World Meeting of Family planners have prepared a “Papal Visit Playbook,” described as the go-to guide for the late-September events and an official breakdown of travel restrictions.
The guide, available online beginning at noon Monday, also will be printed by the city’s two daily newspapers. The guide will offer the more than million visitors the city is expecting “vetted” and “correct” information about the weekend.
Previously, Mayor Michael Nutter has lashed out at “little people with little pieces of information,” referring to rumor, innuendo or half-truths that have filtered out about the pope’s visit. The guide, it seems, is intended to put all the conjecture to rest and provide attendees with a comprehensive reference source for the World Meeting of Families from Sept. 22 to 25 and Pope Francis’ Sept. 26 and 27 stop in Philadelphia.
Nutter discussed the guide, and some other issues concerning residents, at a news briefing Thursday.
Since the Department of Homeland Security has given the pope’s visit a special security designation, the Secret Service is taking charge of the event, with local police rounding out security in a supporting role.
“If anyone thinks that, you know, suddenly somehow they’re going to be able to kind of just walk up and give Pope Francis a high five, that’s probably not gonna happen. But you usually can’t do that with the president of the United States, either,” Nutter said.
Nutter also reminded people about the “traffic box,” an area where about 7 percent of the city’s population resides. Incoming traffic will be prohibited in the 4-square-mile, though those with cars inside the area will be allowed to drive.
“And quite honestly, given the volume of pedestrians in the area, in on our streets at that time, we really don’t recommend a lot of driving,” he said.
Trash won’t be picked up Sept. 25 and 28 – but the city will pick up trash Thursday, Sept. 24, which originally was blocked out. City trash convenience centers will be open all day for drop-off, up to 24 bags of trash at a time, Friday and Monday.
“That is a lot of trash. If you have 24 bags of trash, we probably need to talk to you about some things,” Nutter said.
The city’s 311 information line will be open around the clock during the papal visit to address any issues that arrive.
Asked about the possibility of extreme weather, Nutter responded that His Holiness has that locked down.
“We have been assured by Pope Francis that the anticipated weather that weekend is somewhere between 75 and 85, winds will be from the northwest at 3 mph, and pretty much no clouds in the sky.”