The Chestnut Hill West station’s parking lot will be closed during the pope’s visit.

The Chestnut Hill West station’s parking lot will be closed during the pope’s visit.

by Pete Mazzaccaro

This week begins what may be the most expensive and extensive visit of a foreign dignitary to the City of Philadelphia in history. That dignitary is Pope Francis, whose presence during the World Meeting of Families will effectively shut down Center City for the entire weekend, starting on Thursday at 10 p.m.

While Chestnut Hill will largely not be affected by the visit of Pope Francis this weekend, the neighborhood will be home to one of the few points of entry to the city. So if you park on the street, you’re going to want to find a good spot now and leave your car there for the next week.

Chestnut Hill West Station on West Evergreen Avenue will be the only station open on either of the two rail lines that serve Northwest Philadelphia. Chestnut Hill East will be closed.

Although the station will be open, the station’s parking lot will be closed. The lot will be filled with SEPTA and city employees who will have information, doughnuts and coffee for those traveling to the city. A row of portable toilets will also take up a large area of the lot.

According to SEPTA, trains will leave from the station every half hour, beginning at 5:30 a.m. The transit agency also urges people looking to travel to the city to be dropped off at the station in anticipation of what will be a very difficult parking situation.

The Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation will be offering day passes to those who want to park in its lots at $40 a day. Space will be limited though, as the foundation wants to be sure to keep spaces open not only for shoppers but for monthly parking pass holders.

“Chestnut Hill is going to be open for business,” said Peggy Miller, deputy director of the Chestnut Hill Business Association. “We were told to plan like it’s going to be a snowstorm without the snow. We hope we’ll be an oasis for people who want to shop or go to a restaurant here in the neighborhood.”

For more information about the pope’s visit to Philadelphia, go to

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  • Frank DiIorio

    The Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation should be ashamed of itself for its disgraceful profiteering. $40 to park? It would have been less expensive to park at a metered spot and get a ticket! Or, better, find legal on-street parking and walk a bit to the station. But non-locals aren’t familiar with the area and so are prey for the Foundation and its ilk. The image that will stay with me was a nun (in habit) forking over money to the lot attendants. The Foundation may be chortling over its profits, but fleecing the faithful is ethically bankrupt.

  • Lee Foulkrod

    It was disgraceful, but I think it may have backfired on them. It looked to me like the lots got less business than usual that weekend.