Numerous road closures for March 12 opening of 2010 Paralympic Winter Games;
tips for travelling to/from Paralympic events with ease

VANCOUVER, March 10 /CNW/ - The Olympic and Paralympic Transportation Team (OPTT) today reminded Metro Vancouver and the Sea to Sky residents of the substantial numerous road closures that will be in place to support the end of the Paralympic Torch Relay and Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in downtown Vancouver. The OPTT also reminded those planning to attend Paralympic events that by travelling smart and 'knowing before you go' using readily available online maps, advice and travel tips, going to and from the venues can be done with ease.

Paralympic Torch relay March 11 and 12

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, Howe, Granville and Bute. Other cross streets will remain open with rolling intermittent road closures as the torch runs past. Residents and businesses are encouraged to come out and cheer on the torch and celebrate the Paralympic Winter Games, but to use alternate modes of transportation and/or find alternate routes around the Robson Square area for March 11 and 12.

Opening Ceremony March 12

The following temporary road closures will be in place in downtown Vancouver to facilitate the flow of traffic and pedestrians and support the safe staging of the Paralympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony at BC Place:

    
    -   Georgia viaduct will be closed March 12 between 10 am and midnight
    -   Cambie Bridge will be closed to vehicles between 10 am and midnight
        on March 12
    -   Portions of Beatty Street and Robson Street will be closed between
        10 am and midnight on March 12
    -   Quebec Street will be closed southbound from Keefer Street to Pacific
        Boulevard between 10 am and midnight on March 12
    -   Expo and Pacific Boulevards will remain closed until March 16
    

Temporary pedestrian corridors will also be in effect on March 12 between noon and midnight, so vehicle access will be limited on the following streets:

    
    -   Expo Boulevard (Nelson Street to Smithe Street)
    -   Georgia Street (Hamilton Street to Cambie Street, northbound only)
    -   Granville Street (Smithe Street to Hastings Street)
    -   Hamilton Street (Smithe Street to Georgia Street, northbound only)
    -   Robson Street (Burrard Street to Hamilton Street)
    -   Smithe Street (Hamilton Street to Expo Boulevard)
    

In addition, temporary parking and stopping restrictions will continue to be in effect through to March 21, 2010 on local streets surrounding Paralympic Winter Games venues.

Maps outlining the changes for the March 12 Opening Ceremony and the duration of the Paralympic Winter Games are available on the Host City website, accessed via travelsmart2010.ca.

Getting to Paralympic events

There is no spectator parking at Paralympic venues, but a Paralympic event ticket includes access to public transit for the day of the event. Plan ahead and use the trip planner at travelsmart2010.ca to reach the Vancouver venues.

For smoother entry to BC Place, spectators attending the Opening Ceremony are encouraged to access the venue from the east. Pedestrian screening areas are located off Carrall Street. Visit vancouver2010.com/guide to see a map of the venue area.

To reach the Whistler venues, ticket holders can use one of two park and ride facilities near the Callaghan Valley Road and Highway 99. From there, complimentary shuttle service is provided to the two Whistler Paralympic competition venues. Ticket holders do not need to book a seat on the shuttles.

    
    -   Whistler Creekside: park and ride is located at the base of the
        Callaghan Valley Road, just off Highway 99
    -   Whistler Paralympic Park: park and ride is located a few hundred
        metres up the Callaghan Valley Road after the turn-off from
        Highway 99
    

For those attending events at Whistler Medals Plaza, including the Closing Ceremony of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, some public parking will be available in Whistler, so you may choose to drive. A more sustainable alternative is to take a commercial motorcoach service from the Metro Vancouver area. The Vancouver-Whistler route is well-served by several companies - visit travelsmart2010.ca for a list of carriers.

Within Whistler, spectators and other visitors are encouraged to take transit. 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. Paralympic event tickets include access to public transit in Whistler on the day of the event.

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

Accessibility information

The public transportation systems in both Metro Vancouver (TransLink) and Whistler (BC Transit) are 100% accessible.

Consult the spectator guide for venue maps and directions. Each venue has accessible options for persons with different mobility challenges. Visit the spectator guide at vancouver2010.com/guide to find out more about the options available, including accessible drop off locations close to each venue entry, as well as accessible routes from transit stations.

For the Opening Ceremony on March 12, a special accessible shuttle will be in place that will pick up on Davie Street, opposite Yaletown SkyTrain Station (Canada Line), and drop off on Pacific Boulevard near BC Place. The shuttle runs from 4:00 pm to 10:30 pm. If arriving on the Expo/Millenium Line, spectators can disembark at Stadium Station and take the elevator up to the top level. From there, take the Costco elevator down to Expo Boulevard and proceed to the spectator entry.

Spectators are encouraged to consider the full length of the trip - from door to gate - and may wish to add in a rest stop or two and/or rent a wheelchair, scooter or other electric cart to assist in getting from the transit stop(s) to the venue gates. Many rental companies in Metro Vancouver offer daily or weekly rentals including pick up and delivery for as little as $20/day. Once at the gates, VANOC staff are available to assist spectators in reaching their seats.

For spectators with accessible tickets to Whistler events, a limited number of accessible parking spaces is available at the park and rides. To request an accessible parking space to access the venue via wheelchair, please email: Accessibleparkingwhistler@paralympic.vancouver2010.com

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.

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

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VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

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