Philadelphia is home to one and a half million citizens, and it is estimated that on September 26th and 27th, this number will double as visitors flock to the city to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis. Authorities expect the massive influx of people to have an enormous impact on travel — not only in the city, but also in the surrounding suburbs — and Radnor Township is certainly no exception. In fact, Radnor promises to be one of the busiest towns around, as SEPTA’s Radnor train station will be one of only two stations to stay open on Paoli-Thorndale line during the weekend. For the duration of the papal visit, the Radnor station will be a central commuting hub for the west Philadelphia suburbs. Police predict that the station, which averages 541 commuters per weekday, will board roughly 10,000 people over the course of the weekend. As several major highways and roads will be shut down during the time that Pope Francis will be in Philadelphia, train travel is one of few viable options for commuting to the city.
Among the roads to be closed are I-76 eastbound from I-476 to I-95, I-76 westbound from I-95 to US Route 1, US Route 1 in both directions from US Route 30 to Belmont Avenue, and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. I-95 will remain open, but police advise citizens to prepare for unplanned closures.
In anticipation of the massive amount of traffic during the event, all Radnor police officers will be required to work throughout the weekend. Many of these officers commute to Radnor but have been instructed to find places to stay overnight due to the difficulty of leaving and entering the area.
In an attempt to assist the Radnor police in facilitating the details of the papal visit, Eastern has offered to house officers in on-campus dormitories. The police have yet to respond.
Eastern Security has announced that due to the anticipated volume of traffic, the shuttle service to and from the Radnor and R-5 stations will be shut down. Students, staff, and faculty will have to find their own way to campus if they wish to commute via the rail system. Further, Director of Safety and Security Jim Magee warns against driving in Radnor at all during the weekend. “Students with off-campus jobs will probably need to bike or walk there due to the traffic,” he advises.
Radnor police are encouraging citizens of Radnor to sign up for traffic and safety updates on the Radnor.com website. Further notifications leading up to the event may also be found at Comcast channel 5, Verizon channel 30, and Radnor Township’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Image courtesy of Creative Commons / The Waltonian