The city of Philadelphia unveiled the latest traffic closures and road blocks that will be in effect for the visit of Pope Francis September 26 and 27 2015. City Officials held a press briefing today August 13, 2015. Many security experts call this overkill and Mayor Michael Nutter is being called paranoid. The closings announced will be burdensome to everyone. To be fair, this is not all Mayor Nutter’s doing. Traffic will be shut down in New Jersey on roads leading tothe Ben Franklin Bridge. . There will be perimeters that will not be accessible to vehicles. In fact, all vehicles within the vehicle free zone border will have to be moved. If you live nearby, tough, you will have to pay for a garage. Mayor Nutter said the restrictions are put in place to protect pedestrians, not necessarily the pope..
Assume that 1 million people show up. That’ s a fair estimate that the city says. Where do you put them? How do they get around? Driving into town is a bad idea. Driving into Camden and parking is not going to be allowed as all Parking lots in Camden will be restricted for bus traffic only. SEPTA is letting only certain trains run and service stops at 2nd Street and 30th Street. If you are not planning to see the pope but you have to get somewhere else, sorry, SEPTA will not be stopping there.
This overkill is causing many people to stay home. Facebook and other social media are flooded with people that are very ticked off. Elderly and the infirm will not be accommodated. The city says they will but do you honestly expect the city to be able to help tens of thousands who cannot walk from 2nd Street to the Ben Franklin Parkway? So let’s assume the diehards make the trek and have their spot. They have to eat. It is not possibly to leave your spot and go into a restaurant, eat and come back. People with strict dietary requirements will have to chose to see the pope or eat. Now lets assume you have brought your own water. Bathrooms will be hard to get to. Who is going to leave their spot after standing there for 6 hours. It may be difficult to navigate the crowd .
Coming into Philly from Jersey will be worse. You will have to walk across the Ben Franklin Bridge. It will be closed to traffic and it will be packed with people. Let’s hope you have a relative in Camden who can drop you off at the base of the bridge early. Otherwise expect at least a nine mile walk both ways. One thing no one is telling you is that cell service will be restricted. It makes no difference who your carrier is. All of those there will have cell phones and they will want to keep in touch with friends and family, or update social media. as the cellphone is searching for a signal, it will eat away at the battery. Expect a fully charged battery to be dead in about four hours. Bring a portable charger or extra battery.
An idiot consultant was dismissed by the city when he recommended that Interstate 95 be closed for the duration of the Papal visit. That was dismissed and the person is no longer involved in the planning. The expressway will be closed when Pope Francis comes to Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility Expect route 76 to be closed between center city and City Avenue. It goes without saying that city Avenue will be completely closed. National Guard troops have been requested.
Suburban residents will see a huge increase in traffic . Many townships have already declared a State of Emergency , This insures that the Federal Government will reimburse the Township for money spent on police. The insane restrictions will make travel impossible. Courts, Schools and nonessential government workers will be told to stay home starting Wednesday . . One curve ball that no one is talking about is the weather. a beautiful day will bring out more people. A storm will keep many home. Oppressively hot weather could make people sick that wait with no food or water.
Parents with small children should leave them home. If the child becomes rammy, or anxious, there is no place for the child to run around. Should the parent leave with the child, their spot may not be secured. A small child crying or getting panicked in the large crowd is not in anyone’s best interest, let alone if the parent and child get separated. The pope is not going to make a lost child announcement. Go here to get info from the World Meeting of Families.