New Jersey transportation officials are urging people going to Philadelphia or New York City for Pope Francis’ visit next month to be prepared and be patient or, possibly, stay home.
They also said New Jersey residents and motorists passing through who aren’t headed to Philadelphia should stay at least 50 miles away to avoid traffic jams.
The Ben Franklin Bridge will be closed on Friday night September 25 and reopen at midday Monday, September 28, said Sam Schwartz, a traffic consultant and former NYC transportation commissioner. Pedestrians will be allowed to cross the Ben Franklin Bridge, however, anyone who plans to do so should be aware that it is about a five-mile walk from Camden across the bridge to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There will be no dedicated parking for private cars or buses in Camden.
New Jersey Transit Executive Director Veronique Hakim said Thursday the agency would add buses and augment rail service to add 30,000 train seats for Friday between New York and New Jersey. There are a limited number of tickets available for both of these days, and they will go on sale at www.njtransit.com beginning August 15 at noon.
No other fares, including monthly passes, Family SuperSaver or cash, will be accepted on the Atlantic City Rail Line or River Line. Atlantic City Rail Line service will run express into Philadelphia hourly between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 26, and Sunday, September 27. Tickets will also be available from certain Ticket Vending Machines or from a ticket agent. Round-trip tickets are $30, and up to four tickets can be purchased at a time. Afterward, trains will run back to Atlantic City on the hour starting at 10 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.
The parking spots along the Camden waterfront will hold 1,100 charter buses registered with Go Ground.
Bicycles will not be allowed on NJ Transit vehicles during the Papal visit.
She says it’s a way to thank customers for their loyalty, and is aimed at gaining new customers.
There will be no River Line service in downtown Camden between Walter Rand and Entertainment Center. NJDOT will not close eastbound roads to New York for the papal visit there.
That will trigger closures of I-676 between Exit 3 in Camden and the bridge.
Emergency vehicles will be allowed on those closed roads and on the Ben Franklin Bridge.
Next door, JR Johnson, the manager of Holt’s Cigars, was pleased to find there is no fence blocking access to his store, but, “the major issue we face is how we will get our staff into the city as the majority of us live in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania suburbs and rely on public transportation and/or drive in”.
A spokeswoman for Macy’s said options, including closing, are under consideration for the weekend.
Fox then added, ominously: “If you’re not capable, health-wise, of making that long trek, you may want to re-evaluate whether you’re coming or not”.