Russel Zerbo is a community organizer and advocate for Clean Air Council and an avid walker. Learn more about his favorite places to walk in Philadelphia including some of his favorite secret stops.
What is your experience as a pedestrian on an average day? How long do you walk/roll? Where do you start and finish?
I walk from my house to the trolley stop at 46th and Woodland and then walk from 19th and Market to my office at 135 S 19th St, basically everyday. I have been safely commuting to an empty office everyday since quarantine began. And then everyday I try to walk through Rittenhouse and then all the way home with a couple stops, usually through Clark Park or the Penn athletic complex. So that’s usually about 2 or 3 hours and on days I have off or if the weather is nice, hopefully more!
Why do you walk/roll? Make any stops along the way?
I walk because it’s free, fun and feels good! I get to see what’s going on in my city, get some exercise and let my brain relax a little bit. I’m always on the lookout for a new place to get groceries or coffee or even just take a moment to hangout. The Woodlands and Mount Moriah Cemetery are frequent detours, I’ve been known to take the SRT from South Street Bridge to the East Falls Bridge on a whim! The Penn Biopond is another great stop along the way, but don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret.
How can Philadelphia make pedestrian environments safer for everyone?
What makes Philadelphia a great walking/rolling city? What could make it better?
The diversity of people and places! One of the great walks I like to take is going from my house south of Clark Park, through Mantua on the 34th st. bridge to Centennial Park and maybe the Shofuso house. If it’s nice out you’ll get to see people outside having a great time across West Philly from Woodland Ave to Mantua Ave and then after you cross the 34th st bridge everything starts to get very green!
I wish drivers were more careful!
Where is your favorite place to walk/roll in Philadelphia?
I’ve already listed a lot of my favorite places, but I will leave you with a tip: boathouse row looks cooler from the West side of the SRT! If you are going up the SRT from South Street, try taking the Martin Luther King Boulevard Bridge across the river at the Art Museum and then taking the west side of the trail to the East Falls Bridge. Then you get to see Boathouse Row from the other side and you can take the East side of the SRT back.