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As Cleveland prepares for RNC lessons learned in Philadelphia from the Pope's visit

Posted: 2:30 PM, Sep 28, 2015
Updated: 2016-06-14 16:09:10-04

To be clear, no event during next July's Republican National Convention in Cleveland will even come close to the visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia, but there are lessons to be learned.

Security for both events falls under the jurisdiction of the United States Secret Service, which set up a security perimeter around downtown Philadelphia where no traffic was allowed that covered three square miles.

A smaller security perimeter, covering the areas around where Pope Francis would be appearing, was set up that required all entering it to go through full metal detector screenings.

That included the estimated crowd of 860,000 for Sunday's mass. For us arriving early for live shots during Good Morning Cleveland Sunday it was not an issue. For those arriving later in the morning it meant an hour wait at best, four hours at worst relayed to us by two local groups.

Still there were reports of other groups arriving in the early afternoon who simply turned around after several hours after realizing they would be unable to make it through in time for the 4 p.m. mass.

For Cleveland that type of security screening would be reserved only for the delegates and media entering either the Quicken Loans Arena or the media center if it's off site at the Cleveland Convention Center.

The traffic box though is something we all will have to deal with shutting down the roads immediately around the Gateway complex in July and in some cases a block or two out. That in turn will impact where people can park and put traffic volume onto other streets that can quickly grind to a halt.

Philadelphia's advice to its residents, especially those living downtown, was to treat the Papal visit like a major snow storm that you know exactly when it will hit and how long it will last, which will likely be a good rule of thumb for the conventions as well.

Cleveland will also rely on RTA to move both delegates and spectators to and from the arena.

One of the challenges that was experienced by Philadelphia yesterday was as people arrived they did so at various times over a good ten hours. When they left though after the mass they essentially turned to do so as
one.

With a number of people that will be a fraction of the papal crowd those organizing the convention are well aware that this won't be a major issue.  Even still after delegates sat for hours on buses in Tampa during the 2012 RNC they don't want it to even be a possibility. That was actually one of Cleveland's selling points because of the light rail option.

With the papal visit over attention will now turn to the conventions for the Secret Service, with more information coming out in the coming months about what Cleveland can expect.