Vancouver Olympics – Alert 5

Olympic road closures, bus route changes hit city this past Monday, and the students at University of British Columbia will be hit hard with lots of changes and road closures, too.

As Vancouver, BC ramps-up to host the world for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, in less than 2 weeks, the changes to the bus system are now reality. Although this has been announced since last August, many commuters, and their employers, may not realize all the havoc, especially once the visitors are also needing to ride the system.

All the careful work to include bus numbers and routes on some destinations in my posts, need to be re-checked now.

Generally, the changes are described as:
___ there is now rerouting of 18 bus routes and three new road closures

The road closures now affect Renfrew from Dundas to Hastings; Midlothian Avenue between Ontario and Yukon Streets; and Ontario Street between East 29th and East 33rd Avenues, so check your maps to see if they affect you and your hotel.

___ Transit users, especially University of B.C. students, will be heavily affected by the new, changed bus routes, as well as Olympic visitors for some hockey venues.

Seven of the 18 reroutes affect major arteries into the University, because it is the host Olympic venue for Olympic women’s hockey and the Paralympic venue for sledge hockey.

One of the university’s main roads, Wesbrook Mall, will close on Thursday this week, but before that, buses will be rerouted. The Mall is being closed to accommodate the security zone and to aid thousands of event-goers who will be walking from the UBC bus loop to Thunderbird Arena. (There will be increased community shuttle services to help accommodate mobility-impaired students and residents — as they travel the extra distance to the bus loop.)

___ As usual, the TransLink metro transportation group has a website showcasing the changes for Vancouverites and visitors. So, use it to get acquainted before you even come to the City. Vancouver TransLink bus information and also Schedules and TransLink Maps

___ Transit in downtown Vancouver will also see major changes.

For example: “The bottom line is anything that goes along Robson Street is being routed off Robson Street or anything that is going around that whole Granville Mall pedestrian area,” said TransLink’s Drew Snider.

The 5 Downtown/Robson and 6 Davie/Downtown have been taken off Robson and the 15/N15 Cambie/Downtown have been rerouted onto Richards. Other community routes have been affected.

___ SkyTrain Expo and Millennium Lines

Between February 12 and 28, the Expo and Millenium SkyTrain lines will operate on the Monday–Friday schedule for seven days a week – i.e. from 5 a.m. to 2:15 a.m. the following morning.

The Canada Line schedule is unchanged, with trains operating between 4:50 a.m. to 1:15 a.m. the following morning.

___ SeaBus

From February 8 to 28, the SeaBus will run from 6 a.m. to 2:15 a.m. seven days a week. Ferries will depart every 10 minutes from 10 a.m. to midnight.

___ NightBus service

There will be seven night buses in operation 24 hours a day during the Olympics. They are:

* N9 Coquitlam Centre
* N10 Granville
* N15 Cambie
* N17 Broadway to UBC
* N19 Surrey Central
* N24 North Shore
* N35 SFU via Hastings

The last trips for the N6 West End, N8 Fraser, N16 Renfrew, N20 Victoria, and N22 Macdonald will leave downtown at 3 a.m.

___ Commuters should plan extra time for their trips – even 1 -2 hours! If you’ve left home and need to know when the bus will arrive, then get the times for the next buses, at any transit stop, by texting the five-digit number on the bus stop’s sign to 33333.

Also check out Olympic transportation planner where you can plan your entire Olympic-time transit experience (no matter where in the Lower Mainland you are headed).

___ If you are driving into Vancouver, be aware that there will be more changes as the week progresses. Most importantly, the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts will be closed at the end of the week.

___ Also, designated Olympic lanes will be closed to unauthorized vehicles starting this Thursday, February 5th. The right-hand Olympics-only lanes will be open for TransLink buses and Olympic-accredited vehicle travel only—the lanes will be in effect between February 4 and March 1. These lanes operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The opening of those Olympic lanes also marks the beginning of new no-stopping and parking restrictions. Unauthorized drivers caught driving in Olympic lanes or in no-stopping zones will be fined $100, plus then have to pay to redeem their vehicle from an automatic tow.

The locations of these Olympic lanes are:

* Burrard – between the Burrard Bridge and Pender
* Seymour – between the Granville Bridge and Hastings
* Howe – between Hastings and the Granville Bridge
* Pender – between Cambie and Howe
* Cambie – between the Cambie Bridge to 59th Ave.
* Broadway – between Arbutus and Commercial Drive
* Georgia – between Richards and the Stanley Park Causeway
* Hastings – from Seymour to Boundary

___ Also, be aware that security and policing forces are being brought from all over Canada, so get to the tourist kiosks and to sites online to familiarize yourself, as there will be many different uniforms. You need to know if someone is legitimate or not, if they are ordering you around!

The Ontario Provincial Police uniform or a Sûreté du Québec uniform from Québec are two groups now involved with Vancouver security.

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