Cambridge Battens Down For Followers of Pope

The Pope is coming to Boston, but many of the two million faithful expected to turn out to greet him may come to Cambridge to park their cars.

"We will have all our people out in the streets enforcing the city's parking regulations," city traffic engineer Lauren Preston said yesterday. "There will be no open parking."

Preston said the decision not to allow free parking on the streets, which was made after a series of meetings between Boston and Cambridge police officials, is "an attempt to make sure the streets stay open, especially for emergency vehicles."

Since Cambridge is the major terminus for rapid transit service to Boston from the northern and western suburbs, city officials predicted that many visitors will still pass through the city.

"Once it breaks, they'll all head back here, and it is going to lead to all sorts of confusion," City Councilor Walter Sullivan said yesterday.

The City Council last night passed Sullivan's motion asking the traffic department to draw up plans for handling the holiday traffic.

"With no one able to drive in Boston, it could get really heavy here," Sullivan said.

Boston police will seal off large sections of the city in the early morning hours of October 1, the day of the Pope's visit.

Among the throng expected to see the Pope will be many Cambridge employees; the council voted last night to close City Hall and other administrative offices Monday and give workers the day off.

"This is a great and historic event, and everyone should have a chance to see it," Sullivan said.

The only employees on the job Monday will be those performing "essential services"--including keeping the city free from traffic.