Pa. suburbs travel refresher for the papal weekend

Is this a papal visit or a national disaster? With roads closed and National Guard on hand, the Delaware Valley is bracing travel snafus this weekend. We’ve taken the time to compile some resources for surviving OUTSIDE of Popadelp- err, Philadelphia.

Know where you can go

At this point, information about major road closures and which SEPTA stations will be running in the Philadelphia suburbs has been widely circulated. But, just in case these are closed this weekend:

– I-76 eastbound from the Blue Route (I-476) to I-95- I-76 westbound from I-95 to US Route 1- US Route 1/City Line Ave, both directions from Route 30 to Belmont Ave

What might be less obvious is smaller road closures, near those regional rail and trolley stations that will be running express service into Philadelphia during the weekend.For full details of what roads will be closed near open SEPTA stations and where parking will be allowed, visit http://www.septa.org/fares/papal-map.html and click on your station. An interactive map will give a detailed snapshot that look like this:

Norristown parking screenshotx600

For people traveling to those stations to train in, local officials recommend getting dropped off. In some cases where parking is extremely limited, there will be shuttles between dedicated parking and the stations.

Hey, why are there guys in camo?

Area townships from Middletown to Media have declared “states of emergency” for the weekend. First, some explanations. A state of emergency is a way for municipalities to ask for state or federal assistance to cover things like police overtime, should those funds become available, as well as bypass some of the bidding out process for contracts. In addition, some towns have asked for the National Guard to help with crowd and traffic control.

Other things to keep in mind

Schools may be affected by the state of emergency. Estimates of when all of the sealing off infrastructure will go away and when people will be able to circulate freely differs, so expect a pope travel hangover on Monday morning.

With major roadways closed, secondary roads will be heavily congested. Officials have already pointed out Route 23 in Gladwyne, Route 422 from King of Prussia to Pottstown and Matsonford Road in Conshohocken as potential problem areas.

Delaware County — which has the most operating SEPTA stations out of the four Pa. suburban counties — has urged residents to sign up for text alerts to stay in the loop about emergency detours and other sudden changes. General Delco Pope visit information is here.

For more information about goings-on in Montgomery County over the weekend, including information about getting around during the pope’s time at Borromeo Seminary and travel on recreational trails over the weekend, click here.

Chester County, where officials primary concern is traffic and allowing emergency vehicles to circulate, has information about expected traffic congestion and other tips here.

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