Bucks Co. town declares 'state of emergency' for Pope's visit
A Bucks County police department has preemptively declared a “state of emergency” for the weekend of Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia.
A Bucks County police department has preemptively declared a "state of emergency" for the weekend of Pope Francis's visit to Philadelphia.
Middletown Township is expecting 10,000 people to descend on its Woodbourne train station, one of only five SEPTA platforms north of the city that will service passengers heading to see the pope on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sept. 26 and 27.
"I think no one really knows how crowded it's going to be," said Chief Joseph Bartorilla. "I'd rather be over prepared than underprepared."
Expecting a crush of cars and buses, Bartorilla said his department will likely need help with directing traffic and crowd management.
The state of emergency declaration will give the Middletown Twp. police access to county and state resources if needed, he said.
"And if we incur an expense for the weekend, a state of emergency would help us get reimbursed if there is any funding available, " he said. "It also ensures us that all the township staff is available to work if needed."
The Woodbourne station parking lot can accommodate about 400 vehicles, he said. Once the lot is full, overflow parking likely will be directed to the Oxford Valley Mall, a little less than a mile from the station.