New Service Will Text or Email Bridge Customers About Bridge Openings & Traffic Issues
Using the well-known Nixle system, the Burlington County Bridge Commission has launched a new community information service that will enable customers of the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges to receive text or email message notifications of scheduled bridge openings and other traffic issues that might affect their commute.
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"Imagine being able to adjust your schedule or your route according to a traffic delay or motor vehicle accident,” said Commission Chairman John Comegno. “Motorists travelling one of our landmark bridges will be able to do just that—and at no cost.”
Interested motorists who sign up for this program will receive traffic information on a real-time basis from Nixle. Messages will cover upcoming bridge openings, existing vehicular accidents or traffic issues, or planned construction work that may affect commuters who use the Tacony-Palmyra or Burlington-Bristol Bridges.
Because the bridges open “on demand” (upon vessels’ requests), advance notification isn’t always possible, but when adequate advance notice is provided, the Nixle system will notify registered users. Notification to the Commission varies greatly so the timetable for notifications via Nixle will vary accordingly. Notifications will come the same day, anywhere from several hours before the scheduled opening to minutes before.
The service is FREE of charge, both to the Bridge Commission and to the users (if the users’ cell phone carrier charges for text messages, users will incur that charge, but there is no “opt-in” or per-message charge imposed by the Bridge Commission).
Users can sign up at www.nixle.com or from the link provided on the Commission’s website, www.bcbridges.org.
Since April of last year, BCBC’s Police have notified the media by email in advance of bridge openings for the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges. This new community information service extends the communication directly to the general public.
“Some people might think we’re crazy, instituting a new process that could potentially drive customers away from our bridges,” said Vice-Chairman James D. Fattorini, “but we believe we’re putting our toll payers first by offering this one-of-a-kind notification.”
“Offering motorists no toll increase for the past ten years has saved them money. Now this notification system will save them time,” Commissioner Troy Singleton added. “These days, what hard-working citizen can’t use that?”
“Simply put, this system is the right thing to do,” said Comegno. “And it does what we’ve been focused on here at the Burlington County Bridge Commission — it puts our customers first.”
Nixle, LLC, is a community information service that alerts the public to public safety issues and community events via web, e-mail, and cell phone at no cost. Its authenticated service connects municipal agencies and community organizations to residents in real time, delivering information to geographically targeted consumers over their cell phones (via text messages), through e-mails and through Web access.
Peregrine Falcon Chicks atop Tac-Pal
The Peregrine Falcon nesting box situated atop the Tacony/Palmyra Bridge (on the up-river side, just as the arch begins to slope toward Pennsylvania) is active with three chicks approximately 2½ weeks old. On May 15th, the chicks will be banded by Kathy Clark, state zoologist with NJ Fish and Wildlife, PCNP’s own Kristina Merola, and Pennoni’s Jack Di Giovanna. The chicks can be observed on the Falcon camera in PCNP’s Environmental Discovery Center—visit soon to observe a new generation of these amazing raptors and their hard-working parents!
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About Peregrine Falcons and Nesting Atop the Tac-Pal
The Peregrine falcon is an endangered species in New Jersey. Consequently, there has been a concerted effort on the part biologists with the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Non-game Species Program to promote Peregrine falcon nesting in our state. In an effort to assist in the recovery of the Peregrine falcon species, Burlington County Bridge Commission maintenance personnel built and installed a nest box in 1990.
A pair of falcons attempted to nest in the box for the first time in the spring of 2004. In July of that year an adult male Peregrine was found dead on the roadway beneath the bridge. This bird was carefully preserved until permits could be secured that would allow us to use it as a teaching tool. This falcon is now on display in the exhibit hall. Meanwhile, another male arrived at the box to join the female. In the spring of 2005 the pair was seen in the area of the nesting box although no evidence of a nest was found. In January 2006, two cameras were focused on the nest, at different angles, with live images beamed to monitors in the exhibit hall of the Environmental Discovery Center. Our hope was that there would be a successful nest in the box by spring and that those images could be used as a teaching tool. By spring 2007, behavior displayed by the pair, which we could view from the images on the monitors led us to believe that there were eggs in the nest. As it turned out, if there were eggs in the nest, they were never hatched. We were disappointed, but hope springs eternal as the saying goes.
Early in April 2008, we again observed activity in the nest box. The activity increased with the female staying in the box most of the time but leaving occasionally, the male coming and going. We believe, working the time line backwards, that the pair was incubating eggs. This continued for approximately 4 to 5 weeks, after which we began to observe the male arriving at the nest with a small animal or bird, hand it off to the female who would, with her back to the camera, rip the food off of the bones and appear to be feeding chicks.
The chicks didn’t look much bigger than a cotton ball when first hatched and you had look carefully to see them, but the feeding ritual was quite distinctive. When I described it to one of the Fish and Wildlife biologists, he confirmed that what we were observing was, indeed, a parent feeding new chicks. This ritual went on several times a day with one or the other parent flying off with the bony remains of the meal as soon as it had ended. All of this could and still can be observed in real time on the falcon-cam monitors in the EDC.
Other activity we have observed is the male flying into the nest and the female leaving. Occasionally they will both be gone for a brief period of time. Most of the time, however, one or the other is either at the box or close enough to have it in view.
Peregrine chicks eat voraciously, doubling their birth weight in six days; in 3 weeks they are 10 times their birth weight and begin to display brownish juvenile feathers. By 5 or 6 weeks of age they will be covered in brown feathers, their juvenile plumage.
Time to Think About Summer Camps at PCNP
It’s almost that time—summer! That means it’s time to think about summer camp and PCNP offers several options:
June 18th through June 22nd —
Photography Camp, Session I
July 9th through July 13th —
Environmental Education Day Camp, Week I
July 16th through July 20th —
Environmental Education Day Camp, Week II
July 23rd through July 27th —
Photography Camp Session II
August 6th through 10th —
Engineers of Tomorrow Camp