This week's challenge: reduce downtown vehicle traffic by 25 per cent
VANCOUVER, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - Two major downtown Vancouver routes will close on Friday as the final phases of the city's transportation management plan are implemented to respond to traffic demands for the official opening of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games on February 12.
With nine days to go, Games-related traffic is continuing to grow in Vancouver as the world starts to arrive for the Games, including tens of thousands of media, athletes and officials. To carry them to and from their destinations, hundreds of motorcoaches and fleet vehicles are now in operation at the Main Media Centre along the city's waterfront and at Games venues.
To help reduce Games-time vehicle traffic in the city by at least 30 per cent, commuters, delivery drivers and residents are invited to take part in this week's TravelSmart 2010 Challenge. The challenge helps prepare everyone ahead of time to manage road closures and significantly reduced on-street public parking.
Significant changes in effect this week:
- Olympic lanes and parking/stopping restrictions begin in Vancouver on
Thursday, February 4 - coinciding with the beginning of athlete
training at the venues
- Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts close on Friday, February 5
- Temporary truck routes now in effect in Vancouver
- Deliveries permitted in downtown 24 hours a day, however the
preferred hours are midnight to 6:00 am
- Midlothian Avenue now closed (near the Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic
Centre at Hillcrest Park)
This Friday's vehicle traffic reduction goal is 25 per cent. The overall vehicle traffic reduction goal is at least a 30 per cent reduction by February 12 and throughout the Games
In Whistler, day lots are no longer available for public parking and vehicle permits will be required to travel north of Squamish as of February 11 between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm. Travellers are encouraged to book with a commercial motorcoach to get to Whistler. A list of carriers is available at www.travelsmart2010.ca. Service enhancements have also been put in place for Squamish residents. Residency tests will be applied for access to these enhancements.
The TravelSmart 2010 Challenge promotes incremental reductions in vehicle traffic as phased-in road closures go into effect in Vancouver on each Friday leading up to the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
How are we doing?
"We're moving in the right direction every week with this challenge and we need even more people to leave their vehicles at home and 'know before they go.' We only have nine days left before the Games are here. To ensure travel success next week and for the rest of the month, we need people to step up and plan ahead so they won't be disappointed or surprised," said Terry Wright, executive vice president, services and Games operations for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).
"There are lots of travel options for commuters and residents and there's never been more transit service operating for extended hours. If we all work together, Vancouver and the world will have a great Games experience here in 2010," added Wright. "This may mean taking public transit or cycling to the office. Teleworking or changing work hours to avoid the Games-time peak travel times into downtown Vancouver between 7:00 am to 9:00 am and 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm are also great options."
To track the progress of the challenge in reducing vehicle traffic on an incremental basis, the City of Vancouver is conducting data monitoring on behalf of the Olympic and Paralympic Transportation Team (OPTT) each Friday and reporting on the vehicle traffic reduction results publicly the following week.
Last Friday, the overall number of drivers travelling in the downtown was four per cent below normal levels (compared to one per cent on January 22 and four per cent on January 15).
A high number of commuters took public transit or sustainable modes of transportation. There were 122,000 trips on the Canada Line - one of the highest ridership numbers since the new rapid transit line opened last August. There were also 20,000 trips on the SeaBus indicating continued high transit usage in Vancouver. On the same day, 2,900 cyclists rode into downtown Vancouver across the Burrard, Cambie and Granville bridges.
Commuters are also heeding the TravelSmart message and are avoiding peak travel times into downtown Vancouver between 7:00 am and 9:00 am, as well 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
To date, more than 250 companies have signed up and shared their Games-time travel plans for their employees and deliveries with the OPTT. These organizations will be recognized in full-page ads in The Vancouver Sun and The Province on February 6 and 7.
These organizations were also entered in weekly draws leading up to the Games for a chance to win 50 tickets to nightly Victory Ceremonies at BC Place, where Olympic athletes will stand on the podium to receive their medals and top Canadian entertainment will rock the crowd. This week's companies that won sets of 50 tickets each are: SAP Canada and Mindfield Group. For more information on how to build a Games-time travel plan, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safety Reminder for Pedestrians and Drivers:
In light of recent road closures for vehicle traffic as part of the Games integrated transportation plan, the OPTT is reminding the general public to take extra care in their travels, no matter what mode of transport they choose.
Vehicles and cyclists are reminded to slow down, be prepared for new traffic measures and drive with extra care given changes to the road network and the increase in foot traffic in the downtown core.
Closed roadways may still be used by venue traffic therefore pedestrians should stay off roadways and remain on safe, dedicated pedestrian routes such as sidewalks, seaside paths and specially designated Games-time pedestrian corridors.
Important reminders on how to TravelSmart:
For the most up-to-date transportation information available now and during the Games, visit www.travelsmart2010.ca. The website portal directs users to the appropriate OPTT member website for the information they are seeking, such as the City of Vancouver, Resort Municipality of Whistler, TransLink, BC Transit, or VANOC.
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.
VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.
SOURCE VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES
For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Andrea Manchon, VANOC Communications, Tel: (778) 227-5964, E-mail: email@example.com; City of Vancouver, Corporate Communications, (604) 871-6336