Philadelphia, PA - The City of Philadelphia and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation have partnered with Niantic, Inc. to bring Pokémon GO to Philly Free Streets, a program that temporarily closes streets to cars, inviting people to walk, bike, and play.
The second Philly Free Streets – slated for October 28 – will include a tour of the PokéStops in Pokémon GO between El Centro de Oro in the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Fairhill and Philadelphia’s Historic District. The initiative aims to encourage people to explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods using the innovative augmented reality experience of the popular real-world game based on the iconic Pokémon brand. Philly Free Streets participants who visit PokéStops will qualify to win a Pokémon GO poster, based on original loading screen artwork, while supplies last.
In addition, Philly Free Streets will offer a paper passport program option, ensuring that the fun is accessible to everyone, even those without cell phones or the mobile game.
Niantic, Inc.—the developer and publisher of Pokémon GO—and Knight Foundation recently announced an initiative to use technology to promote civic engagement in communities across the United States, including Philadelphia. The initiative will support efforts to get neighbors outside and exploring their city through activities and events, such as Philly Free Streets.
“This initiative uses technology to build on the goal of Philly Free Streets: to encourage people to explore our diverse neighborhoods and connect with their city and each other. Through it, we hope to experiment with new ways of increasing city vibrancy, while creating lessons in civic engagement for communities across the country,” said Patrick Morgan, Knight Foundation program director for Philadelphia.
Kelley Yemen, Director of Complete Streets for the City of Philadelphia, commented, “Philly Free Streets is an exciting opportunity for Philadelphia to come together and re-imagine our streets. We are thrilled to have support from partners—like Knight Foundation—who see this potential and are committed to realizing it. We look forward to having Pokémon GO programming along the route to promote engagement during the Philly Free Streets program.”
“Philly Free Streets is an incredible program that is aligned with Niantic’s vision to create ‘adventures on foot’ and to bring communities together in the real world,” said Vikram Grover, senior director of business development at Niantic, Inc. “We’re looking forward to continuing to help feature and encourage exploration and engagement with Philadelphia neighborhoods’ diverse histories, cultures and vital public institutions in Pokémon GO.
Philly Free Streets will take place from 8AM to 1PM on Saturday, October 28. The 7-mile roundtrip route, between 3rd & Chestnut and 5th & Indiana, will create a car-free connection between Philadelphia’s Historic District and several diverse neighborhoods, then north to El Centro de Oro (“The Golden Block”) in the Fairhill neighborhood of North Philadelphia. A map of the route and more information can be found at https://phillyfreestreets.com/.
Led by the Managing Director’s Office of Transportation & Infrastructure Systems (oTIS), Philly Free Streets highlights active transportation options, as well as neighborhood walkability and its positive impacts on public health, the environment, business, and the community. The October 2017 Philly Free Streets program is generously sponsored by Visit PHILADELPHIA and AARP Pennsylvania.