Vancouver Olympics – Important Services

Vancouver has prepared to deliver the 2010 Winter Games, but Vancouver hospitals are taking their own measures to prevent babies from being born in Olympic-induced traffic chaos.

BC Women’s Hospital said patients and doctors have been informed of alternate routes and times to use during the Games in order for them to make it in to work. Super Bowl-sized crowds are expected to descend on the City for 17 days straight.

Some mothers-to-be may also need to take advantage of an early-labor lounge, which was set up for women who may not be fully dilated but who live some distance from the hospital.

At St. Paul’s Hospital, where parking restrictions will be in effect on many side streets, hospital officials have set up a 30-minute drop-off area for pregnant woman and dialysis patients. It’s on Thurlow Street between Davie and Comox.

That hospital’s spokesman said friends and family members of patients will be allowed to park their cars there for half an hour, and that St. Paul’s also has the capacity to increase the number of beds if needed.

The city has shut down roads and will restrict parking in the downtown core as it gears up for the Winter Games. The event will draw up to 135,000 spectators a day to Vancouver, 58,000 to Whistler and 60,000 per day at other Vancouver celebration sites.

And, all of this is coupled with 10,000 accredited media, 5,500 athletes and a 55,000-member support workforce.

Main thoroughfares, Expo and Pacific Boulevards, between Quebec Street and the Cambie street bridge, have been put behind barricades, making it difficult for some people to get around.

The closure also blocks off the Expo Street access to the downtown Costco, but the downtown store will be open throughout the Games, with curtailed access and hours.

Recently, Renfrew Street — from Dundas to McGill next to the Pacific Coliseum — and Canada Place and Waterfront Road around the Vancouver Convention Centre were blocked off.

Abbott Street and a section of Quebec Street, between Second Avenue and Terminal were also closed earlier this month.

More closures, include a long stretch of Midlothian by the Hillcrest curling venue near Queen Elizabeth Park and River Road from No. 2 Road to Hollybridge Way in Richmond, and the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts.

Meanwhile, extended parking restrictions, some in effect for 24 hours, will be in place along 650 city blocks, starting Thursday, Feb. 4. Another 32 blocks — along streets such as Robson, Granville and Hamilton — will be converted into pedestrian-only corridors from noon to midnight.

The street closures are part of Vancouver’s bid to reduce traffic by 30 per cent ahead of the 2010 Olympic Games, and be prepared to have your car towed by an increased cadre of tow-truck operators if you park where you shouldn’t or are there too long! Parking restrictions WILL be strictly enforced.

More people are using public transportation, as the City hoped they would — especially those using SeaBus and Canada Line. Read more at: Vancouver Public Transportation and Olympic Transportation.

About 120,000 daily riders — up 10,000 from the week earlier — used the Canada Line Feb 4th, he said, while 21,000 used SeaBus. But he noted that while there was a 10 per cent drop in vehicle use during peak hours that day, the city still has more work to do to get people out of their cars in time for the opening ceremonies Feb. 12.

Find out about using public transportation from the concierge at your hotel, online and from brochures at the visitors’ centers.

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