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VANOC considers VIP-only driving lanes

Is Vancouver's look of the city plan also a sneak peek at the Olympic lane network?

"It's too soon to tell," said City of Vancouver's General Manager of Olympic Operations, Dave Rudberg. "We didn't link it to the Olympic lane system at this point."

A staff report for today's city council meeting recommends spending $650,000 for 6,000 banners to create "corridors of colour" to 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics venues.

It identifies 10 major streets for decorating, including the entire length of Granville from the Arthur Laing Bridge to Burrard Inlet. Granville is a likely candidate to be the main vehicle link from Vancouver International Airport and the Richmond Oval to downtown hotels and the main media centre.

Rudberg said an Olympic lane system is under consideration. Space on streets and bridges has been traditionally reduced in Olympic cities by dedicating exclusive lanes for vehicles carrying athletes, VIPs, sponsors and media.

The provincial government quietly amended the Motor Vehicle Act in April to allow Olympic lanes.

In Beijing, roadways used for the Olympic lane were decorated with banners plus signs and pavement markings that indicated they were restricted to traffic on official Olympic business.

Some lanes were off-limits to the public from 6 a.m. to midnight. Others had round-the-clock bans. VANOC's transportation plan, originally due in late 2007, is expected in early 2009.

Top five streets for 2010 Olympic street banners:

- Hastings St. (Boundary Rd. to Burrard)

- Granville St. (SW Marine Dr. to Burrard Inlet)

- Oak St. (SW Marine Dr. to Broadway)

- Main St. (33rd Ave. to Hastings St.)

- Cambie St. (33rd Ave. to Cambie Bridge)

A request to interview VANOC transportation planning executives was not fulfilled before 24 hours' deadline.

The look of the city will be similar to the look of the Games, which will be unveiled tomorrow at a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon at Canada Place.

Bob Mackin reports for 24 Hours.

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