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What can Vancouver really learn from the Olympics?

February 26th, 2010 · 49 Comments

There’s a lot of post-op Olympics delirium floating in the air these days, with everyone drunk on the successes and the street parties and the sight of people choosing to come downtown every day dressed in Canadian flag capes. And now, like summer-camp attendees who’ve had a really great week, we’re promising all kinds of things.

Instead of promising that we’re going to stay friends forever and we’ll all get together every year and we’ll all go to each other’s towns for visits, we in Vancouver have gone wild with ideas for how to keep the Olympics spirit going. Let’s shut down Granville Street every weekend! Let’s have a streetcar line! Let’s keep the zipline going at Robson Square! Let’s ditch our cars and take transit forever! Let’s never go back to work and just walk around downtown with our red mitts and Canadian flags painted on our faces forever! Whoo-hoooo!!!

Well, sad but true, we are going to go back to the old Vancouver and then we’ll have to figure out what is really a good idea that can be embedded in the future and what, unfortunately, depends for success on having an international party in the city with 200,000 people a night. As well, one of the things we need to think about is what the Games showed us we’re weak in, what we should have had but didn’t.

I’m sure all of you have great ideas and some more profound than mine, but here are a few thoughts to get the ball rolling.

1. An aboriginal museum downtown. The Four Nations centre at Queen Elizabeth plaza was one of the most successful of the free activities, and the carving centre at the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza was a lovely thing. We don’t have anything like this permanently. I’m just stealing this idea from something I heard Rick Antonson at Tourism Vancouver a long time ago, but the province’s native population — so much more populous and with rich traditions than found elsewhere — should have a home somewhere in our downtown. And keep the food coming.

2. More street food and more sidewalk cafes. I said it at the beginning and I’ll say it again at the end. The emergence of New York or Hong Kong-like crowds made our lack of this kind of thing very apparent. 

Although some media produced cute stories about the Japadogs business, is it not pathetic that all we have for street food is hot dogs? And that the height of creativity is someone putting Japanese condiments on hot dogs? We have one of the world’s most polyglot cities, filled with people making Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, Chinese pork and shrimp dumplings, inventive Japanese ramen soups, South Asian curries and dozens more. Can we really not figure out a way for them to serve some of that in stalls on the street that won’t bring out the health inspectors?  

(And I just got bonged with this excellent article on same from Andrew Pask at Public Spaces.)

And, although it’s a different regulatory issue — sidewalk cafes! Where were those places people could pause from time to time, sit at a table with a beer or coffee and watch the show go by?

The only place I saw that seemed to have those two elements was Mainland Street in Yaletown. There were all kinds of people at the numerous cafe tables on the loading docks, and then booths (including one selling Sanjay’s Indian curries, yay!) on the street below. It wins the award for best small urban space, in my books.

3. More innovations to get people taking transit to events. Much as I’d love to think we’ll all keep piling onto those buses and rapid-transit lines, I fear that we’ll snap back like a rubber band to previous patterns without the Olympics incentives to keep us going. (Though I do think that a couple of places in particular will benefit from the transit boom — Richmond, which thousands of people discovered was easy to get to from downtown, and Yaletown, which turned into a social, hanging-out spot for many visitors and which people from Richmond and south Vancouver now know if only 10 minutes away.)

What were the incentives? A million dollars a day from VANOC to run the system at top capacity, so that you could walk out your door knowing that a bus or SkyTrain car would appear momentarily. Free transit attached to every ticket. And warnings that there was no parking at event sites.  

Is there any way to replicate some of that? Free transit for the day that is incorporated into the price of various kinds of event tickets — a kind of temporary U-Pass? A well-advertised promise of that level of service to the kinds of events that typically draw car-drivers? Removal of parking outside of large venues?

Whatever it is, there needs to be something beyond just a wish and a prayer that the province will grant TransLink more methods to raise money to run a bigger, better system.

There, those are my first three ideas. Thoughts?

Categories: Uncategorized

  • mezzanine

    I like the changes to Granville – with the renovations it has become a dynamic gathering area, esp the 2 blocks from georgia to Smythe. I hope there is a way to keep them pedestian only. That being said, north of georgia seems quiet, and smythe seems to be a natural end-point for pedestrian activity.

  • Derek Weiss

    Commercial Drive already does the sidewalk cafe thing reasonably well…preferences in (sub)culture aside, I find it to be a far more appealing stroll than downtown for that reason alone.

    Perhaps we can get some art from a private collection (Bob Rennie comes to mind) to show on Granville? Or commission some. That seemed to be a hit.

    Has the early talk of leveling the viaducts included any suggestion of having that as public, gathering space?

  • MB

    The draw has to be dynamic, like events (music, Cirque, mass noodle vendor competitions, outdoor fashion shows, outdoor movies, mass street hockey competitions …).

    There’s only so many people who can relate to static but cool street furniture, paving and urban trees. I know cuz I’m one of them.

    I don’t think there’s much help coming from the feds for transit, at least not the current crew occupying the green seats in a much colder, far away city. So it’s a matter of convincing Gordo’s replacement (surely that’s who it will be in a year or two) that greater funding for public transit and culture are investments in the resiliency of society, not frills that waste the public dime.

  • Frank Murphy

    More street food: check out Montreal’s Muvbox
    and Victoria’s Redfish Bluefish

  • It all boils down to critical mass, critical mass.

