The Times of London got their hands on the proposed transport plan for the 2012 Olympics:

Olympics chiefs set to ban all car travel
The team organising the London Olympics in 2012 is adopting the most aggressive anticar policy ever applied to a major event in an attempt to deliver a permanent shift in people’s travel habits. The eight million spectators will be banned from travelling by car and forced to take public transport, walk or cycle….
All spectators travelling to an event in London will receive a free all-zones travelcard. Those from outside London will be able to buy discounted, flat-rate rail tickets from any station to the capital.
In an interview with The Times, Hugh Sumner, the ODA transport director, said: “We have a very aggressive programme to make it the greenest games in modern times. We want to leave both a hard legacy in terms of infrastructure and a living legacy in the way people think about transport and about how they travel to sports and cultural events.”

Vancouver’s legacy (in addition to the Canada Line) is just the opposite: a major commitment to highway construction to ensure that you will be able to drive – at least to and through the region.
Downtown, however?  I can’t imagine that anyone will be able to use Expo Boulevard since it actually runs under B.C. Place.  And rumour has it that Robson Street will be closed off to vehicles from the stadium to Denman Street. 
But what happens afterwards?  Do we just return the streets to the cars, pretending that nothing has or will change to our happy-motoring nirvana? 
In truth, things are changing already.  The number of vehicles coming to the downtown peninsula continues to decline:
Vehicles to CBD
What this chart shows is that the number of vehicles entering the central business district has declined by 7 percent over the last ten years, even as the number of trips by all modes has increased by 22 percent.
That’s so counter-intuitive, given the growth on the peninsula, that people don’t really appreciate the change.  It’s also the reason why we’ve been able to remove so much lane space for the construction of new buildings and the Canada Line on Granville and Davie without gridlock catastrophe.
The downward slope in that chart is likely to continue, particularly given the change from cars to transit that will occur with the opening of the Canada Line. 
Just as Expo introduced Vancouver to the pleasures of urbanity when properly done, so will the Olympics offer another opportunity to change the use of our public spaces after the games are over.  It’s another way we can take advantage of the investment in both the celebration and the investment. In fact, if Council doesn’t plan now to reallocate road space in the post-Olympic period, it will lose a critical moment of opportunity – and the real benefit that comes with our billion-dollar subway.
Even better, it won’t be embarrassed when London shows how it should have been done.


  1. here’s a question…
    how can there be a difference between inbound and outbound traffic in the CBD? i would imagine all trips would be round trips. more inbound trips would mean an accumulation of vehicles.

  2. I’m particularly disappointed that Cambie St. will be put back with mostly the same configuration it had before a subway line went underneath it…. what a lost opportunity to create an amazing new kind of street with generous separated bike lines. If we’re removing thousands of cars from the streets (the reason for RAV), why does Cambie St. need the same capacity post-RAV as pre-RAV?

  3. Here’s a link to some of the City’s proposed changes – dated October 2006 – to the Cambie Corridor following the completion of the Canada Line. The installation of a planted median and pedestrian bulges in the Cambie Village means that there will be curbside parking at all times.
    Lengthening of the northbound to westbound left turn bay at West 10th Avenue,
    ii. Realignment of curbs and provision of a planted median from West 14th Avenue to West 17th Avenue
    iii. Installation of pedestrian bulges at the following locations:
    a) Southeast corner of Cambie Street and West 18th Avenue
    b) Northwest corner of Cambie Street and West 17th Avenue
    c) Southeast corner of Cambie Street and West 17th Avenue
    iv. Elimination of the northbound to eastbound right turn channel and island at King Edward Avenue.
    There is also widening of the roadway in places to accommodate cycle lanes.

  4. Sorry, just realized from the diagrams at the City’s site that those bulges are across the side streets, not Cambie.

  5. I don’t think enough Council members fully grasp the urgency of global climate change. It’s not about punishing SOV drivers or creating a disincentive to drive, it’s about creating a city that encourages walking, cycling and transit use.

  6. Hopefully there’ll be more densification around the new Canada Line stations than there has been around the Expo Line Skytrain stations – but I figure the nimbys will trounce any hope of that.

  7. Maybe now that someone else has announced that they’re going to try an “aggressive anti-car policy” we can try it, too. Lord knows we’d never have the guts to try something unprecedented or original.

  8. WRT the Olympics, I recall that the plan has always been to ban private cars from the Sea to Sky Highway – at least during the rush hours.
    As for Oakridge – that just follows the City’s current routine of “opportunistic” planning – densifying existing large tract parcels without making the hard decision of rezoning the low density single family housing.
    i.e. first it was the light industrial areas like City Gate’s concrete plant site or Joyce’s light industrial area (conveniently located near Skytrain Stations), then the East Fraser Lands (old sawmill sites), the Safeway site at Knight & Kingsway and now the El Dorado Hotel site at Nanaimo and Kingsway.
    So what about the areas around Braodway & Commercial Stations, Nanaimo Station and the dangerously quiet area around 29th Ave. Station?

  9. The chart showing a decline in car traffic in the Vancouver CBD is interesting. Is there a breakdown as between light cars and trucks on the one hand and buses and heavy trucks on the other, and within the first category between single-occupant and multiple-occupant vehicles?
    How would completion of the Gateway projects, especially Port Mann – Highway 1 affect the apparent trend in this chart as one looks outward to, say, 2021?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *