On slow-moving traffic day, sneakers and snacks were key
Broad Street was a no-go. I-95 was a parking lot. And game-day traffic hadn't even started yet. On the highways in and around Philadelphia on Sunday, a traffic disaster brewed with a fiery early-morning crash on I-95 near Broad Street shutting down that section of highway for much of the morning - while the Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run rendered that 10-mile city spine off-limits to vehicle traffic until close to noon.
Broad Street was a no-go. I-95 was a parking lot. And game-day traffic hadn't even started yet.
On the highways in and around Philadelphia on Sunday, a traffic disaster brewed with a fiery early-morning crash on I-95 near Broad Street shutting down that section of highway for much of the morning - while the Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run rendered that 10-mile city spine off-limits to vehicle traffic until close to noon.
The accident happened about 6 a.m. on the northbound side of I-95 when a tractor-trailer hit an empty, disabled car, State Police Cpl. Gerard McShea said. Both erupted in flames.
Two southbound lanes were open by 9 a.m. It was after 10 before northbound traffic could ease by the crash site - though restricted to just one lane. The charred truck remained on the highway until well into the afternoon as crews worked to remove its cargo - believed to be pineapples - and properly dispose of it, a process required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, McShea said.
The truck driver suffered minor injuries, McShea said. The highway was expected to reopen by 6 p.m.
The ripple effect was a lot of cars barely moving, including those snaking through the parking lot of the Wells Fargo Center, where Broad Street runners got an extended chance to cool down.
"We've been here an hour, and we've moved [the length of] two cars," said Nancy Kenyon. She was driving her daughter and son-in-law, runners Colleen and Tim Leska, along with their 2-year-old daughter, Corinne, and Tim Leska's mother, Linda, back to Ridley Township.
Corinne was kept occupied playing with an iPhone.
Other runners opted against even getting in their cars. They tailgated instead.
"We're in total denial that we actually have to get on the Schuylkill or 95," said Jean Kopan of Lansdale, standing with other runners gathered around several car trunks, with blankets and an array of snacks - cupcakes, muffins, chips, and salsa - spread on the ground.
For Phillies fans, getting to Sunday afternoon's game presented challenges beyond watching the drubbing by the Marlins. It took Ken Dart and his family two hours to drive to the game from Newtown Square, when "it usually takes us 20 minutes," he said.
Dart heard I-95 was backed up, so he took Route 291 and the Platt Memorial Bridge.
Still, nearing the stadium, "it probably took us an hour to go the last mile and a half," he said.
In the city, residents spoke of confusion surrounding race-related detours.
Brian Brown, a local comics artist, took to Twitter after a nine-minute trip to return a U-Haul ended up taking 90 minutes.
"#broadstreetrun is literally the stupidest possible thing that's ever existed," he posted Sunday morning.
Via e-mail, he said he had tried to take side streets to avoid the run, but even that was a headache. Signs for detours near the route, he said, didn't include information on how to get around it.
"At one point, we turned down Mifflin Street hoping we'd be able to get through, and there was a line of cars waiting to get through Broad," he said. "Everyone followed someone, so there was a line of six cars that all had to back out of Mifflin."
Still, police said that they'd experienced no major delays in the city, and that most reports of civilian confusion came from residents who were unaware of the run - until they ran into it.
"This is a day where everybody that comes into Center City avoids Broad Street," said Lt. Eamon McWilliams, adding that the race routes had been published so residents could familiarize themselves with detours.
Buses, too, were rerouted Sunday, with stations around the city displaying signs showing long lists of detours.
Waiting at a stop at 12th and Morris Streets long after the runners had passed, Pennsport resident Sadie Bullock said the detours had been frustrating but not unmanageable.
"It's a necessary evil," she said. "Philly is a city of one-way streets. It was made for horses and buggies, never for cars. So when you do a detour, there's going to be problems."