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September 10, 2015

Mayor provides fencing details for pope's visit

Towing begins Sunday before in some areas

PopeInPhilly Security
09102015_pope_towing_map Kevin Shelly/PhillyVoice

A map issued by the city shows when towing will begin in different parts of the city preceding the papal visit. Towing in the Center City area will begin Sunday, Sept. 20 and must be completed by Wednesday, Sept. 23 to accommodate the construction of the secure perimeters and event infrastructure. (Source: City of Philadelphia)

Much of the inner-perimeter fencing used during Pope Francis’ visit on Sept. 26 and 27 will be the height of a bike rack, allowing for a clear sightline, Mayor Michael Nutter announced Thursday afternoon.

Only the fencing near metal detectors and screening points will feature taller wire mesh fencing, according to the mayor.

Metal detectors will be lined up in banks of “10 or 12” at the checkpoints at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Independence Hall, added Nutter.

Nutter could not provide a total number of detectors that the Secret Service will have in place.

Nutter, who has repeatedly emphasized previously that long walks will be needed, took a completely different tone on Thursday.

“It will be surprisingly easy to get here and enjoy it,” said the mayor early in his remarks.

Asked what has changed, Nutter said SEPTA’s decision to double its schedule and add new station stops have made the difference.

But he added, “you will have to walk some distance,” even with the SEPTA changes.

The mayor said towing in Center City will begin on Sept. 20 in preparation for the placement of fencing. All secure zones must be cleared by Sept. 23. He unveiled a map, which should be available here, showing the staggered schedule for which areas must be cleared and when.

But residents who pre-purchase a weekend-long pass to a Philadelphia Parking Authority garage space – there are 2,000 spaces in six garages available – will be able to remain parked on the street longer, until Sept. 24.

They’ll have a placard to hang in their vehicle to exempt it from towing.

Then, beginning at 6 p.m. on Sept. 24, they must move their cars to one of the designated garages.

Once a vehicle has entered a garage, it must remain until the morning of Sept. 28. The cost is $20.00 for the entire weekend and must be purchased in advance.

Before the towing begins, signs will go up on Sept. 14 warning of the planned towing.

The mayor also said the Naval Hospital Lot at 1600 Pattison Ave., with 1,500 spaces, will be open to free parking.

Residents can also call Luxe, a private valet parking service, to pick up a car and move it out of the "no parking" zone, said Nutter.

The fee for Luxe is $20 per day. Residents can email or register here.

The mayor also said four Indego bike rental stations will be open in the city, though other locations will close.

Open are: Rittenhouse Square, Front and Dock streets, 30th Street and Broad and Spring Garden streets.

Businesses in the outer secure zone can get deliveries or have trash collected between midnight and 4 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday nights, though trucks must be less than 28-foot-long, said Nutter.

Trucks entering the outer ring during those hours will not need to be screened and there are no designated entry areas, said the mayor.

Businesses that need truck service in the inner secure zone will have all delivery vehicles screened, added the mayor, saying entry points will be announced later.

Businesses can call the City’s Papal Visit Business Services Center at 215-683-2100. Also, 311 will operate around the clock on the weekend of the pope’s visit to answer general resident and visitor questions, said the mayor.