Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Vancouver Becomes a Transit City for 17 Days

with 2 comments

I wasn’t here. So I am not going to comment on what happened. But I think you should read John Calimente’s article in re:place Magazine.

My thought is now that we have shown that it can be done – why does it have to be confined to a two week sports festival? The biggest reason of course is money. There was a lot more capacity on the system. The photo the magazine chose to go with the article is of the the line up of the special VANOC buses – which were not – as I understand it – available to the public, so I do not think they count towards the additional transit. But that’s a nitpick.

The lane closures – and street closures – are also really important. Obviously there is more capacity than needed for single occupant vehicles, and when you start thinking about moving people, not cars, this is the sort of thing that is needed. Of course the same people who oppose any reduction in car movements are the same people leading the charge for the Olympics. They will now revert to type – and use the “well, that was different” argument. No, not really. Venues were spread about the city just as employment, schools and post secondary institutions are. There was an exodus (I was part of that) but that was compensated by the increase in visitors. Spread more through the day – but we could do a lot more about flexible work hours.

But it seems to me that the reported satisfaction with the Olympics needs to be retained in the future. The legacy ought not to be just the medals and the odd sports facility. It should be to a more livable city – where getting around is easier and fun. All the time. Which means we need a lot more transit service. Of all kinds.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 1, 2010 at 10:37 am

Posted in transit

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  1. While I can understand the urge to leave Vancouver for the duration of the Olympics (and least one of my coworkers did just that)…. those that did so deprived themselves of a two-week once-in-a-lifetime experience… even if you were like me an only went downtown three or four times..

    Other David

    April 1, 2010 at 11:39 pm

  2. Thanks for the link, Stephen. I couldn’t agree more with the article. Transport during the Olympics was fabulous. Transit service levels were such that people who normally wouldn’t consider it an option felt compelled to give it a try and were pleasantly surprised. On a personal level, my parents in Maple Ridge took the WCE in several times when normal service would not have been possible. They still talk about what a wonderful experience the train ride was, and how much more time they would spend in the city if only it were always so easy to get there.

    The icing on the cake was that those who still needed to drive found it less busy. That means (in theory, at least) less idling and fewer accidents, both of which are absolutely fantastic results. I know some people (yourself included, Stephen) believe strongly in closing roads so as to make transit more appealing in a relative sense. I must say that I find the carrot (better transit) to be a far better solution than the stick (worsened traffic), though of course costs need to be considered.

    At any rate, I think that even though nothing will change immediately, a few of the seeds that were planted in Feburary are going make a difference in the future.


    April 2, 2010 at 1:12 am

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