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Feb. 12, 2010

Police in North Vancouver had an early start to their Olympics when a “suspicious package” was discovered at Lonsdale Quay, a major regional transportation hub. You can read more here.

The resulting shift in transportation resources meant a heavier traffic backlog in downtown Vancouver, where several key roads are closed for the duration of the Olympics, and a traffic jam on both bridges from Vancouver to the North Shore.

February 12, 2010
By Paul Dixon

Topics



This is
an example of security having an impact on public safety. In the most immediate
sense, the increase in traffic on the roads slows down first responders. In a
broader context, people are forced to abandon their familiar transportation
routes. Dark, rainy nights with more people forced out on to the streets
increases the chance of pedestrian/vehicle encounters and that leads to a surge in calls for emergency responders.

Besides, the road closures in the downtown core, on-street parking is restricted on a number of arterial roads for the duration of the Games and special transit and
Olympic vehicle-only lanes have been established. VANOC has a fleet of about 4,600 GM
vehicles at its disposal for its employees and volunteers – rolling billboards,
covered in Olympic decals, as they speed by in the dedicated lanes or, as I
experienced last night in downtown Vancouver, run a red light and pass behind
me as I went through the intersection. Crossing the T in reverse as it were. Big
SUV, small driver.

There’s a
story going around that one of VANOC’s high-profile directors has declined the
Cadillac offered him for the Olympic period. He quite prefers his non-GMC vehicle
thank you. Will he be required to put duct tape over the logos of his vehicle,
which has been the fate of logos belonging to non-sponsoring organizations in Olympic venues?

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In
another transportation-related story, VANOC’s transportation sub-contractor has
been forced to replace the leased American transit buses it planned to use as
shuttles to Cypress Bowl in
West Vancouver. While a VANOC spokesman said
that “theoretically” the buses were suitable for the purpose, it quickly became
apparent that many of them were simply not able make it up the 12-kilometre
mountain road. On two consecutive days the Canadian women’s freestyle ski team bus died on the road, leaving team members stranded. What compounds the
situation is that these buses are deemed to be within the “security zone”, as
the passengers are screened prior to boarding. The skiers had to wait on the
disabled bus until a replacement bus arrived and then they were escorted onto
the replacement bus. The bus doors actually have a security seal affixed and if
that seal is broken, then the bus and occupants have to be re-inspected. VANOC
is scrambling to find enough highway coaches to replace the non-performing
transit buses.

If you
are reading this on Friday, I will be downtown to get check out the action and
reaction on the streets of
Vancouver as the city ramps up to the
opening ceremonies at BC Place Stadium.  


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