The Pope in Philly

The Traffic Box: Mayor Nutter finally talks details about road closures for the pope’s visit

Nutter wmof presser

Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Michael Nutter and officials from state and local agencies shared some details about security and transportation during the pope’s visit the last weekend in September.

Many of the details confirmed previous reports, including ours. The basics remain the same: Driving in Philadelphia is going to be difficult during the weekend of the papal visit, and people should get ready to walk. Here’s a rundown of all the closures, special zones and other specifics discussed by Nutter.

The traffic box

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 2.38.17 PM

This map looked a lot like the security map Billy Penn revealed last week, so it wasn’t a surprise. The traffic box’s boundaries are 38th Street to the west, South Street to the south, the Delaware River to the east and Girard to Ridge to Spring Garden to the north.

Private vehicles cannot enter the traffic box once it is secured, but they can exit at all times. The traffic box starts at 6 p.m. the Friday of the pope’s visit for most of the area but at 8 a.m. for the southwest corner and 10 p.m. for the western side. Nutter said they didn’t know when the traffic box’s limitations would end.

People will also be allowed to drive their vehicles within the box. Nutter gave this as an example: If you’re driving from 21st and Spruce to 10th and Locust, you’re fine. But if go from 21st and Spruce to 10th and Fitzwater, you’re not fine because you’re crossing the South Street boundary. In that case, you would be able to exit the traffic box, but you couldn’t re-enter, i.e. go back north of South Street.

But, Nutter added, “we’re trying to limit as much vehicular traffic as possible.”

He said the city is still deciding about what to do with cabs going into the traffic box.


Bikes and pedestrians are allowed to enter and exit the traffic box freely, as well as travel within it. No details were given about possible security measures within the near proximity of the pope events, though.

Road closures

PennDOT announced the following closures:

  • I-76 east from I-476 to I-95
  • 72 west from I-95 to US-1
  • All of 676 both directions
  • Route 1 both directions from Belmont to Lancaster avenues

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge will also be closed to vehicular traffic from Friday night at 10 to Monday at noon. PennDOT and Nutter did not confirm a time when those roads would reopen.

I-95 will remain open throughout the weekend.

Want some more? Explore other The Pope in Philly stories.

Mornings are for coffee and local news

Billy Penn’s free morning newsletter gives you a daily roundup of the top Philly stories you need to start your day.

You finished another Billy Penn article — keep it up!

We hope you found it useful, fun, or maybe even both. If you want more stories like this, will you join us as a member today?

Nice to see you (instead of a paywall)

Billy Penn’s mission is to provide free, quality information to Philadelphians through our articles and daily newsletter. If you believe local journalism is key to a healthy community, join us!

Your donation brought this story to life

Billy Penn only exists because of supporters like you. If you find our work valuable, consider making a sustaining donation today.

Being informed looks good on you

Thanks for reading another article, made possible by members like you. Want to share BP with a friend?