Friday, January 5, 2007


KYW 1060 is the local AM radio news channel. I listen to them every morning and every evening because they do traffic reports every 10 minutes (on the 2's). Most of the roads the feature on the traffic report are the major roads around Philly, none of which I actually use. However, I do have to cross a bridge to get from Pennsylvania to Jersey every day. The bridge I use, the Tacony Palmyra Bridge, is, unfortunately, a drawbridge. This means that whenever there is a particularly tall ship coming down (or going up) the river, they have to open the bridge and stop ALL traffic on either side. Well, I listen to KYW because SOMETIMES they announce when there is a bridge opening. If I know far enough in advance, I can take an alternate route (over the Betsy Ross Bridge, for those who care). Well, I say "SOMETIMES" because even though I listen to the radio whenever I'm approaching the bridge, sometimes they don't mention an opening and I get stuck sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour or more. Well, tonight was one of those wonderful nights. I left the office late because I had a report to finish up and actually was excited because there was a lot less traffic than usual, and I was getting all the green lights. A KYW traffic report came on at 5:32 and they didn't say anything about the bridge. At about 5:38 or so, I passed the exit where I would normally veer off and take the other bridge if need be and then about 30 seconds later, I saw all the red headlights in front of me in a long line as far as I could see. Oh "****" I thought to myself, because I just KNEW it was a bridge opening. What else could it be?? About 3 minutes later (at 5:42), another KYW traffic report came on, and right at the end they said "The Tacony Palmyra Bridge is backed up in both directions because a bridge opening just finished up". Now, each time it opens, it takes about 20 to 30 minutes, so I KNOW that at 5:32 the bridge was open and they didn't say anything! Well, anyway, that pretty much pissed me off because I knew it would add at least 45 minutes to my travel time (it ended up adding about 50 min). I realized at this point that I hadn't taken my photo of the day yet, so thought that this was a perfect occasion to do some experimenting. I've always wanted to get some cool shots of car headlights at night with streaks and such, and this very frustrating event gave me a chance to do that. So, I think one of my new year's resolutions should be to try and find the silver lining in every situation. I don't realize sometimes how good I've got it, so at times like these, I need to sit back and make the situation better somehow. So I grabbed a few cool headlights shots. This is one of my favorite. Click on the pic to see it enlarged in all it's glory! Enjoy!!


  1. Wow, that looks so cool. What setting did you use on the camera?


  2. I don't remember exactly. I think I put it on manual, then I went into the exposure menu and bumped it up to +2 so it would increase the time the shutter would stay open. Then I made sure to turn off the flash. This gave me about a 1 second shutter time. So I pushed the button to take the photo and held the camera still for part of the time and then moved it a bit near the end. I had to experiment a bit to get the timing correct. I'm glad you like it!

  3. I am so with you. I hit bridge openings regularly on my commute. Why can't KYW mention it? They have the capacity to let us know when a bridge opening is going to occur, especially if it goes through the burlington bristol bridge first. It makes me so mad when I listen to them all the way to the bridge and then find an opening. So frustrating. I feel your pain.

  4. I know this was posted over two years ago but I just did a Yahoo search on "I hate the Tacony Bridge" and this popped up. I guess KYW sucking is a tradition - I've been taking this route for only about eight months and have nothing but hatred for KYW and that bridge. I give my radio the finger every time I hear nothing about a bridge opening, get stuck and THEN they say "The Tacony bridge is finishing up an opening..."

    I listen to them all the way to the bridge to and from work. I think they only mention it 10% of the time. This morning, they actually did say it "The Tacony bridge will be opening in about 10-15 minutes" but I got there only five minutes after they said that to find a bridge that clearly had already been open for a few minutes.

    And one more question: Why the heck are they allowed to open that thing during rush hour???

  5. Oh, Anonymous, you understand my pain so well! My current policy is to listen to KYW only until the first traffic report. If they don't mention the bridge, then I take my chances with it and I turn off KYW. If they DO mention the bridge AT ALL, then I immediately change course and take the Betsy Ross. I've had pretty good luck with this approach. I get less angry when there IS an opening because I wasn't listening to them the whole time. I can blame myself a little, which makes it better somehow.

    Good luck, and I completely agree about the rush hour thing. There is no reason the bridge should be opening during those hours. Think of the gas that is wasted and the carbon dioxide emitted when hundreds of cars leave their motors running for 45 minutes longer than usual!

  6. haha yeah I was mad at myself for thinking I could beat it. Should have known better, especially the morning after a non-announcement of an opening!

    It's refreshing to see I'm not the only one who gets mad at this... :)

    (It's really satisfying to pay the $2 T-P toll to go into Philly and then taking a $4 bridge back into NJ.)