2010 Olympic Transportation plan a success

Citizens urged to keep travelling smart as changes to the road network remain for Paralympic Winter Games

VANCOUVER, March 3 /CNW/ - The Olympic and Paralympic Transportation Team (OPTT) today thanked the people of Metro Vancouver and the Sea to Sky regions for making the 2010 integrated Olympic transportation plan a success, while urging people to keep traveling smart in view of changes to the transportation network for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

Transportation planners - charged with one of the most complex and critical elements of the Games - set the lofty goal of achieving at least a 30 per cent reduction in vehicle use during the Olympic Games, in order to ensure athletes, officials and others could get to their events on time and local residents could move efficiently.

Throughout the Games, Metro Vancouver and the Sea to Sky corridor saw record numbers of people walking, cycling and taking transit, and an overall reduction in vehicle use. In particular, vehicle use was reduced by an average of more than 35 per cent each day. In addition, TransLink, the public transit operator in Metro Vancouver, moved an average of 1.5 million people per day during the Games, an increase from 730,000 trips per day, while BC Transit, the public transportation provider in the Sea to Sky corridor, saw five times the ridership on the public transit system over normal winter levels.

    
    Paralympic transportation plans
    -------------------------------
    

Venues

Building on this success, the OPTT is reminding the public to continue to 'travel smart' during the Paralympic Winter Games. While most road networks have been returned to normal, some closures and parking restrictions remain around Paralympic venues during the transition to and throughout the Paralympic Games. These areas include UBC Thunderbird Arena, the Vancouver Paralympic Centre, Paralympic Village Vancouver and BC Place (for March 12 Opening Ceremony). In Whistler, these areas include Whistler Creekside and Paralympic Village Whistler. The public is asked to continue to use sustainable modes of transportation throughout the month of March 2010 and beyond. Details of the 2010 integrated Paralympic transportation plan are outlined in the attached fact sheet.

"We were very happy with the transportation choices that everyone made during the Olympic Winter Games," Penny Ballem, city manager of the City of Vancouver said on behalf of the OPTT. "With fewer changes to the road network during the Paralympic Winter Games, we encourage residents, commuters and visitors to continue to leave their vehicles behind and walk, cycle or take transit to get around during this period."

"It's important we ensure our Paralympic athletes and other guests have a smooth, positive experience here during the Games," added Terry Wright, VANOC executive vice president, services and Games operations. "With road closures, parking restrictions and increased volumes around Paralympic Games venues, traveling smart is still the way to go and everyone should know before they go."

Paralympic Torch relay and Opening Ceremony March 11 and 12

The public is also reminded the Paralympic torch relay will be underway in downtown Vancouver from 2 pm on March 11 to 2 pm on March 12. The current proposed route is a loop that will involve areas along Robson, Granville and Smithe Streets. Traffic will continue to flow on most major streets, however, there will be road closures and restrictions to vehicle traffic along a few blocks of Robson, Smithe, Granville and Bute. Other cross streets will remain open with rolling intermittent road closures as the torch runs past. Commuters are advised to find alternate routes and modes of transportation around the Robson Square area for March 11 and 12.

In addition, temporary road closures and pedestrian corridors will be in place in downtown Vancouver on March 12 to support the Paralympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony at BC Place. Cambie Bridge, as well as portions of Beatty Street and Robson Street will be closed for most of the day on March 12, so driving will be challenging. Up to date information will be made available on the Host City website through travelsmart2010.ca,so that everyone can plan ahead.

    
    Other transportation highlights

    -   Public transportation service will reflect the anticipated number of
        transit riders during the Paralympic Games, with event level service
        planned to serve Paralympic venues in Vancouver, and the Games
        Express service continuing in Whistler.
    -   Paralympic Games event tickets include access to public transit for
        the day of the event.
    -   Olympic lanes removed in Vancouver as of March 2, though a temporary
        Paralympic lane will remain on Highway 99 in Whistler from Function
        Junction to the Village.
    -   Sea to Sky traffic checkpoint removed as of March 1; no permits
        required to travel north of Squamish.
    -   Lane demarcations on Highway 99 will be removed between March 1
        and 5.
    

For the most up-to-date transportation information, visit www.travelsmart2010.ca.

About the OPTT

Members of the Olympic and Paralympic Transportation Team (OPTT) are VANOC, the City of Vancouver, Resort Municipality of Whistler, TransLink, BC Transit, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit. Planning is also supported by other partners, including Transport Canada and the municipalities of Richmond and West Vancouver.

    
    FACT SHEET
    Olympic and Paralympic Transportation Team

                           Transportation Update:
               Transition to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games

    General

    -   Transportation is one of the greatest challenges in staging the 2010
        Winter Games.

