VANCOUVER, Feb. 9 /CNW/ - The final elements of the City of Vancouver's transportation management plan for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games are going into effect this week, including pedestrian corridors, rolling road closures for the torch relay and temporary street and bridge closures related to the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday and Friday.
To help reduce vehicle traffic by at least 30 per cent for the Olympic Winter Games period, commuters, delivery drivers and residents are strongly encouraged to leave their vehicle at home and put their personal Games-time travel plan into action, starting on Wednesday and continuing until March 1.
Significant transportation changes in effect this week:
- The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay arrives in the downtown on
February 12 with rolling road closures of between 10 and 20 minutes
occurring between 6:00 am and 2:00 pm.
- Cambie Street Bridge and Beatty Street (between Smithe and Georgia)
will temporarily close between noon and midnight on
February 10 and 12 but will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.
- On February 12, an estimated 100,000 spectators, visitors, reporters
and TV crews, volunteers, and performers are expected to fill the
city's downtown core for the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
- Allow for more travel time. Wait times on public transit out of the
downtown in the afternoon peak of 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm will be longer
- There will also be significant motorcoach activity on many downtown
streets between noon and midnight on February 10 and 12.
- Pedestrian corridors start on February 12 and will operate until
February 28 on streets such as Granville and Robson. The streets will
operate as usual in the morning rush period up until noon when some
or all of the road space will become pedestrian only areas until
On Thursday, the Sea to Sky checkpoint goes into effect on Highway 99, leading from Vancouver to Whistler to manage traffic volume into and through Whistler. The checkpoint is located on the highway just north of Squamish near the Alice Lake turnoff. It will operate from February 11 to 28 during the peak hours of 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. Vehicles will need a permit to pass through the checkpoint.
Visitors to Whistler are encouraged to book with a commercial motorcoach to get there. A list of carriers is available at www.travelsmart2010.ca. A reminder that Squamish-based transport services are requiring proof of residency checks to ensure services are prioritized to Squamish residents and their guests.
"In just three days, the Games will finally be here after years of careful planning and building public excitement. We know we can give the world a fantastic experience at Canada's Games and a great welcoming impression of the Host Region if everyone pulls together and does their part by travelling smart, knowing before they go and leaving their vehicle at home," Terry Wright, executive vice president of services and Games operations of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), said on behalf of the Olympic and Paralympic Transportation Team (OPTT).
"Clearly with the viaduct closures last Friday and the final week of the TravelSmart 2010 Challenge, everyone has stepped up to further reduce their vehicle trips into the downtown, especially during peak periods," said Penny Ballem, city manager, City of Vancouver. "However, with tens of thousands of extra people arriving this week for the Opening Ceremony and the torch relay, and the temporary closure of the Cambie Bridge to vehicles between noon and midnight on February 10 and 12, we need even more people to take transit, walk or cycle to come downtown and celebrate the kick-off of the 2010 Winter Games."
How are we doing?
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 (February 5), the first day two major downtown Vancouver routes (Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts) closed to the public, the overall number of drivers travelling in the downtown was 11 per cent below normal levels. This represents close to three times the vehicle reduction figure from the previous week (four per cent on January 29).
Commuters are also heeding the TravelSmart message and avoiding peak travel times into downtown Vancouver between 7:00 am and 9:00 am, as well 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm. During the morning and evening rush hours last Friday 22 per cent fewer drivers drove downtown.
Record numbers of commuters continue to take public transit or sustainable modes of transportation. On February 5, there were 135,000 trips on the Canada Line - a new high for ridership numbers since the rapid transit line opened last August. There were also 21,000 trips on the SeaBus. On the same day, 3,200 cyclists rode into downtown Vancouver across the Burrard, Cambie and Granville bridges, compared to 2,900 on January 29.
On Saturday, February 6, there was also record ridership on The Olympic Line - Vancouver's 2010 Streetcar with over 15,000 trips.
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.
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.
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 Contacts: VANOC Communications, Tel: (604) 403-1611, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; City of Vancouver, Corporate Communications, Tel: (604) 871-6336