Our house is still being put back in order from last week's big party, but before you know it, more company is coming. That's why it's important that there be a thorough postmortem on the region's response to the visit of Pope Francis, before the Democratic National Convention arrives next summer.

From my dual perspective of local resident and member of the visiting press, I'd say we have plenty of room for improvement.

Weeks ago, my CNN colleagues were perplexed when my response to covering the pope's Philadelphia arrival was, "OK, but contingent on my travel." After all, they'd just flown me 3,000 miles to cover the GOP debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Why would an event in my own backyard raise any concerns? I explained the planned closure of the Schuylkill Expressway, the Vine Street Expressway, the Ben Franklin Bridge, and the most proximal SEPTA stop - Suburban Station. Three days before the pope's arrival, they finally understood my concern.

"We are not overstating the security situation in Philadelphia when we say none of the city team has ever seen something this restrictive," read an email blasted to all CNN personnel involved in the coverage. The missive further advised that all media arrive at the Convention Center three hours before they needed to be at broadcast locations. For me, that meant a 3 a.m. arrival to be bused to a location that was actually walkable from my hotel.

Getting home Saturday afternoon was another concern. No car services were allowed into the city, and, according to the SEPTA website, no trains would leave town during the day. ("Return service from Center City will begin at 5:30 p.m. . . . NO service will operate from Center City to outlying stations during the AM travel period or from outlying stations to Center City during the PM travel period.") My solution? To bring my bike to a hotel Friday night so I could pedal to my house on the Main Line.

Driving into town Friday afternoon was one of the fastest trips I've ever made to Center City. (I snapped a picture of a desolate Market Street West.) Walking along Chestnut and Walnut Streets, I was disappointed to see so many businesses closed or empty. National guardsmen were everywhere. A Hummer parked on the southwest corner of Rittenhouse Square in front of the Dorchester, where I once lived, seemed particularly incongruent.

For dinner, my hankering for a cheeseburger was satisfied at the Palm, where I was one of just nine patrons at the bar - the restaurant itself was empty. Yet that was packed in comparison with the cigar lounge at the Union League, where I sat alone, smoking an Ashton and watching the Mass from Madison Square Garden.

By 4 a.m. Saturday, I had walked about a 1.5-mile circuitous route navigating security barricades just to cover five blocks, only to then be bused down the Parkway to the television platforms. This necessitated going through two security screenings.

When my coanchoring of the pope's arrival ended, I walked from the Art Museum toward City Hall. The crowd was sparse. Even close to the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, at 18th and the Parkway, where the pope was saying Mass, the sidewalks were navigable. So much so that I decided to stop into Mace's Crossing for a cheesesteak and beer. There I watched the Mass on TV, sitting next to a guy named Charlie whom I initially mistook for a priest on account of my bad eyesight and his white turtleneck. (Maybe his Bloody Mary was a tell.) Charlie had ridden into town from Chestnut Hill with his wife, "one of just 40 people on a 10-car train."

The hardest part of my return to suburbia was not pedaling 17 miles from City Hall to my house - it was figuring out which route to take. I tried to use the Schuylkill Trail, only to reach a security gate at Vine Street. So I circled back to Kennedy Boulevard, walked up the stairs, rode around 30th Street, through Powelton Village and past the zoo. By now I should have known that West River Drive was closed. I was sure Route 23 would bear the brunt of the closed roadways, but it too was empty. When I got home I grabbed a nap, more on account of the Guinness from Mace's than the bike ride.

Look, I'm not whining.

I found the pope to be majestic.

And I think Philadelphia looked good on television to an international audience.

But we didn't do right by Center City businesses and residents of both Philadelphia and inner-ring suburbs. That often-published map of the Parkway with its concentric security circles was uninviting and set the tone. Consider the view of Rem Rieder, USA Today's media columnist, who wrote:

"His very presence was another step, an important one, in Philly's impressive progress toward becoming a world-class city.

"At the same time, the city's draconian security measures - closed bridges to New Jersey, a massive 'traffic box' that cars couldn't enter, shut-down streets, towed cars, public-transit restrictions, schools and courts and public offices closed for days - seemed to many a major overreaction, and were no doubt a huge inconvenience for many residents. Nothing remotely comparable took place in Washington, D.C., or New York City, the two other cities on Francis' U.S. itinerary."

He's right. The closures were over the top. And those measures - not their honest reportage, as Mayor Nutter initially claimed but then backed off - clearly "scared the s--- out of people." Yes, Sunday drew more attendees, but a professor of crowd science told The Inquirer the audience totaled no more than 142,000. That means we could have held two Masses at Lincoln Financial Field with more attendees and without the disruption to restaurants, merchants, and white-collar businesses, not to mention city and suburban residents. And we'd have saved a bundle.

"World class" means not having to close down to host a momentous event.

Michael Smerconish can be heard from 9 a.m. to noon on Sirius XM's POTUS Channel 124 and seen hosting "Smerconish" at 9 a.m. Saturdays on CNN.