What’s the PPA good for? Spilling the beans on the Pope’s visit

The Ben Franklin Parkway only holds 700,000 people, well short of the 1.5 million people expected there to celebrate Mass withPope Francis.

That’s just one of the nuggets from a PlanPhilly writer Jim Saksa, whopicked up new details about the papal visit out of a meeting of The Philadelphia Parking Authority’s board.

The expected crowd will be so big, that pilgrims may watch the papal mass on one of 50 Jumbotrons set back as far as City Hall.

Richard Dickson, the authority’s deputy director, told the board that security plans will begin the evening of Sept. 25, hours before the Pope arrives in Philly from New York Saturday morning.

A security perimeter – details of which were not disclosed – will be established from Girard to South Street, river to river,and may extent west to portions of University City.

While there has been much speculation about whether an area of that size will be fenced off for the visit, Saksa reportedthat the security perimeter is much more likely to include restrictions on driving in the area, unless your home or business is within it.

Mayor Michael Nutter has said that there will be fencing for security purposes, but it’s scope is likely to be much smaller than some have feared.

PlanPhilly also reportedthat the closure of the Ben Franklin Bridge an unsurprising feature of security plans, but there’s been no confirmation of that.

Fearing traffic jams along the security perimeter, SEPTA buses will likely end their routes several blocks away from Center City.