By Pat Ciarrocchi
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pope Francis arrives in Philadelphia 62 days from today. His itinerary is public, but there is more for you to know to prepare.
When you stand in St. Peter’s Square with Pope Francis on a slow cruise through the crowd, the faithful are corralled by barricades.
The secure perimeter is blocks wide.
In Philadelphia, the precise perimeter is still in the secret service’s court.
The working plan is river-to-river, at least Spring Garden south, so that means no vehicles and no buses inside the zone. No subway nor el service either between 2nd and 30th and Spring Garden and Locust.
After the failure this week of SEPTA’s website for purchasing regional rail passes for the two day visit, an expensive retooling is underway.
SEPTA says by Monday we should know when those 350,000 passes only will go back on sale.
John Hanson, CEO DRPA, says “This event is described as a pilgrimage, so be prepared to walk.” Possibly, across the Ben Franklin Bridge from Camden, too.
There is no determination on closing the bridge just yet.
PATCO is preparing for pilgrims.
Anne Marie McMullen told Eyewitness News’ Todd Quinones she’s ready to leave before dawn.
McMullen says, “Probably very early, like 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning. And we’re ready to do that. We’re determined, we’re going. ”
The 1.5 million visitors will also have access to a new World Meeting of Families mobile app, loaded with ideas on how to enjoy Philadelphia.
A Papal visit is big for business and planners are saying economic impact to the region could top $500 million.
On South Street, big business is in the unique mementos already being produced.
Evan Sharps, a business owner, says “People can by anything from T-shirts, sweatshirts, polo shirts. We have so many products that we have access to that somebody can say ‘I want a pillow case and I want the Pope’s image on it. ‘”
The bobble head Pope Francis may be a bit irreverent for a man with a sacred duty, but considering they sell Papal bobble heads in St. Peter’s Square…who’s to judge?