The pope’s visit: Surely, there was a better way

Article originally published in the Philadelphia Business Journal on September 24, 2015

The papal weekend is upon us. After months of planning, Philadelphia will host the largest public event in the city’s history. The logistics and security issues are immense, causing a significant number of road closures and major disruptions to the normal flow of city life.

I was not at the numerous planning meetings, which involved dozens of public, private and governmental agencies, so I don’t know the dynamics of those discussions. I wonder whether other alternatives were explored for hosting the papal visit, and if the impact to city life of those alternatives were compared to the extensive impact that is currently underway.

The one obvious alternative that might have been considered would be holding the papal mass (or perhaps two masses) at Lincoln Financial Field, the home venue of the Philadelphia Eagles. This venue can accommodate over 69,000 people, not including thousands of temporary seats on the field. At Lincoln Financial Field, it is much easier to provide security for the pope and attendees. The stadium’s staff provides security for each Eagles game, so the Secret Service would already have an existing security infrastructure on which to build.

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