Have you heard? The pope is coming, and with his visit comes road closures, transit changes and extra security across the District. But will it be the end of the world? Pope-alypse? Pope-mageddon? Probably not.
Residents across the Borderstan coverage area will likely feel the effects of Pope Francis’ visit on Wednesday, when the pope will hold mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Dupont Circle after parading around the White House.
Here’s our big infodump-y list of what to expect from the Pope’s visit:
Where Pope Francis Will Be
- Pope Francis will meet with President Obama Wednesday morning, which will be followed by a parade around the White House along Constitution Avenue NW and 15th and 17th streets NW
- The pope’s motorcade will then go from the White House to the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle at 1725 Rhode Island Ave. NW, where he will hold a midday prayer with U.S. bishops.
- He will then head to Catholic University to hold mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
- LGBT Catholics will gather outside of the Human Rights Campaign offices at 17th Street NW and Rhode Island Avenue NW to greet the pope as his motorcade passes en route to the cathedral
Where Pope Francis Will Not Be
Those looking to avoid the pope and road closures altogether should stay north of O Street NW. Places to avoid include Massachusetts Avenue near the Naval Observatory on Tuesday night, Farragut Square, Dupont, Catholic University and Brookland on Wednesday and the U.S. Capitol and downtown on Thursday.
- Rhode Island Avenue NW between Connecticut Avenue NW and 17th Street NW will be closed from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday
- Several roads around the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle will close intermittently between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. including:
– M Street NW between Connecticut Avenue NW and 17th Street NW
– Connecticut Avenue NW between 18th Street NW and Desales Street NW
– 17th Street NW between M and N streets NW
- Parking will be prohibited between midnight and 3 p.m. Wednesday in a one-block radius from the Cathedral including:
– Rhode Island Avenue NW between 17th Street NW and Connecticut Avenue NW
– M Street NW between Connecticut Avenue NW and the BB&T bank halfway down the block
- Parking will be limited from midnight tonight until 6 p.m. Thursday between 11th and 12th streets NW and between K and O streets NW
- Service on all lines will be increased during the midday 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 will not 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
- 37, D1, D3, H1 and S1 buses will not operate on Wednesday or Thursday
Several bus routes have been shortened from due to road closures along their routes. Those bus lines are:
- 42 and 43 will only operate between Mt. Pleasant and 9th Street NW and F Street NW from 9 p.m. Wednesday to 2 p.m. Thursday
- N2 and N4 will only operate between Friendship Heights and the National Cathedral at 34th Street NW and Garfield Street NW from 9 a.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Thursday.
- N3 and N6 will only operate between Friendship Heights and Dupont Circle from 9 a.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Thursday
- S2 and S4 will only operate between Silver Spring and McPherson Square from 10:30 a.m. Tuesday to 2 p.m. Wednesday
- The Dupont Circle-Georgetown-Rosslyn and Woodley Park-Adams Morgan-McPherson Square lines will run every 15 minutes starting at noon on Wednesday and lasting until Thursday evening
- D.C. Public Schools will all be open for the entirety of the Pope’s visit. 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.
Several charter schools will be closed on Wednesday, including:
- All Carlos Rosario International Charter School locations
- All Center City Public Charter School locations
- E.L. Hayned Public Charter School
- All KIPP D.C. locations
Places to Celebrate
- Embassy Row Hotel in Dupont Circle will hold a pope-themed rooftop party Tuesday night with foods from Pope Francis’ native Argentina. Tickets are $25
- Rumors Bar and Grill has a special pope sandwich on their menu this week
- Posto restaurant on 14th Street NW will offer a tasting menu of Roman dishes in honor of the pope’s visit
- Here’s a list of pope drink specials popping up across town
(Updated at 12:04 p.m.) A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle just north of Thomas Circle on 14th Street just before 11:19 a.m., according to D.C. Fire and EMS.
When Borderstan arrived on the scene about 10 minutes later, the street was clear.
D.C. Fire and EMS confirmed the pedestrian was not transported to the hospital.
With one of the busiest international conferences hitting DC this weekend, expect some additional public transportation congestion and traffic delays downtown.
