Philadelphia Mayor’s revitalizing suggestion: No cars downtown on Sundays

In an interview with PlanPhilly, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said that the temporary automobile ban that accompanied security preparations for Pope Francis‘ papal visit should become a “regular” event.

I think we can figure out—with a lot of cooperation, patience and support from stakeholders—something that can make some sense for something people can look forward to,” Nutter said, adding, “even if it was once a month to start.”

The past weekend’s security shutdown of Center City traffic was the latest, albeit inadvertent, example of a global movement known as “open streets.” The Open Streets Project, a collaboration between the Alliance for Biking & Walking and the Street Plans Collaborative that promotes temporary traffic bans in urban centers, coincidentally held its 2015 summit this weekend in Atlanta.

And across the Atlantic, about a third of Paris went car-free on Sunday. [Mexico City has been doing this successfully every Sunday for years.]

As was widely reported yesterday, Nutter has already tasked a team of staffers to look into implementing another Center City traffic ban this year, before he leaves office.

In doing so, Nutter has in essence become the most notable supporter of the “Open Streets PHL” campaign.

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