    -   By almost every indicator, the 2010 transportation plan has been an
        unqualified success, thanks to the participation of businesses and
        residents in the Metro Vancouver and Sea to Sky regions.

    -   During the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Metro Vancouver and the Sea to
        Sky corridor saw record numbers of people walking, cycling and taking
        transit and an overall reduction in vehicle use.

    -   As the transition to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games begins,
        citizens should continue to TravelSmart and use sustainable modes of
        transportation wherever possible. Some road closures and parking
        restrictions around venues will remain, and there will be increased
        volumes of people and vehicles in the surrounding areas as a result.

    -   The following competition and non-competition venues will operate
        during the Paralympic Games:

           -  UBC Thunderbird Arena (Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre)
           -  Vancouver Paralympic Centre
           -  Paralympic Village Vancouver
           -  BC Place Stadium (Opening Ceremony only)
           -  International Broadcast Centre
           -  Whistler Creekside
           -  Whistler Paralympic Park
           -  Paralympic Village Whistler
           -  Whistler Media Centre
           -  Whistler Medals Plaza (Closing Ceremony)

    Paralympic Torch Relay

    -   On March 11 and 12, 2010, a 24 hour relay around Robson Square will
        take place in downtown Vancouver as part of the 2010 Paralympic Torch
        Relay. The event will run from approximately 2 pm on March 11 through
        to 2 pm on March 12. The current proposed route is a loop that will
        involve areas along Robson, Granville and Smithe Streets.

    -   The torch will finish at BC Place Stadium and light the cauldron as
        part of the Paralympic Opening Ceremony.

    -   Vehicle travel around the Robson Square area on March 11 and 12 will
        be challenging - expect some delays:

           -  For the safety of the torchbearer and surrounding crew, there
              will be intermittent rolling closures by traffic authority
              members to allow for torchbearers to run across intersecting
              streets. These closures are only expected to last a few minutes
              at a time.

           -  Robson Street will be closed to vehicle traffic between Hornby
              and Howe (cross streets will remain open)

           -  Traffic will continue to flow on most major streets, however
              there will be road closures and restrictions to vehicle traffic
              along a few blocks of Robson, Smithe, Granville and Bute. Other
              cross streets will remain open with rolling intermittent road
              closures as the torch runs past. Commuters are advised to find
              an alternate route for March 11 and 12.

           -  Visit vancouver2010.com in early March to view the complete
              detailed route for the 24-hour Paralympic Torch Relay.

    Changes to the road network: Metro Vancouver

    -   Olympic lanes are no longer in effect as of March 2

    -   The majority of stopping/parking restrictions in Vancouver will be
        removed as of March 2, though some parking restrictions around venues
        will remain. A detailed map illustrating these restrictions is
        available on the Host City website, accessed via travelsmart2010.ca

    -   24-hour delivery periods and extended garbage removal hours are no
        longer in effect in Downtown Vancouver as of March 1.

    -   Temporary truck routes in Vancouver are in effect through March 21
        (end on March 22, 2010).

    Changes to transit service: Metro Vancouver

    -   Transit service levels will return to normal levels and hours of
        operation on March 1, with extra capacity and event-level service
        available to be deployed as needed.

    -   As with the Olympic Games, a Paralympic Games event ticket will act
        as a transit pass for the day.

    -   Travelers are encouraged to visit travelsmart2010.ca for service
        details and to use the trip planner.

    Road Closures: Metro Vancouver

    The following road closures will be adjusted during the transition to
and/or for the duration of the Paralympic Games (subject to change):

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    BC Place and Canada Hockey Place
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 2      -  Georgia viaduct and Beatty Street open
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 3      -  Carrall Street southbound opens (Keefer to Pacific). Will
                    close again March 10
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 4      -  Dunsmuir viaduct opens
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 10     -  Georgia viaduct will close until March 12 inclusive
                    (opens March 13)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 12     -  Cambie Bridge and portions of Beatty and Robson Streets
                    will be closed to support the Opening Ceremony of the
                    Paralympic Winter Games
                 -  Dunsmuir viaduct will be closed (opens March 13)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 16     -  Expo and Pacific Boulevards open (closed since late
                    January)
                 -  Abbott Street (between Expo and Pacific) opens (closed
                    since mid-January)
                 -  Carrall Street opens (Keefer to Pacific)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 27     -  Griffiths Way (Expo to Pacific) open
                 -  Terry Fox Way (Expo to Pacific) open
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Cypress Mountain
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 9      -  Cypress Mountain road opens
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Main Media Centre
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 1      -  Waterfront Road and Canada Place Way open
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Olympic/Paralympic Village Vancouver
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 25     -  Quebec Street opens between Terminal Avenue and
                    2nd Avenue (TBC)
                 -  Columbia, Cook, Crowe, Manitoba, and Ontario Streets
                    (between 1st and 2nd Avenue) open
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    April 1      -  First Avenue (between Quebec and Wylie Streets) opens -
                    Seawall around the Village opens
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Pacific Coliseum
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 2      -  Renfrew Street opens
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Richmond Olympic Oval
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 1      -  River Road and Hollybridge Way open
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    UBC Thunderbird Arena
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 22     -  Wesbrook Mall opens
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 23     -  Thunderbird Boulevard opens
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 1      -  Dinmont Avenue opens (closes March 10 to 21)
                 -  Peveril Avenue opens (closes March 10 to 21)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    March 4      -  Midlothian Street opens
                 -  Ontario Street opens (parking restrictions remain)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Changes to the road network: Sea to Sky Corridor

