By Pat Ciarrocchi
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As we get closer to the pope arriving in Philadelphia, more details of “the rules to access the visit” are emerging.
Secure perimeters, road closures in New Jersey, figuring out how to manage if you’re a resident or business owner near the papal zones, and SEPTA, which still has rail passes for you.
Pope Francis is a man who likes access to his people. He reaches…he touches.
“This huge event has been classified as a National Special Security Event by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,” said Mayor Michael Nutter during what have become weekly briefings.
SO, within the traffic box, now we’ve learned of two more color coded layers of secure perimeters on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, down market street, and around Independence Mall.
Fences will be in place, car access there will be forbidden starting Friday night, people access restricted by metal detectors beginning Saturday morning.
For businesses near the papal zone a hotline will soon be activated regarding deliveries and trash pick up.
In the meantime, they’re planning.
“We’re going to have to stock up on everything the week of,” said Stephenny Pak of Corner Deli, “and we’re just making sure we get doubles of everything.”
How about getting to papal events?
SEPTA is in due diligence mode. Check your email if you ordered papal rail passes and didn’t get your first choice station. Even if you’ve paid already, you may be offered an upgrade.
New Jersey Transit executives descended on Camden to announce the closing of primary routes to the Ben Franklin Bridge on the New Jersey side, taking effect Friday of papal weekend.
You could call this a reality check.
“There are not enough parking spaces for buses, nor cars,” said Jamie Fox, Commissioner for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, “so people are going to have to plan on walking a decent distance.”
Plan on advance tickets for public transit or registered buses to take you to the base of the bridge in New Jersey. Only PATCO is offering a ride over the bridge.
Otherwise, you’re walking the bridge, the first part of five-mile walk to the Philadelphia Art Museum.