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2010 games to disrupt traffic: Vanoc

The goal of VANOC's transportation plan is simple: celebrate the 2010 Winter Olympics with glowing hearts and without car-spangled spanners.

Games organizers released the first draft of their transportation plan Wednesday. Be ready to be bombarded with slogans like “business as unusual,” “travel smart,” and “know before you go” and buzzwords like “behaviour changes” and “legacies.” “Traffic jams” and “inconveniences” are politically incorrect.

The VANOC transportation plan was supposed to have been delivered by the end of 2007. With 11 months and one day to go before the opening ceremony, the people moving plan formulated by the bureaucratic, multi-jurisdictional Olympic and Paralympic Transport Team is 80% complete. Wait until summer for road closure dates, goods and services routes, Olympic bus network booking information, the Sea-to-Sky Highway permit process and venue-specific details. A spectator guide is coming this fall.

It has not been an easy road for planners. The latest pothole was Monday's snowstorm that delayed an embargoed media briefing. Officials admitted that weather can have a great influence. The biggest challenge is expected to be the compact venue system and the dense downtown core that is expected to handle 60,000 to 135,000 spectators a day during the Games.

Space will be freed up on area roads by restricting street parking for the duration of the Games to create Olympic lanes. Chartered motorcoaches, TransLink buses and other vehicles with VANOC permits will get to glide along the express routes. Shuttle busess will link venues with SkyTrain stations in Vancouver. Transit fares are included with tickets to city venues. A special, limited edition two-month Olympic transit pass will be available. That will encourage user of ease of the new Canada Line, third SeaBus, 48 more SkyTrain cars and 200 new buses. Otherwise, VANOC hopes you'll consider carpooling, time shifting and telecommuting.

Robson Street and Granville Mall will become pedestrian-only corridors from noon to midnight to encourage shopping and clubbing. Bylaws will be amended to allow overnight deliveries. Talks are ongoing with taxi regulators to ease rules that limit where companies can pick up and drop off.

Olympic Lanes

Virtually every major street in downtown core and those that feed it cars and pedestrians will be under some sort of restriction or even closure during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Georgia, Hastings, Pender, Burrard, Howe, Seymour and Broadway will include Olympic lanes around the clock, open only to those vehicles permitted by VANOC. Parking restrictions will exist on Burrard, Granville, Cambie and Main streets. No go, red security zones will surround B.C. Place Stadium, GM Place, the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts and the entire Southeast False Creek Olympic Village. The Vancouver Convention Centre will also be a red, no go security zone. Click here to find out more!

Granville Mall, Robson, Beatty and Hamilton streets will be designated noon to midnight pedestrian corridors. The David Lam Park and EasyPark live sites have been designated official venues and have a pedestrian corridor, too, via Yaletown. Maps show the Olympic lanes stopping at the Lions Gate and Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows bridges, but there will be various optimized signals and traffic control staff to ease the flow across Burrard Inlet.

A similar strategy is being employed in Whistler on Highway 99.

Langara College, BCIT, Simon Fraser University and Capilano University will be the main departure hubs. The south foot of No. 8 Road in Richmond is the main fleet parking lot. The south foot of Boundary Road is a fleet depot. VANOC has declared 65 installations as venues. The full list wasn't provided, but non-spectator venues include the Games' warehouse at 7530-7550 Hopcott Road in Delta's Tilbury Industrial Park.

VANOC is planning for 6,100 athletes and officials, 10,000 accredited media, and 55,000 workers and volunteers.


The West Georgia high occupancy vehicle bus lane will become an Olympic lane to give priority access to northbound vehicles on the Lions Gate Bridge. On the West Vancouver side, there will be special signaling at the bottom of Taylor Way and the junction of Highway 1. Southbound vehicles in the Olympic transport system will be allowed to use the queue jump bus lane to approach the bridge. The Lions Gate is downtown's connection to the Cypress Mountain freestyle skiing and snowboarding venue and ultimately the nordic and alpine venues in Whistler.

The Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Bridge, which is the link between the Hastings Park bus depot and the Capilano University park and ride, will connect with Olympic lanes on Hastings and the Cassiar Connector tunnel. No Olympic lane is planned for now on the Knight and Oak street bridges between Vancouver and Richmond.

The Knight bridge is the closest span between the No. 8 Road Port Metro Vancouver-owned VANOC fleet parking lot and the depot at the foot of Boundary Road.

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver's 24 Hours.

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