    -   Access to public parking in Whistler will increase as of March 1,
        with some of the day lots opening to the public and additional fee-
        based parking available. Visit travelsmart2010.ca for details.

    -   As a result, the Sea to Sky traffic checkpoint will no longer be in
        effect as of March 1, and permits are no longer needed to travel
        north of Squamish during peak times.

    -   Lane demarcations on Highway 99 will be removed between March 1 and 5
        and Highway 99 will return to normal operation.

    -   The Olympic/Paralympic lane on Highway 99 in Whistler will remain
        until March 21 (from Function Junction to Whistler Village).

    -   Spectators are asked to carpool or self-drive to Whistler events and
        park at two designated parking lots close to Whistler Paralympic Park
        (WPP). They will then board complimentary shuttles to WPP or Whistler
        Creekside. More information is available in the Spectator Guide
        (vancouver2010.com/guide).

    -   In select areas near Games venues (London Lane and Nordic Drive),
        local vehicle permits will be in effect from March 7 to 21 to
        facilitate vehicle access and protect parking spots for residents and
        businesses.

    Changes to transit service: Sea to Sky Corridor

    -   Transit service resumes its regular winter service as of March 1,
        reflective of the anticipated transit demand.

    -   In Whistler, BC Transit will continue to operate the No.10 Games
        Express from March 1 to 21. The No.10 Games Express connects the
        Athlete's Village to the Gondola Transit Exchange (located in
        Whistler Village, by the Excalibur Gondola) and runs every 15 minutes
        from 5:00 am to midnight.

    -   Spectators and other visitors are encouraged to take transit while in
        Whistler. Paralympic event tickets include access to public transit
        in Whistler the day of the event until 4:00 am.

    Road closures: Whistler and the Sea to Sky Corridor

    The following roads will re-open, either fully or partially, for the
transition to and/or during the Paralympic Winter Games:

    March 1

        -  Blackcomb Way opens to northbound traffic. It will close again
           March 8 to 21.
        -  London Lane opens. It will close again March 7 to 21.

    March 2

        -  Whistler Way opens to one-way traffic only.

    What You Can Do To TravelSmart During the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games

    -   The Opening Ceremony on March 12 is a special day where vehicle
        travel downtown is strongly discouraged. Choose a sustainable mode,
        such as walking, cycling or transit. If driving is absolutely
        necessary, plan to leave downtown before noon, or wait until the
        ceremony is underway after 5:30 pm.

    -   While the Paralympic torch relay is underway in downtown Vancouver on
        March 11 and 12, if travel in the area is a must, please do not
        drive. Visit vancouver.ca to view a map of the route.

    -   For the remainder of the 2010 Winter Games, leave your vehicle
        behind. TravelSmart in 2010 by choosing a sustainable mode of
        transportation. Many are available.

    -   Details on getting to Paralympic venues is available at
        vancouver2010.com/guide.

    -   Visit travelsmart2010.ca for information on transportation changes
        and options to help you get around.
    

SOURCE VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: VANOC Communications, Tel: (604) 403-1611, mediarelations@vancouver2010.com; City of Vancouver, Corporate Communications, (604) 871-6336, media@vancouver.ca; Jessica Delaney, Resort Municipality of Whistler, (604) 935-8104, jdelaney@whistler.ca; Ken Hardie, TransLink, (604) 453-4606; Joanna Morton, BC Transit, (250) 995-5720, joanna_morton@bctransit.com; Dave Crebo, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, (250) 387-7787; V2010 ISU Public Affairs, (604) 247-8600; Transport Canada Communications, Pacific Region, (604) 666-1675; Brent Dozzi, District of West Vancouver, (604) 925-7157; Diana Waltmann, City of Richmond, (604) 204-8664, dwaltmann@richmond.ca

Organization Profile

VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

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