Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser along with law enforcement and public safety agencies announced on Sept. 10 the Security Restrictions and Joint Transportation Plan for the visit of Pope Francis to Washington, DC., that will take place Sept. 22 through Sept. 24.
The mayor’s entourage at the St. Regis Hotel in Northwest where statements were made included Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier, U.S. Secret Service SAIC James Murray, District Department of Transportation director Leif Dormsjo, District Department of Health director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, and Jane Belford, representative from the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
“The government of the District of Columbia, of course, has been focused as we have on all national special security events like this one,” said the mayor. “I am making sure that the agencies of the District government are working hand-in-hand with our federal partners to ensure that the Pope and everybody that comes to Washington has a fantastic experience.”
Murray outlined a security platform detailed as an Executive Steering Committee that would serve as the primary jurisdiction for the event. “This is made up of senior leaders from 15 different federal, local and military agencies for the papal visit in Washington, D.C.,” said Murray.
Dormsjo gave a listing of road closures during the papal visit and advised to use public transportation due to the impact. “We realize this is a challenge,” he said.
Delays will also occur due to a concert at the Verizon Center and the baseball team Washington Nationals playing against the Baltimore Orioles. “If you’re using a vehicle, you really need to plan ahead,” Dormsjo advised.
“I am focused also on making sure that the community is prepared for the hundreds of thousands of people who will be coming to our city and will be looking for a chance to see the Pope,” the mayor continued. “We have worked for many, many weeks now with local, regional and federal officials including the National Guard.”
An overview of Pope Francis’ schedule was given by Belford that included the White House, parade, visits to St. Anthony’s and St. Patrick’s Church, the first canonization on U.S. soil at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and addressing Congress on Capitol Hill.
Bowser stated that the government and schools would remain open during the Pope’s visit.
The papal visit will be Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States. His other stops after leaving the District will be the cities of Philadelphia and New York. Places the Pope will go are the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility to visit inmates in Philadelphia and Our Lady Queen of Angels School in Harlem.