The Papal Visit this weekend is expected to have a big impact on traffic in our area. The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials announced yesterday the launch of a special Twitter account – @511NJ_Papal – to keep motorists informed of traffic conditions during the Papal Visit to Philadelphia this weekend, September 26 and 27.
NJDOT also made available the following information and resources:
“With estimates of a million or more people traveling to Philadelphia to see the Pope this weekend, New Jersey roads are expected to experience heavy congestion. To help motorists make informed decisions on the best routes to choose, NJDOT created the Twitter account @511NJ_Papal that will provide real time traffic updates in the South Jersey area,” NJDOT Commissioner Jamie Fox said. “With the Ben Franklin Bridge closed from Friday night until Monday afternoon, we are reminding people to plan ahead and to avoid unnecessary travel in the area. For more information, visit www.PopeNJ.com.”
The @511NJ_Papal feed will Tweet real time traffic conditions on all state roads in Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Atlantic and Salem counties to help followers make informed decisions and avoid congestion as best as possible during the Papal visit. It is similar to the 511nj Twitter accounts launched in August, which feature 24/7 real time traffic information for 18 specific state highways.
In addition, subscribers to @511NJ_Papal will get real time information about the Delaware Memorial Bridge, Commodore Barry Bridge, Walt Whitman Bridge, Ben Franklin Bridge, Tacony Palmyra Bridge and the Betsy Ross Bridge. To subscribe to the account go to: https://twitter.com/511NJ_Papal
This Twitter account is one-way automated information feeds from New Jersey’s 511 service and are not consistently monitored by NJDOT. It is provided as a convenience and is not intended for receiving feedback, comments, or event reports.
Motorists can visit the 511NJ Papal Visit page to view a map with real time traffic information, travel times in and around the Philadelphia Region as well as links to other transportation agencies supporting the Pope’s visit. The 511NJ Papal Twitter Feed will be active now through September 30, 2015.
New Jersey law makes it a primary offense for motorists to talk on or text message with a hand-held wireless telephone or electronic communication device while driving. NJDOT encourages all motorists to make use of these real-time travel alert services safely and responsibly.
Plan Ahead, Use Mass Transit
If you plan to attend any of the festivities in New York or Philadelphia this week, mass transit will be your best option. For information about NJ TRANSIT Service for the Papal Visit to New York or Philadelphia go to www.NJTRANSIT.com/papal.
NJ TRANSIT is the best option to get into Philadelphia to attend the events – either on the Atlantic City Rail Line direct to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station or The River LINE to the Walter Rand Transportation Center where you can transfer to PATCO or walk across the Ben Franklin Bridge. If you plan to take NJ TRANSIT you’ll need to buy your tickets in advance, so don’t delay.
On Friday, September 25 when the Pope is in New York, event-goers should plan their trip ahead of time, arrange to travel off-peak when possible, and purchase round-trip tickets in advance. Large crowds are anticipated along with expected delays and enhanced security measures during this period.
When returning to New Jersey in the evening on September 25, customers should be prepared for longer wait times especially immediately following the Papal Mass at Madison Square Garden. Commuters may want to consider other options such as the PATH or ferry service to Hoboken to connect to NJ TRANSIT trains.
Additional rail service will operate during off-peak to Penn Station New York, as well as enhanced bus service to Port Authority Bus Terminal throughout the day. NJ TRANSIT ambassadors who are knowledgeable about travel information will be on hand to assist customers at major terminals.
[Other Resources: Ticket information, Road closures, and other NYC info http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/papal-visit.page
If at all possible, Friday the 25th commuters should try teleworking to avoid getting stuck in traffic. The Pope will be starting his day at the UN at 8:30 and will end the day with a 6:00PM mass at Madison Square Garden. Here is the schedule http://popefrancisnyc.org/pope-francis
Street Closures and NYC Transportation links http://www.amny.com/transit/new-york-city-traffic-guide-for-pope-francis-visit-1.10868885 ]
On Saturday, September 26, and Sunday, September 27, mass transit will be the best option to get into Philadelphia, and you must buy your tickets in advance.
NJ TRANSIT’s Atlantic City Line and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor service go directly to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. You may also take NJ TRANSIT’s River LINE from Trenton to Camden and transfer to PATCO.
Special tickets are available for people planning to ride the Atlantic City Rail Line and River LINE as the lines will operate on a limited schedule only on both days. Customers need to purchase their tickets in advance of this weekend.
You can buy tickets online at www.njtransit.com, at any River LINE station for River LINE tickets, or at Atlantic City Rail and Bus terminals for Atlantic City Rail Line tickets.
If you plan to drive, expect heavy congestion and delays. Camden County has made 8,500 parking spaces available for September 26 and 27 at the Camden Waterfront. These spaces need to be preregistered in order to secure a space.
For more information and links to other transportation and Papal Visit web sites, go to www.PopeNJ.com.
[Other resources: http://www.state.nj.us/turnpike/safetripnj_info.html
Interactive map http://www.phillymag.com/citified/2015/09/21/ultimate-pope-map/
NJDOT also recommends downloading SAFETRIPNJ APP which will allow you receive hands-free alerts while you are driving the http://www.state.nj.us/turnpike/safetripnj_info.html
The Pope will be giving a mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday, September 25th, 6:00pm. For all of you commuting to NY on Friday, this is a good time to try telecommuting.
We will be posting updates as we get them, on our Facebook and Twitter accounts throughout the weekend.