The 19th International AIDS Conference will take place July 22 through 27 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW. Activities are also scheduled at the Carnegie Library located across the street from the Convention Center. On most days, daily activity hours for the conference are scheduled between 6:30 am and 9 pm.
This year’s conference attendance is projected to hit more than 30,000 participants with a myriad of notable guest speakers, including Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Kathleen Sebelius, Laura Bush, Bill Gates, Elton John and Whoopi Goldberg, among others.
Shuttle buses will be used throughout the week to transport participants; expect road closures and parking restrictions on Sunday, July 22 and Tuesday, July 24.
A large mid-day protest is also expected outside the Convention Center on Tuesday, July 24. This activity could interfere with normal pedestrian and vehicular activity. For more information, visit Events DC.
From Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster.
Guarav Gopalan’s Murder Still a Mystery
A Sunday night candlelight vigil was held to remember Guarav Gopalan, an openly gay man murdered near Columbia Heights two weeks ago. Police say they have no suspects and no motive for the murder, which is troubling for a number of reasons. The longer the case is open and ‘cold’, as we know from TV, the harder it is to solve. But the Washington Blade shares concerns from some in the LGBT community that Gopalan was targeted due to his sexual orientation. WUSA follows this with the reminder that several transgender people have been attacked in DC and near the area Gopalan was found recently.
Fiesta DC: Too Much Fiesta?
While we were hard at work giving out stickers, helping the festival organizers and meeting readers at the 17th Street Festival, it seems another festival went less smoothly. DCist has the most comprehensive round up of the Fiesta event on Sunday in Mount Pleasant, including why so many residents were pretty ticked off by the end of the weekend. Apparently, coordination between organizers (it changed while in the planning stages which always creates confusion) and the neighborhood was lacking or virtually non-existent, depending on who you talk to about the event. It was clear, however, that it was a robust celebration of Latino heritage with some delish looking food. Anyone check it out?
But Apparently DC Is Not a Foodie City, Since it Lacks ‘Ethnic Communities’
Some dude named Eli Lehrer wrote a Huffington Post piece about how DC is not a foodie city. While I hate the term ‘foodie’ and find some valid points in his article, I am irritated by it. Apparently, we lack ethnic enclaves (we have Ethiopian but for all others everyone goes to the ‘burbs), we make too much money to build an empire of cheaper, tasty food and don’t have enduring culinary traditions. Apparently, half smokes don’t count, Old Bay doesn’t count because that is owned by Baltimore and while NYC gets to credit their slices as a ‘tradition’, Jumbo Slice falls short.
Look — it is a little silly to continue this asinine argument over whether the food in the town is legit or not. We all eat and eat out and like different things, and I think there’s a lot of great stuff here. I just get irritated when a VP from an organization focused on free enterprise takes to blogs to whine about pricy food. There, I said it. Flame away. (Note: it was an attempt at explaining why we were so low in the Travel and Leisure poll of best foodie cities. Note #2: I don’t think we’re that low. If you haven’t eaten in Nashville, I can’t explain it to you. Sorry.)
Royster Leaves DNC Post
Deborah Royster, elected to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) by the District, stepped down from her position as DC’s DNC committee chairwoman. The news was broken by Mike DeBonis at the The Washington Post. As deputy general counsel for Pepco Holdings, Royster certainly has her hands full in her day job. She also serves as the chairwoman of the Ward Four Dems.
We’re Number One!
In crappy traffic, that is. The NPR story has the best headline on the Texas Transportation Institute study, writing that DC is the “best place to waste time in traffic.” Sounds about right to us — even 16th Street will test your patience immensely on a good morning. We in DC and our neighbors to the north and south apparently waste up to 74 hours in traffic backups a year. I hope you like your car, folks.
The District Department of Transportation (DDoT) announced Wednesday that starting Monday, March 15 there will be no more rush-hour reversible lanes on 15th Street NW south of Massachusetts Avenue. This means the the southbound (west side) lanes on 15th Street between K and Massachusetts will no longer become northbound lanes between 4 and 6:30 p.m. North of Massachusetts, 15th Street is one-way going north at all times.