Olympic Transportation Plan Creates Sustainable Legacy for Vancouver

Vancouver’s Olympic transportation plan has been a clear winner for Vancouver, and has created long-term sustainable transportation legacies for the city, Mayor Gregor Robertson said today.

The expanded capacity provided during the games has allowed the transit system to operate at unprecedented levels — on the Canada Line alone, the peak increase is three times higher than pre-game levels — with higher daily ridership figures than other major cities in North America. The public has responded to these investments, setting new records for transit, walking and cycling. This demonstrates that if convenient alternatives to vehicle travel are available, people will respond accordingly.

“Vancouver’s Olympic transportation plan is a wonderful achievement we can all be proud of,” said Mayor Robertson. “The moves citizens have made to sustainable transportation are ones we hope will be lasting legacies after the Games. Cities often run campaigns over many years to achieve these kinds of results — what we have achieved in such a short time is remarkable. Our next task is to encourage people to stay out of their cars when the Games end, and continue to choose better ways of getting around.”

Vancouver’s Olympic Transportation plan was developed and implemented in partnership with VANOC, Translink, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, BC Transit, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit. Planning was also supported by other partners including Transport Canada and the municipalities of Richmond and West Vancouver.

By almost every indicator, the plan has been an unqualified success. During the first week of the 2010 Winter Games, Vancouver saw record numbers of people walking, cycling and taking transit. The Canada Line reached a peak of almost 290,000 riders on Friday, February 19, the SeaBus had almost 60,000 boardings on the same day, and the Olympic Streetcar Line had almost 25,000 trips. Robertson said the huge numbers of people taking public transit shows there is significant demand for it.

“Vancouver residents and businesses want to be greener and lead more sustainable lives. We’ve shown that if you build it, they will come,” said Mayor Robertson. “Many people in Metro Vancouver are using sustainable modes of travel for the first time during the 2010 Winter Games, and we hope they’ll continue to help us permanently get more cars off of Vancouver roads.”

Other Key indicators of success include:

Vancouver achieved its 30 per cent vehicle trip reduction target into Downtown for the Opening Ceremony on February 12.

Cyclist volumes across the Cambie, Granville and Burrard bridges are approaching summertime levels with an average of 5,000 cyclists riding to and from Downtown Vancouver every day. Over 10,000 pedestrians are also coming into and out of Downtown Vancouver over the Burrard and Cambie bridges each day.

The Olympic Line - Vancouver's 2010 Streetcar is regularly achieving ridership of over 20,000 trips per day , making the two-station service already busier than established modern streetcar networks in Seattle and Portland. On February 18, the streetcar service achieved a milestone of 300,000 total trips, with the demonstration project still continuing to provide service until the end of the Paralympic Winter Games on March 21.

The City of Vancouver is providing safe and convenient bike parking and free bike valet services  near Olympic and Paralympic venues, LiveCity celebration sites and at the Olympic Village station of the Olympic Line streetcar. Use of bike parking has increased every day for the first week of the Games.

“Long-term, sustainable funding from other levels of government for transit and transportation network improvements will be critical to continuing the success we’ve had during the Games,” Robertson added.

“I’d like to thank Vancouver residents, businesses and Metro Vancouver citizens for reducing vehicle trips during the 2010 Winter Games. This is a win for Vancouver that we’ve all helped to create. We need to continue to work together to reduce vehicle trips for the reset of the week, especially during the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, and continue to create a lasting transportation legacy for the City of Vancouver.”

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