Update, Sept. 17:
Pope Francis isn’t just bringing his million-plus pilgrims and a message of Catholicism, Jesus and love to Philadelphia.
He’s also bringing on vast changes to how traffic will flow through Center City.
Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know.
Car towing zones
Some streets were closed to all traffic on Thursday morning and will remain that way until after Pope Francis leaves town on Sept. 27, including the inner lanes of the Ben Franklin Parkway.
This weekend, massive no-car zones will begin to go into effect, with all cars inside the zones required to move or face towing.
Cars must be removed from certain areas beginning Sept. 20. New areas must be cleared of cars each day until Sept. 23. Cars cannot return to these areas until Sept. 28. See the list of which areas must be cleared when:
-6 p.m. Sunday, areas around the Parkway from the Museum east to 12th Street
-9 a.m. Monday, September 21, areas north of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway up to Fairmount Ave and south to Walden Street
-6 p.m. Tuesday, September 22, areas around Independence Mall east of 12th Street to 3rd Street, no further south than Manning Street and north up to Franklin Square.
-9 a.m. Wednesday, September 23, designated emergency routes will be cleared of parked cars. These roads include: Lombard Street, 11th Street, 22nd Street, parts of Lancaster Street and 34th Street in West Philly, Fairmount Avenue, 16th Street, Vine Street, 7th Street and Willow Street.
On the plus side, from September 25 at 10 p.m. through Sunday, Sept. 27, PPA officers will only write safety tickets. Time limits at meters will not be enforced, the PPA said.
Additionally, vehicle-owners with Permit Parking from certain districts — Districts 1, 4, 5, 6 and 10 — can move their cars to any Permit Parking area within Philadelphia from Sept. 20 until those areas have been cleared on Sept. 28.
Soon to be closed streets
Meanwhile, next week streets across the city will begin closing at 10 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24 as the secure vehicle perimeter goes into effect, including highways around the city.
From Friday Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. until Monday Sept. 28 after Pope Francis leaves town, the following highways will be closed:
-I-76 east between I-476 and I-95; I-76 west between I-95 and Route 1/City Line Ave
-I-95 access ramps to I-676, Callowhill Street, Washington Avenue and Broad Street
-I-676 between I-76 and I-95
Check back with Metro for updates next week and everything you need to know about Pope Francis’ visit.
Mayor Michael Nutter revealed some of the road closures Philly will see when Pope Francis comes to town in seven weeks Wednesday, but he urged residents to see the visit as an honor despite the accompanying headaches.
“We are the chosen city, and with that comes certain duties, and responsibilities, and pride … We’ll face them together as a city, as a region, as a community,” Nutter said at a press conference, before quoting Whitney Houston: “You’re a winner for a lifetime/ If you seize that one moment in time/ Make it shine.”
A three-mile square area will be closed off by security as part of a traffic box (see green border in map).
Residents’ vehicles inside the map won’t get towed, and they can drive within the box. But no vehicles will be allowed to enter the box after the perimeter takes effect on the evening of Friday Sept. 25.
That traffic box stretches westward from the Delaware River to 38th Street and north from South Street to Spring Garden, Ridge and Girard Avenues.
Additionally, officials from PennDOT announced that I-676 will be closed. I-76 eastbound will be closed from I-144 to I-95, and I-76 westbound will be closed from 95 to US-1 (City Ave.) US-1 will be closed from Lancaster Avenue (Route 30) to Belmont Avenue. I-95 will remain open.
The Ben Franklin Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic from 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25 to Monday, Sept. 28 at noon.
One thousand state troopers will be providing support to the Philadelphia Police Department and U.S. Secret Service, said acting state police commissioner Marcus Brown. A deployment of the National Guard will also help although details have not been confirmed yet.