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Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.
About that new ticketed area sort-of-accidentally disclosed this week in a map from the Secret Service: There’s good news, and there’s bad news.
The area where Papal pilgrims with tickets will be allowed to stand for the Papal mass in about three weeks is smaller than it looks, and in line with what World Meeting of Families head Donna Crilley Farrell described in a hastily-called, delayed news conference Thursday — that just 15 percent of the Parkway was reserved for ticket-holders. That’s because, according to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Secret Service’s map is inaccurate.
The bad news? The area shown on that map as for “Ben Franklin Parkway Ticketholders” is only partly for ticketholders — but still entirely inaccessible to anyone.
Kenneth Gavin, spokesman for the Philadelphia Archdiocese, told Billy Penn that a map released by the Secret Service showing a large swatch of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway cordoned off for ticket-holders is much larger than the actual area for ticket-holders.
He said those with tickets — which can be obtained either from local Catholic parishes or a limited amount online — will be only in between North 20th St. and end will end just ahead of North 22nd Street, stopping before Eakins Oval. The area in front of that from Eakins Oval to the Art Museum won’t be open to anyone and will be simply for staging, press risers, etc.
Here’s an updated map of what the Parkway is set to look like during the Papal mass on Sunday afternoon during the Pope’s visit:
The Secret Service stood behind the information it released, saying “the map is accurate.”
“The purpose of the map is not to show ticketed areas versus non-ticketed areas,” said Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback. “The purpose of the map is to provide suggested walking routes that people may want to consider using based on their originating direction of travel and their final destination. The other purpose is to point people to the correct security checkpoint.
He continued: “If a person attending an event on the parkway has a ticket, the map clearly shows that person the security entry points for access to ticketed areas. Conversely, if a person attending an event on the parkway does not have a ticket, the map clearly shows that person the security entry points for access to non-ticketed areas.”
The development this week that some Papal pilgrims would need a ticket to get the best seats to see the Papal mass caused some disappointment among those traveling to Philadelphia for the service, as the closest you can get without a ticket would look something like this. After the Secret Service released its map revealing that there would be a ticketed area, the World Meeting of Families announced tickets would be distributed to local Catholic parishes.
Ed Grose, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, said Thursday that he’d heard from some hotels that cancellations were occurring because the pilgrims coming to town knew nothing about tickets. Then, Farrell held a press conference to say that:
1. They had no idea the Secret Service was going to release the map when they did.
2. They’d been planning on having a ticketed area the entire time but weren’t going to release information about it until after Labor Day.
3. There would be other opportunities to see the Pope up close, including some public tickets for the closer area available online and the addition of two Papal parades where Pope Francis will ride the motorcade through town.