By Annie Ross
Villanova’s NCAA championship basketball team will have a parade in Center City on Friday that won’t be as long as the 2008 Phillies celebration but will give attendees just as much to cheer about.
It will run along a truncated route starting at Market Street from 20th Street to Dilworth Plaza at City Hall — six blocks — starting at 1 p.m. There will then be a pep rally on the plaza.
“One of the Big 5 members did really good and won a national championship and that’s something we should applaud and be proud of,” said Mayor Kenney, a lifelong fan of the city’s college basketball scene. “I’m grateful they wanted to be here and not Radnor. We are prepared and want to have these kind of celebrations.”
SEPTA will boost service on the Norristown High Speed Line, which has three stops on and near Villanova’s campus. Passengers can connect with the Market-Frankford Line at 69th Street and take it to 15th Street-City Hall. After the parade, those stations may be bypassed by some trains if platforms become overcrowded. In that case, use the 13th Street and Walnut-Locust stations.
There will not be extra service on Regional Rail, as the Paoli/Thorndale line already runs every 30 minutes on weekdays.
These bus routes will be detoured around City Hall and Dilworth Park from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday: , 4, 7, 16, 17, 27, 31, 32, 33, 38, 44, 48, 62, 124 and 125. More details will be available on SEPTA’s website.
Villanova is paying almost all the costs of the parade, which are expected to total $22,000.
City spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said that the university will cover police and EMS staffing as well as post-parade cleanup. The city will spend $6,500 to set up protective barriers along the parade route and a sound system outside City Hall.
Kenney said the city will “way recover” its expenditure on the event.