Olympic Transit success leads to new possibilities

With the Winter Olympics almost over, many news outlets are raving about how transit has handled record crowds and how quiet the streets have been.  CityCaucus.com‘s Daniel wrote about how thin traffic has been.  Anyone who has been doing their regular commute in from the burbs has noticed how quick their commutes have been.  It’s been a combination of people using transit and people skipping town during these two weeks.

It’s been so good in terms of traffic flow, that Councilor Geoff Meggs is encouraged in his view of tearing down the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts in favour of smaller local streets.  The Vancouver Sun covers Meggs’ proposal and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association’s call for Granville to be pedestrian only on weekends and for large festivals.  Certainly, even before the Olympics rolled into town, people and entertainers would congregate in the closed off areas around Robson and Granville.

In my personal experience, I have really enjoyed the Olympic Lanes along Broadway.  The Olympic Lane runs all the way from Arbutus in the west to Commercial Drive in the east.  It’s really helped in the middle of the day and in the evening to have these dedicated lanes by-pass any regular traffic.  I often get off work after 6pm and grabbing the 99 B-Line with the Olympic Lane in effect can easily shave off 5 minutes on my ride.

My personal hope would be that the Olympic Lanes can become full-time bus lanes along Broadway.  It’s really made the B-Line a much better ride with less lane changes needed.

The other huge transit plus during the Olympics has been the Olympic Line.  I still continue to hear people complain about how much money the city has spent on having the two streetcars up and running.  However, I’m looking at the city’s spending as an investment in a possible future infrastructure.  It’s unfortunate that we must return the streetcars to Brussels.  Now that Vancouver has had a taste of the streetcar, I hope Vancouverites will like the form factor and be more open to the ideas of streetcar lines running down the Arbutus Corridor and from Granville Island to Science World to Waterfront.

For more transit related news from the Winter Games, The Buzzer Blog has a whole post devoted to it.  Lots of articles from out-of-town journalists and bloggers can be found on the page.

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