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What to Expect When Pope Francis Visits Capitol Hill

by Sean Meehan — September 21, 2015 at 3:45 pm 1,190 0

Pope Francis

Road closures, transit changes and extra security are set to arrive in the Capitol Hill area this week when Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the District.

Locals near Capitol Hill are expected to feel the effects of the pope’s visit most strongly on Thursday, when he is slated to speak to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol.

Here’s how his trip will affect the Capitol Hill area:

U.S. Capitol Visit

  • A ticketed event is scheduled to view a live video feed of the pope’s 10 a.m. address to Congress from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Attendees also might catch a glimpse of Francis outside, but should check the list of prohibited items.
  • No public, non-ticketed viewing areas are available on the U.S. Capitol grounds or the National Mall.
  • The U.S. Capitol will close to the public at 5 p.m. Tuesday and remain closed for the duration of the pope’s visit.

Street Closures

  • All streets within a three-block radius of the U.S. Capitol will be closed from midnight to noon on Thursday.
  • Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 3rd and 1st streets NW and Maryland Avenue SW between 1st and 3rd streets SW will both be closed from 5 p.m. Wednesday to 4 p.m. Thursday.
  • Louisiana Avenue NW between Columbus Circle and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington Avenue SW between South Capitol Street and Independence Avenue SW, and East Capitol Street between 2nd and 1st streets SE and NE will be closed between midnight and 4 p.m. Thursday.

Metrorail

  • Metro will increase service during afternoons and evenings. Metro does not have the capacity to increase service during rush hours and expects trains to be very crowded at those times.
  • Bicycles and large coolers won’t be allowed on Metro trains Wednesday or Thursday.
  • Bags, packages and containers may be searched at Metro stations.
  • There is no scheduled track work on any lines during the pope’s visit.
  • Updated information will be made available online.

Metrobus

  • D3 bus will not operate on Wednesday or Thursday.
  • X2 will not go further downtown than Gallery Place from 10:30 p.m. Tuesday to 2 p.m. Thursday.
  • 30N and 30S will not run between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle from 10:30 p.m. Tuesday to 2 p.m. Wednesday.
  • 32 and 36 only will operate from Southeast to 12th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW from 10:30 p.m. Tuesday to 2 p.m. Wednesday.
  • 39 only will operate between Naylor Road and 6th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW.
  • A9, P17, P19 and W13 only will run between Southeast D.C. and L’Enfant Plaza.
  • X1 only will operate between Benning Road NE and 6th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW.

D.C. Circulator

  • The National Mall route will not operate at all on Wednesday or Thursday.
  • Buses on the Union Station-Navy Yard route will detour to avoid road closures near the Capitol. Buses going to Navy Yard will take Massachusetts Avenue NW to 4th Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue SW, where it will resume its normal route. Buses going to Union Station will take Pennsylvania Avenue SW to 6th Street SW to Massachusetts Avenue NW, where it will resume its normal route.
  • Buses on the Georgetown-Union Station, Potomac Avenue-Skyland and Union Station-Navy Yard routes will all operate every 15 minutes from noon to the end of the day Wednesday.

Public Works

  • Street sweeping has been suspended on Wednesday and Thursday on the 200 block of East Capitol Street and the 200 to 300 blocks of Massachusetts Avenue NE.
  • All other parking restrictions and street sweeping schedules will be enforced as usual.

Schools

  • D.C. public schools all will be open for the entirety of the Pope’s visit. But school officials warn that road closures and crowds may affect transportation to and from school and said parents can contact the Parent Resource Center at 202-576-5000 for transportation-related questions during the pope’s visit.
  • Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy will close Wednesday.
  • Center City Public Charter Schools won’t hold classes Wednesday.

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