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Vancouver businesses worry about impact of Olympics traffic plan

March 12th, 2009 · 1 Comment

I did not talk to a huge number of happy people yesterday in getting a response to the Olympics transportation plan. Although business owners in general are supportive of the Olympics and think it will benefit the city overall, they are not thrilled about the impact the Games may have on them individually.

Some I talked to or whom I know in my personal life are thinking of just shutting up shop for the duration. Others that are destination sites are worried that their customers from North Van or Coquitlam or wherever will simply decide not to make any trips into town for the duration. Others are concerned that people will only hear a “Don’t come into the city” message from the Olympics organizers.

You can see my complete story here from the Globe and Mail.

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  • Sharon Townsend

    Vancouver’s 20 Business Improvement Associations have had (albeit limited) opportunity to voice our concerns to VANOC and city staff regarding transportation disruptions. That is more consultation that we get on most other significant road closures. We did not get all that we wanted but what we wanted is to have the games roll into town with zero disruption in the status quo!

    The day Vancouver won the bid, our organization began speculating what the transporation impacts might be. Look to Torino, look to Salt Lake, look to Bejing and being to overlay what happened in those cities onto Vancouver and the outcome is obvious. Nobody needs to be shocked at the plan that was rolled out yesterday.

    ANY disruption to parking and traffic patterns is hard on business. Fireworks, road construction, parades, Indy, Jazz festivals, snow, transit strikes, car free days, street parties… all impact how people get around and the bottom line is that businesses feel it immediately.

    If you do some research you find that Olympic lanes do not consume the entire street. In the case of Broadway, we can anticipate our HOV or curb lanes will remain active 24 hours a day. That leaves 4 lanes left over for everyone else. Not fabulous… but under the circumstances, I am not sure what other options are available.

    I must say, in our case, we were heard in the consultation process and for that I say thank you. (I am not done with them yet) Now the next job in front of us is to insure we make wise decisions about expectations and opportunities during those 3-4 weeks when everything is upside down. Nobody has ever guaranteed us that everyone is going to make millions.

    We have know this was coming for how long? We can plan, we can mitigate, we can leverage and we can be ready. That is a far better opportunity than when it snows for 2 weeks and we did not see it coming.

    At some point we need to come down out of the trees.