fines, radar speed meters and speed bumps, Eleanor Ingersoll, executive director of the South Street Headhouse District, tells Axios.

  • She didn't have a timeline for when they'll be put in place.

Between the lines: South Street has struggled since the pandemic amid business closings and a mass shooting.

What to expect: Police will place barricades in South Street intersections and park cruisers there.

  • Zigzagging barricades also will be placed on sidewalks at those intersections to prevent dirt bikes and ATVs from driving on the walkways.

The intrigue: Some in the area, including Ingersoll, have called for more resources from the city besides barricades, arguing street closures hinder foot and vehicular traffic and create negative perceptions of the corridor.

What we're watching: Police are working with the business community and residents on other options to eventually end barricades on South Street completely, Ricci says.

  • Floated proposals include banning vehicles along some sections of South Street and using cobblestone pavers.
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