Little drama at victory parade
The daylong parade for the Super Bowl winning Eagles went off without a hitch.
That’s how city and SEPTA officials described Thursday’s event, which drew hundreds of thousands revelers to the streets along a 5-mile parade route that ended at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
In a post-parade debriefing at City Hall Friday morning, Mayor Jim Kenney said the overall costs to the city, in terms of overtime and other things, had yet to be determined.
But the “psychic benefit” was priceless, he said.
“You can’t put a price on the psychic benefit that we experienced – that we can actually win and win well and respectfully and celebrate respectfully,” Kenney said inside the Mayor’s Reception Room while standing alongside other officials.
The parade itself cost between $2-3 million, according to Fred Stein, senior producer of The Creative Group which produced and organized the event. The event was paid for by the Eagles organization.
Estimates for the crowd size were in excess of 700,000 people, but “likely higher,” said Emergency Operations Director Dan Bradley.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. said the parade drew “supersized crowds.” Ross added that he believed there were “clearly more folks there yesterday” than the Phillies World Series parade in 2008, which had an estimated crowd size of more than 1 million.
The parade officially began at 10:58 a.m. at South Broad Street and Pattison Avenue, Stein said.
Open-air double decker buses transported Eagles players and personnel northward on S. Broad Street to City Hall, before turning left and making their way up Benjamin Franklin Parkway before ending with a rally on the art museum’s iconic “Rocky steps.”
Eagles players got out of the buses at times to greet the crowds, which did cause some delays but “made it that much more exciting,” Stein said.
SEPTA transported in excess of 395,000 passengers on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street where travel was free throughout the day, said Scott Sauer, SEPTA assistant general manager of operations. Compared to an average weekday, that marked an increase of approximately 107,000 riders.
To better manage the massive crowds, rail stations throughout the city were consolidated, and Regional Rail service was limited to in-bound trains only in the morning, and outbound trains in the afternoon and evening.
Sauer said those plans “maximized service” and “came close to matching what was done on the ground” that day.
There were no major delays throughout SEPTA’s system Thursday, Sauer said, other than a medical-related issue at Jefferson Station that resulted in minor delays in the evening on the Regional Rail line.
SEPTA managed to avoid the transportation debacles that occurred when large crowds turned out for the 2008 World Series parade and 2015 visit by Pope Francis.
Police made two arrests related to the parade, Ross said. Police arrested a woman who was charged with assaulting a police officer after she charged a police line; the second arrest was for an assault. Ross did not provide further details about the arrests.
There were additionally five citations issued during the parade, Ross said. He added that there were two stabbings in the city Thursday, one of which occured along the Parkway.
Four police vehicles also sustained minor damage during the parade, Ross said, which he said was caused by people standing on them to get a better view.
In addition, one of the large television screens, or jumbotrons, set up for the parade on the northside of City Hall was toppled and damaged by fans, Stein said.
Throughout the city Thursday, emergency medical service crews responded to 992 calls; fire services responded to 134 calls; and there were three structure fires, said Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel.
Thiel estimated that, of those figures, emergency service personnel responded to more than 200 patient issues related to the parade, and 54 people were given transportation assistance.
Telecommunication service throughout the day was slow, as many people realized when they attempted to make calls or posts on social media. At point point 4G service was interrupted, and there were additional disruptions to cellphone service along Broad Street, Bradley said.
After the confetti fell and crowds dispersed, the massive cleanup effort began.
Cleanup crews managed to reopen South Broad Street by Thursday’s evening rush hour, Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams said.
The Parkway and Oval in front of the art museum were another story. Partygoers left those areas in a state of debauchery and strewn with beer cans, bottles, sleeping bags, and chairs, among other detritus.
Crews had the Parkway reopened in time for the morning’s rush hour, Williams said, and the cleanup operation continued into Friday along numerous streets along the route.