Pope’s Impending Visit Has Philadelphians Concerned about Safety


Although Philadelphia citizens are excited about Pope Francis’ upcoming visit on September 26 and 27 after the World Meeting of Families (September 24 and 25), many are also concerned about what will happen in the city when it draws several million visitors in all at once, especially due to the recent SEPTA accidents that have plagued Philadelphia. The visit itself has been declared a National Special Security Event, involving the United States Secret Service.

Heavy Traffic Along Route 422

Emergency management officials will identify access points to Route 422 if medical attention is needed. Although there will be no construction-related lane closures leading up to the visit, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has suggested that those planning to travel into the city use public transportation instead of private vehicles because all private vehicles will be forced to park outside the city’s traffic box. Officials expect Montgomery County to be the most heavily impacted. A rest stop will be provided in King of Prussia and buses and public transportation should allow for groups and individuals that travel into the city for papal events.

Similarly, New Jersey has advised that drivers can experience gridlock within a 25-mile radius of Philadelphia as early as September 23 and as late as September 28. Other roads expected to cause problems for drivers include I-295, Routes 38, 42, 45, 47, 55, 70, 73, 76, 90, 130, 168 and 322. Drivers should also avoid I-95, I-195, and Route 1 if at all possible.

SEPTA Rail Stations

There will also be congestion and delays when traveling near SEPTA rail stations in operations during the weekend of the visit. SEPTA set up an online lottery for tickets which ended in mid-August and will now be sold at select stations.

“Treat the Event Like You Would a Snowstorm”

Residents have been advised that the general public needs to stock up on groceries, refill critical medicines, and avoid scheduling appointments in order to avoid the traffic and the potential that businesses will shut down.

Hospitals Also Preparing

Just as city officials are preparing, so are hospitals, as accidents and medical needs will require services for patients. Hospitals most affected by travel restrictions will be Thomas Jefferson University and Hahnemann University Hospitals, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital, and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

If You Are Injured

Remember to first seek medical attention and be sure to gather information including names, contact information, and photos. It is also helpful if you can file a police report.

Personal Injury & Accident Attorneys

Solnick & Associates serves Philadelphia and surrounding areas, including Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, and Delaware counties, as well as New Jersey. If you or someone you know may have been hurt in a car accident, please contact Solnick & Associates today.