May 17, 2019
Joe Biden is officially kicking off his 2020 presidential campaign in Philadelphia on Saturday, May 18, with a public rally at Eakins Oval.
This kickoff rally, one of Biden's first official campaign events, follows the announcement this week that Philadelphia will play host to the candidate's headquarters during the election. Biden and his wife, Jill, are both originally from Pennsylvania.
The kickoff event is bound to draw crowds — although Biden has already received harsh criticism from the city's leading left-aligning groups — so the city is shutting down some streets around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, restricting parking, and adjusting SEPTA routes.
Doors open at 11 a.m. and programming should run from 1:00 p.m. to around 2:30 p.m. The general admission entry will be located on the north side of Eakins Oval. If you have mobility issues, the most direct route to the rally is from a drop-off area at Pennsylvania Avenue and Spring Garden Street. Volunteers will be there to direct attendees to the closest entry gate.
Here's what else you need to know.
The following streets will be closed starting at 9 a.m. until approximately 4 p.m.:
· Benjamin Franklin Parkway between 20th Street and 22nd Street — center lanes only· Benjamin Franklin Parkway between 22nd Street and Eakins Oval — all lanes· 23rd Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and Benjamin Franklin Parkway· Spring Garden Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and Benjamin Franklin Parkway· Kelly Drive (outbound) from Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Fairmount Avenue· Kelly Drive (inbound) between 25th Street and Fairmount Avenue — local access maintained to Anne d’Harnoncourt Drive via 25th Street· Martin Luther King Drive between Eakins Oval and Sweetbriar Drive· Spring Garden Street Bridge at 31st Street — local access maintained to Anne d’Harnoncourt Drive
Starting at 9 a.m., inbound (eastbound) traffic on Kelly Drive must exit Kelly Drive at Fairmount Avenue due to the closure of the outer lanes on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Benjamin Franklin Parkway cross traffic will be permitted on numbered streets as conditions allow.
Streets will reopen as event attendees disperse, however the city predicts most of the affected streets will be cleared before 4 p.m.
· Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 22nd Street to Eakins Oval — all lanes, both sides· 22nd Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and Winter Street — both sides· 2100-2200 Spring Garden Street — both sides
Vehicles parked in these locations during posted hours will be relocated.
A number of bus routes will be detoured during the event, beginning on Saturday at 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. Detours will be posted Saturday on SEPTA's System Status.
Officials are recommending that anyone attending the Biden rally take public transit into Center City. If using a car is necessary, check here to find parking in a garage or nearby meters.
To account for a large crowd, the event in banning items that would result in longer security lines or pose potential security threats. Here's a full list of prohibited items.
· Purses or bags larger than 4’’x6’’· Backpacks (clear bags permitted)· Cinch bags· Briefcases· Coolers· Luggage of any kind· Placards· Homemade signs and banners· Alcoholic beverages· Umbrellas· Flags· Drones/UAS· Weapons of any kind
Those interested in attending are being encouraged to register on the campaign's website ahead of Saturday.