MMDA: Show some mercy, offer parking space near Pope venues
MANILA, Philippines—It’s one of the best acts of “mercy and compassion’’ that can be done for the crowds who are pouring out to see Pope Francis.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is appealing to the universities and private establishments located near the venues of the five-day papal visit to open their parking spaces for people attending the historic gatherings, particularly at Rizal Park and the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila.
“For the Holy Mass at the Quirino Grandstand, I have asked the administration of Adamson University, University of Sta. Isabel, Philippine Normal University, Technological University of the Philippines and St. Scholastica’s College to allow people attending the event to use their parking lots,” MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino said in a press briefing hours before the Pope’s arrival on Thursday.
And it’s okay if they charge a parking fee, he said.
The Jan. 18 Mass being celebrated by the Pope at Rizal Park, which is expected to gather about 6 million people, is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m., but Tolentino said adjacent roads like Taft Avenue, Quirino Avenue, Roxas Boulevard, Kalaw Avenue, Maria Orosa Street, P. Burgos and South Drive will be closed to traffic as early as 10:30 a.m.
“The public should expect that orderly parking cannot be guaranteed so we are encouraging all to park at designated areas prior to the road closures,” Tolentino said.
MMDA has also designated “drop-off points” for motorists along Taft Avenue corner Vito Cruz, Roxas Boulevard corner Vito Cruz, and at Anda Circle.
Vehicles from Quiapo and Recto areas would not be allowed to cross the Jones, McArthur and Quezon bridges for security reasons, the agency said.
Those taking the LRT Line 1 to attend the Rizal Park Mass are advised to get off at the UN Avenue Station station and just walk the rest of the way.
For the earlier papal event on the UST campus on Sunday, Tolentino said he has also appealed to nearby universities to open their parking lots to the public.
Among the roads to be closed near UST starting 6:30 a.m. are Taft Avenue, Quirino Avenue, Nagtahan, Lacson Avenue, España, Quezon Boulevard, and Lerma.
Aside from nearby universities and malls, the MMDA has also designated parking areas around UST and the Apostolic Nunciature along Taft Avenue. These are along Dapitan, Margal, Florentino Street, Maceda Street, Earnshaw, Nagtahan and Morayta, as well as the Rizal Memorial Stadium, Harrison Plaza, Manila Zoo and the CCP Complex.
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