#PopeinPhilly Potential Road Closings, The Parkway Fence and The Pope’s Schedule

If you’ve been following me on Twitter and on FB you know for the past month I’ve been fairly clear on what to expect during the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.  (In fact June 16 I did mention the road closing when the Mayor released the Transit Report for the Pope’s stay. and the Mayor hinted to be prepared to walk up to 3 miles on that day.) Most of this is just affecting Center City, and we in Center City are a hardy bunch. We like when things out of the ordinary happen, but we want to know about it first. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck in traffic because a parade, protest or someone is installing an HVAC system on a new high rise building downtown happens and we don’t know about it; We want to know which streets to avoid in those cases, so we can get where we’re going, or maybe so we can watch. Most of this security is for the people, to have order when you have a million plus in one location. I went to Times Square for New Year’s Eve once, they lock down midtown/Times Square in a similar fashion. It’s about safety, not inconvenience, and for the Pope’s Mass and Pope Mobile drive as pictured below.
NBC10 mentioned the fence was going to happen, but I’ve filled in the info about where it’s going and which streets are closing.  

Earlier this week officials released the Pope’s USA Schedule. I was kinda surprised it was so detailed included what airport he was landing at. The good thing is hopefully we can line the street at some of these locations to get a glimpse.

Saturday, Sept. 26
8:40 a.m. Departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport
9:30 a.m. Arrival at Atlantic Aviation, Philadelphia
10:30 a.m. Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. (For Clergy only I hear)
4:45 p.m. Visit to Independence Mall
7:30 p.m. Visit to the Festival of Families Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Sunday, Sept 27
9:15 a.m. Meeting with bishops at at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
11 a.m. Visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
4 p.m. Mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, Benjamin Franklin Parkway
7 p.m. Visit with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families, Atlantic Aviation
8 p.m. Departure for Rome

 If you’re leaving town leave on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest, but please give your place to a relative that wants to see the Pope; it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. The security measures are meant for the Pope, as much as for the million or so people who are coming into town. You know on any given day yahoo’s on our street drive aggressively, no matter what lies in their way, and people cross the street without a care in the world. Now imagine trying to corral a million people to stay on the sidewalks, and preventing drivers from yahooing through the City streets. Bike riding in Center City is fine, just not inside the fence.

There will be no private vehicles driven in Center City. Starting Friday after rush-hour, I hear all roads will be closed between Girard and South Streets, River to River, other closures are rumored to be rt 676 that connects the BF Bridge to the Schuykill. Which means the Ben Franklin Bridge will be closed. Maybe we can walk over it like we did during it’s 75th Birthday.  Folks in charge are calling this “Operation Pope Snow Storm.”

Because we love those epic snowstorms that cripple the City. We don’t complain when we don’t have to drive, or go to school, or work. I have heard the officials have been contacting business to explain to them how they will be affected, which ones might have to close, but all of them within these boundaries will not be allowed to get supplies in from Friday to Sunday night. That’s not a hardship, just schedule for extra deliveries on Thursday. Employees that’s another thing, I am hearing a lot of cots being set up in establishments. Some of the people I’ve talked to are upset about that, but again, this is a once in a lifetime experience. There really isn’t going to be a run on Whole Foods for butcher items.

In a nutshell there will be no vehicles allowed to drive between South and Girard Streets, River to River, and an 8 foot fence erected between 12th and Market Streets, up and around the Art Museum at about 26th and Kelly Drive. With at least a dozen entrance points. Besides the fence, it’s not a big deal if you live on the Parkway as this is an inconvenience we live with with every walk, parade or festival. Just avoid this area. And if you live in Center City, enjoy you’re walkable City for three days. (It’s not alike a blackout for 3 days like NYC has endured, twice; you will be able to get around)

This is the double fence for Made In America, Pope In Philly Phence will be located in a similar spot. I’ll be enjoying the view from my balcony. Oh wait I’ve been credentialed, I’ll be photographing the Pope. It’s literally one of the happiest days in my life when I found out.

It’s going to be a special fence.  There will be one around Independence Hall and The PA Convention Center too. #NBD we go through security and into the fenced in stadiums to see sports teams and concerts.

You will have to go through security to get into this area, but I can assure you there will be heavy security to even get through the outer perimeter, with lots of security sweeps. I think this is great. I’m very excited for the Pope’s visit and this is no more inconvenient than when Made in America plays in my front yard. If you don’t like crowds there will be giant Jumbo TV’s set up in various areas around the City, a few of the parks, as well as along the Parkway which they do for large events.

The road closures begin on Friday, so make sure if you’re leaving for the weekend, leave on Thursday at the latest. (Schools will be closed Friday I hear, and I think on Monday as well.) It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and an amazing economic impact for Philadelphia.

 I hear the stage for the Pope will be located on Eakins Oval, not the Steps. But the Concert will take place on the Steps. The Pope Mobile is coming too. I hope, pray and believe we will all get to see the his Holy Father. Then a month later the Dali Lama comes.
Also the City will be issuing Camping Permits for City Parks.
There will be misting stations for the hot weather and well in case your camping and you just want to feel fresh.

Kenneth Lipp  at Philadelphia Declaration has a photo of the fence I heard about too.


The Holy Father will be joining us in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families in 2015!

The Holy Father will be joining us in Philadelphia in September 2015 for the World Meeting of Families. We look forward to welcoming Pope Francis not only to Philadelphia for the first time, but to the U.S!


Kelly Drive, ML King Drive, BF Parkway Weekends Closures 2015

I live on the Parkway, so these lists are crucial to me. Thanks to the Phila Parks and Recreation for sending them to me every year. I checked they are not on their website yet, but when they pop up I will get the link to you. My advice is really just avoid this area. Feel free to copy these and save them for yourselves.CLICK TO MAKE LARGER. Also I have put the link on the left side of blog for future reference Under What’s Happening.
Feel Free to also screen shot these and keep on your computer.

My advice, from Center City go up 16th Street to Fairmount or Girard and enter Kelly Drive at 26th Street if you’re going West. But make sure you check the list below to see if there are detours there.

Otherwise I suggest you go up JFK to the Schuykill Expressway entrance near 30th Street, and avoid the Parkway and drives completely. Leave early, and be patient. Listen to the new Madonna CD, it’s very tranquil. Sometimes I jump on 95 south and take 476 to KOP. My friends laugh at me, but it’s the same amount of time if I sat in Schuylkill traffic to get to KOP mall.

 The shaded area means that it’s a partial closure, traffic is directed off of Kelly at the Grant Statue and returns to the drive near the Dell.

But you get a lovely tour of the Eastern side of Fairmount Park. Just don’t be in a hurry. And watch for stop signs.

 Most events fit within the normal closure hours, shaded areas are outside normal closure times.