Olympic road closures start in November
Olympic officials plan to start restricting traffic for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver as early as Nov. 1 to prepare the city for the international event in February, with further closures rolling out right up to the opening night of the Games.
VANOC officials released an update to the Olympic and Paralympic transportation plans Wednesday morning in Vancouver, detailing when many of the street closures come into effect.
A large part of the success of the plan hinges on convincing locals they need to switch to public transportation and avoid travelling through Olympic areas during peak hours in the weeks leading up to the Games.
"We need everyone to think of ways to reduce vehicle traffic into downtown Vancouver, on the Lions Gate and Iron Workers Memorial Second Narrows bridges, on the Sea to Sky Highway, and in Whistler by at least 30 per cent," said Terry Wright, VANOC's executive vice-president of services and Games operations.
Avoid peak hours, officials advise
"The best way to get where you need to go and avoid delays is by planning ahead, avoiding peak travel times and knowing your transportation options now before you step out the door in February 2010," said Wright.
In Vancouver, that means, whenever possible, travelling into the downtown area before 7 a.m. PT or after 9 a.m. and leaving by 2 p.m. or after 7 p.m., said officials.
"Also, keep in mind the easiest way to get around will be public transit, which will increase greatly with more buses and trains and enhanced hours of service, as well other sustainable modes such as walking and cycling," said Wright.
Closures start at Olympic Village
On Nov. 1, the first closure will restrict vehicle and foot traffic around the Olympic Village, including on the seawall walkway on the south side of False Creek and on 1st Avenue.
The following streets will be closed to vehicles starting in January, but those who live or work in these areas will continue to have access to their homes or workplaces, according to officials:
- Quebec Street, between Terminal Street and 2nd Avenue, from Jan. 15 to March 25.
- Renfrew Street, between Hastings Street and McGill Street, from Jan. 24 to March 1.
- Canada Place and Waterfront Road from Jan. 27 to Feb. 28.
- Quebec Street southbound only, between Keefer Street and Terminal Street, from Jan. 29 to March 2.
- Expo and Pacific Boulevards, between Nelson Street and Quebec Street, from Jan. 29 to March 2.
- Midlothian Avenue, between Dinmont Avenue and Ontario Street, from Feb. 1 to March 2.
- Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts from Feb. 5 to March 2.
Pedestrian only areas
A number of roads that connect venues and celebration sites will be closed to vehicles from noon to midnight, between Feb. 12 to 28 in order to turn them into pedestrian corridors complete with street lighting, banners, and street vendors.
- Granville Street between Smithe Street and Cordova Street.
- Robson Street between Bute Street and Beatty Street.
- The Hamilton/Mainland corridor between David Lam Park and Georgia Street.
- Beatty Street between Smithe Street and Dunsmuir Street.
There will be 24-hour on-street parking and stopping restrictions on many streets in Vancouver between Feb. 4 to March 1, and there will be no parking at 2010 Olympic and Paralympic venues.
Whistler and Cypress access restricted
On Feb. 11, a roadblock will be set up north of Squamish at Alice Lake on the Sea to Sky Highway connecting Vancouver and Whistler from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and anyone driving in Whistler should allow extra time for travel delays, according officials.
Special permits will be issued for residents and businesses to access the highway north of the roadblock during the daytime hours.
Whistler residents will receive checkpoint permits in the mail starting in November, and a limited number of Whistler residents will receive local vehicle permits to ensure access to otherwise restricted venue areas, said officials.
Other Sea to Sky area residents requiring Sea to Sky checkpoint permits will be able to get them from permit offices in Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler or Pemberton, beginning Dec. 1.
Cypress Mountain resort, located in the district of West Vancouver and the venue for freestyle and snowboard competition events, will have restricted access to the mountain during the Games, with spectator travel provided by the Olympic bus network operated by VANOC.