The Philadelphia Parking Authority said that it towed about 120 cars from the Fairmount area as part of security precautions for Pope Francis’ visit.
That number, said Marty O’Rourke, a spokesman for the authority, was less than expected.
But still, we have to ask. What’s up with those 120 people? Didn’t they get the memo?
“Hopefully, as word gets out, there will be fewer and fewer,” O’Rourke said.
In that spirit, here’s a quick refresher on how your life will be impacted by His Holiness:
Towing: Will continue Tuesday in the Olde City area and Wednesday along certain corridors that are reserved for emergency vehicles. Keep an eye out for the cardboard placards that police put up warning you that parking is restricted. If your car is towed, there is a $76 fine, and you’ll have to call 215-686-7669 (SNOW) to find it. Garage space may still be available. Call 311 for help finding a space.
Driving: Center City driving restrictions begin Friday. If you’ve managed to keep your car from getting towed and want to risk losing your parking spot, you can drive in Center City during the Papal visit. You will not be able to drive into Center City from outside of it starting Friday. The areas where Pope Francis will appear — the Ben Franklin Parkway and Independence Mall — will be blocked for traffic. The restrictions are in effect for a longer period for the Parkway, restrictions will be removed near Independence Mall after Francis speaks there on Saturday.
Public Transit: Buses, trolleys, subways and regional rail lines will run normally for most of the week. On Friday, regional rail will run on a weekend schedule. On Saturday and Sunday, special passes will be needed to get onto regional rail lines and high speed trolleys. The Market-Frankford El and Broad Street Lines and trolley lines will be running modified schedules with fewer number of stops starting Friday. Suburban Station closes at 10 p.m. on Thursday, as does 15th street for trolley service and City Hall for the Broad Street Subway. There are additional modifications to transit service. Check SEPTA’s website for details.
Food and Groceries: While Center City will bear the brunt of the Papal visit, it’s possible that many outlying neighborhoods will face traffic gridlock. Note that sales of public transit passes and hotel rooms fell short of expectations. That means either turnout for the papal visit will be lower than expected, or a whole bunch of people will be driving here. City officials say to treat the weekend like a snow day and stock up.
Cash: We’re not kidding. If you bank downtown check with your bank to see if its branches will be open during the papal visit. Some banks are advising clients that their branches won’t be open. Plan ahead and get cash, just in case.
Trash: There will be no trash collection on the 25th and on the 28th.