Road closures, transit delays: What Edmontonians need to know about the 'once-in-a-generation' Papal visit
Edmontonians are being asked to plan ahead and leave plenty of time for their commutes next week as Pope Francis arrives in the city as part of the Catholic Church's efforts toward reconciliation with Indigenous people.
Police, transit, and city officials say there will be traffic closures and transit delays next week, especially on Monday and Tuesday.
"This visit is an important step as the Catholic Church continues its healing journey with residential school survivors and their families," said Nicole Poirier, Edmonton's civic events and festival director.
"The visit is also important to the City of Edmonton as we continue our healing journey with Indigenous peoples and communities," she added. "The city is working closely with our partners to support a safe and successful visit in Edmonton and area.
"This is a once-in-a-generation event that is happening in our city, and it's really important to us as a city that we get this right, or as right as possible."
Here's what you need to know about the visit:
The city will close several roads during the Pope's visit from Saturday to Tuesday.
Road closures from Saturday at 8 a.m. to Tuesday at 10 p.m. include:
- 96 Street, from 108 Avenue to 108A Avenue, including the east sidewalk;
- 108A Avenue, from 96 Street east to the first alleyway; and
- Alleyways east of 96 Street and south of 108A Avenue to 108 Avenue.
On Monday at 8 a.m., the following roads will be shut down to 6:30 p.m. as the Pope visits Sacred Heart Church:
- 96 Street, from 107A Avenue to 109 Avenue
- 108 Avenue, from 95 Street to 97 Street
- 108A Avenue, from 95 Street to 97 Street
- 109 Avenue, from 95 Street to 97 Street
- No on-street parking will be permitted during this time. Local area residents may exit the area; however, vehicle re-entry will only be permitted after the roads reopen at 6:30 p.m.
The following streets will be closed Tuesday, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
- Stadium Road, from 92 Street to 112 Avenue
- Muttart crossing, from Stadium Road to 106A Avenue
- 107A Avenue eastbound lanes, from 92 Street to 95 Street
- Expect travel delays along 112 Avenue and 111 Avenue, from 82 Street to 97 Street
- Expect travel delays along 95 Street and 97 Street, from 103A Avenue to 118 Avenue
Several roads and highways outside Edmonton will also be impacted.
Edmonton police Insp. Erik Johnson says a number of rolling road closures will also occur as the Pope's motorcade moves through the city between Sunday and Wednesday.
"We just ask the public to remember the rules of the road," Johnson said. "If a motorcade is coming up behind them, please pull off to the side of the road and ensure that they do not begin moving again until the last vehicle of the motorcade goes by."
"There's going to be a lot of people on the road, especially on the Monday and Tuesday," Johnson added. "We are expecting a lot more traffic."
Johnson said no further specifics about rolling closures could be offered, citing security reasons.
PAPAL MASS AT COMMONWEALTH STADIUM
Doors will open Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. with mobile tickets required to attend. The city recommends attendees save tickets directly to their mobile device to ensure an efficient entry process.
According to Poirier, the city expects more than 63,000 people to attend the event, as well as 8,000 people at nearby Clarke Stadium for an overfill ticketed event to watch a livestream of the ceremony.
Those seated on the floor at Commonwealth or at Clarke Stadium must arrive and be seated by 8:30 a.m. The event will go ahead no matter the weather.
Anyone attending the event will be screened by security, Poirier said. Only clear bags no larger than 12" by 12" by 6" or small non-clear clutch bags under 4.5" by 6.5".
Small snacks and water in a plastic bottle smaller than 750 millilitres will be allowed. No glass or metal containers will be permitted.
Concession at the stadium will not be open, Poirier said, but stations to refill water bottles will be set up. Keepsakes will be on sale at the concourses at Commonwealth and Clarke stadiums, as well as outside the venues.
Ticketholders are being reminded by the city and event planners that event passes purchased from resellers will not be valid.
A final series of tickets will be released to the public on Friday at 10:30 a.m. for free.
No parking will be available at Commonwealth or in the nearby areas, with residential parking restrictions in effect on Tuesday.
"Due to road closures and increased traffic around Commonwealth Stadium, we also anticipate there may be system-wide ETS delays for buses on the morning of July 26," Poirier said. "Please plan extra time for your commute."
"During this busy time, we ask that people plan ahead and leave additional time to get to where you are going," she added. "There will be a large number of visitors in Edmonton during the Pope's visit, some of whom will be unfamiliar with our streets and our transit system.
"So, please continue to be patient and courteous as you travel throughout the city on these days."
ETS recommended mass attendees and transit users commuting to work use real-time transit apps on their phones and online to help plan their trips.
GETTING TO COMMONWEALTH STADIUM
Tickets for the Papal Mass can be used as fare for the LRT and busses, with park-and-ride service being offered from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Park-and-ride buses will run every five minutes from five sites, in addition to a downtown collector route at all east-bound stops on Jasper Avenue from 97 to 107 streets and northbound stops on 97 Street, between Jasper and 107 avenues.
The park-and-ride sites include Lewis Farms, Mill Woods Town Centre, and the Calder, Davies, Eaux Claires Edmonton transit parking lots.
COMMONWEALTH REC CENTRE
The Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre will close to the public Monday at 1 p.m. and reopen the following afternoon at 2 p.m. after the papal mass to allow for set-up.
To help Edmontonians learn about Indigenous people and the road toward reconciliation, Poirier said the city has other activities during the Papal visit.
Free admission with an advance reservation at the Indigenous People's Experience at Fort Edmonton Park is available on Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In addition, K-Days is offering an Indigenous Experience for people attending the fair.
For more information about other events taking place in Edmonton, visit the city's website.
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