Philadelphia skaters take over the Fishtown roundabout before opening up to cars

Authorities say the newly paved roundabout will open to vehicular traffic “soon.”

Max Marin / Billy Penn

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As the sun set Sunday night, a small group of Philadelphia skaters began skating around a newly constructed roundabout in Fishtown, inviting the bar-hopping crowds and late-night strollers to join them for a beer. dancing and dreaming in general.

On Monday afternoon, the party turned into a full-blown roller disco that drew more than 150 people to the new roundabout at the intersection of York Street and Trenton and Frankford avenues.

The Rotunda: a $ 1.1 million project that started in march – has a small green patch in the center and plenty of car-free space for now before it is officially opened to vehicles. And the Department of Streets, which is in charge of the project, told Billy Penn that the policies do not explicitly prohibit gathering places in the circle in the meantime.

Behind the spontaneous party was local “Carpe Diem” enthusiastic Justyn Myers. Formerly known as the creator of Fishtown’s infamous garbage pool, he is also the boy who says he did a backflip at flooded Vine Street Expressway In the past week.

Myers, on wheels and shirtless, said he’s active on the roller derby scene, hosting regular get-togethers at a nearby recreation center and also at the Navy Yard. But the derby record of the weekend was a spontaneous decision.

“My friend and I, we brought the speakers and then [it was just] word of mouth, ”Myers said.

That friend was local DJ Kiernan Ross, who set up his turntables around 1 p.m. Monday and served up retro dance tunes until after sunset, while bladers young and old looped in the fresh macadam. Neighbors mingled. Skaters joined them. People danced.

“If you don’t hurt people and you actually bring happiness, the city doesn’t seem to care,” Ross said.

Almost nine months after construction began, the paving machines and other heavy equipment have disappeared from sight. Metal fences still surround the roundabout, but it’s not exactly a barrier for pedestrians.

Since the road is still closed to traffic, said Crystal Jacobs, a spokeswoman for the Department of Streets, you don’t need a block party permit to be there as long as you’re not obstructing the right-of-way.

However, that won’t be the case for long. Jacobs said the department will meet with the contractor this week for a final review and “we hope the street will be open to traffic soon.”

The roundabout should cost about $ 20,000 below the original price of $ 1.1 million, per Calles. Is being paid through automatic red light camera funds.

For the skaters, the hangout was a unique but memorable event.

“Where can you hang on a roundabout like this? Just paved, ”said instigator Myers. “The neighbors love it.”

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