The plan was to walk straight to yoga class for some peace amidst #PopeinPHL when I found myself slowly stumbling down Spruce Street in awe of the spectacles, (miracles?) around me. All I could l think is "I didn't realize it was going to be like this, I can't stop staring at everyone, and I wish I was on my bike!"
I was having the same gleeful feeling in my chest that I get when I'm having one of those dreams where the candy store owner says "take it all!" and you (ok, I) do. And its amazing, all you ever wanted, until you wake up and realize you couldn't take all the candy with you into the real world. But today, the dream I've had for years of a carless city, it was real! I woke up and still had all the candy!
I saw things I'd never imagined: a couple riding next to each other holding hands down the street. Children children gleefully scaling down the streets on scooters and bikes without having to think about any car hitting them. Hordes of cyclists joyriding without the fear of dying. Serious cyclists in spandex spinning past indigo riders. A woman literally skiing around Rittenhouse without skiis. And of course a ten year old, splayed on the road making snow angel motions with his arms, because 'why not?' Still haven't gotten to yoga yet, and my breath is tight because I'm afraid this dream will end. I know it must. But what if it didn't? We haven't dared to ask to get rid of all the cars and somehow here we are- they are all gone, and life goes on. Even better than before in some ways.
I just want to sit and stare at every street, every intersection, at the total lack of cars. I'm still trying to get to yoga now but I'm moving slowly because all I want to do is meditate on the negative space the cars of left behind and the positive things filling it in.My city has been transformed overnight.
So I want to say thank you to Pope Francis. I've heard you are a bit of a reformer, more progressive than your predecessors in some important ways, I just never expected you to start an urban planning and transportation revolution in my city. So thanks for that. Come back any time. Anyways, to conclude: we can have all the candy if we really want it #CarFreePHL