Pope Francis will be here in Philadelphia in 10 days, and Mayor Michael Nutter and his team have a message: Get excited.
The mayor and members of city government held a press conference this morning to discuss some final notes regarding the Papal visit coming next weekend and to hype up the city (maybe, hopefully, to draw more people to fill those thousands of hotel rooms still vacant).
“Use this historic opportunity to tell our story to the world,” Nutter said, adding that he’s proud to be “cheerleader-in-chief.”
Here are three things to know about logistics that were announced this morning:
1. Parking: Center City residents, rejoice. There’s now an option for you if you already have a residential parking permit and you don’t want to park in a garage for several days because you live within the security perimeter. Nutter announced today that anyone in the following zones can temporarily park in any other area in the city designated for residential permit parking:
- Permit Parking District 1 (Rittenhouse Square)
- Permit Parking District 4 (Washington Square West)
- Permit Parking District 5 (Society Hill)
- Permit Parking District (Logan Square)
- Permit Parking District 10 (Chinatown)
This rule will be in effect from from Sunday, Sept. 20 until 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
2. Police: Commissioner Charles Ramsey took to the lectern to assure the public that the police force will be out in normal numbers in the neighborhoods of the city not affected by Papal events. He said police have canceled time off for next weekend and are requiring officers to work 12-hour shifts. Ramsey also said police are beefing up patrols in all neighborhoods during the nighttime hours when crime is most likely to occur.
3. Porta-potties! Nutter said you’re going to start seeing things happen on the Parkway. Two blocks of porta-potties have already been placed on the Parkway, and he said a significant amount of preparation and set-up activity is occurring in the area of Eakins Oval. The activity will continue to spread throughout the rest of the Parkway in the coming days.
Bonus: One intrepid reporter asked Nutter what he would say to the people in the Philadelphia suburbs who have said they’re staying far away from the Papal events in Philly and heading down the shore for the weekend. His response: “Well, it’s a free country.”