    You can go pretty well anywhere on a Mexico City (DF 18m v’s Vanc 0.5 M) pesero for two pesos.

    Pesero are the green and white ubiquitous privately, sometime driver, owned passenger mini-buses of some 40/50 capacity.

    They’re all over the place. Miss one: step on the next and you’re there! Perhaps Vancouver rider-ship is too sparse for such innovation and, anyway, the drivers’ union would not be impressed!

    But, boy oh boy, they sure are a convenient way to get around.

    ¡Entonces, actividades de la calle, despues de los juegos!

    I cannot see Granville being anything but Granville! DF had Phillip II’s foresight and wisdom: all we had was the CPR!

    Street activity after the games, I assume means, taco and fast food to go: eat on the run, on the street, sort of thing. Well, although I lived on the stuff for almost two years without tummy ache health-wise they may be a problem: charming as they are!

    Imagine city health bureaucrats on that . . .

    Most of the interesting street activity, indeed most of the unique characteristics we admire when we travel, is derived of necessity.

    When I first began my travels south of the border in the late ’60’s there was nothing like the street activity I see today.

    The popular chi-chi shop, for instance, was an innocuous door in a stone wall identified by a white rag fluttering on a stick: you have to know where to get your fix.

    NAFTA put a lot of small farmers and craftsmen on the street: they are the cute ambulantes we love to photo. But our smiles aren’t enough . . . they have families, they need more.

    Anyway, I cannot imagine Vancouver’s much vaunted real estate moguls slurping their Empanadas aguacate, sticky fingers, on the run . . .

    Yup! A lot of the things we admire as tourists come from long suffering crowded-out locals that I doubt would fly on a Granville street weekend.

  • “More innovations to get people taking transit to events.”

    Issue every Metro Van resident who requests one a swipe card with 30-50 free transit trips on it. Chances are the freebies would be used at different times, alleviating fears of single event over-crowding, and a number of free trips would allow people to utilize transit enough times to grow familiar with routes, scheduling etc, so they have a better appreciation for its efficacy as compared to one-off negative experiences trying to crowd onto a bus for a hockey game, fireworks, etc.

    I don’t think that would be an overly expensive way to effectively market the service. Assuming a 50% success rate with 30 free one zone trips, it would cost around $100 per new customer. That’s a pretty good deal if you can turn a dedicated auto user into even a part-time transit user, especially if that behaviour change lasts for a number of years.

  • Chris

    Brent Toderian’s view is here:

    I think street closures on Granville and in Yaletown will become a more frequent event, especially during special events. Eventually, they’ll become permanent, but the business community doesn’t seem ready for that change yet.

    I’m hoping the success of the Olympic line spurs Translink and the City to fast track that streetcar project.

  • Quatchi

    It would be great if we could keep some of the positivity and have more fun. This city can be full of downers sometimes.

  • gmgw

    Chris says:
    “I’m hoping the success of the Olympic line spurs Translink and the City to fast track that streetcar project.”

    Well, I’m hoping for a cure for cancer and a just peace in the Middle East, myself. Either one is about as likely as unilateral action by City or Translink to fast-track the streetcar project. But in the meantime, Chris, there’s an opportunity for you to get pro-active about this: Just find at least $125 million for the City and Translink to get the ball rolling. If you’re successful, they’ll probably name the thing after you. But until someone does pony up the megabucks, those shiny new rails (that themselves cost $8 million to install) are just going to gather rust.

  • gmgw

    Derek Weiss somewhat naively asked:
    “Has the early talk of leveling the viaducts included any suggestion of having that as public, gathering space?”

    Dream on. Geoff Meggs, whose brainstorm this was, has indicated several times in various public forums that the land would probably be sold or leased for development. After all, there’s money to be made from such a plan, and none from making it a public space. Think of this proposal as another small “thank you” to Concord Pacific for all the wonderful things they’ve done for our city, from their good friends and humble servants at City Hall.

  • Annette F

    I could not agree more about the street food and sidewalk cafes. Not to mention more waterfront dining, so that we can all at least temporarily enjoy the waterfront.
    As I jog along the north False Creek seawall I often cringe at how the entire Concord Pacific development does not have a single true waterfront eatery. The last time that I sat at the cramped sidewalk patio at La Provence, my view of the water was blocked by the site of some woman struggling to parallel park her Lamborghini.

  • Corey

    I think more important than thinking of incentives to keep transit use high after the games are to think of how the disincentives functioned to increase ridership. Sure TransLink had a ton of extra cash to run the system at a high capacity, but my guess about the real impetus that got people on the system was that in their minds they imagined a traffic horror show anywhere around an Olympic event (essentially all of downtown). The thought of no parking, gridlock, and blocked-off streets alone are enough to get people to ride transit, and then combined with the extra buses and trains, things really took off.

    Yes, it would be great to keep this level of service going, but I think the key to our transit success during the games was the perception among most people that taking transit would be more convenient and cheaper than driving. That perception was created through the disincentives I mentioned above, more so, I would argue, than any extra level of service.

  • Corey

    Sorry, my point being that driving in this city is too darn easy compared to taking transit, and for a while the Olympics leveled the playing field! The question now is, how do we keep the field level after the games are over? Obviously the money to fund service increases won’t be forthcoming, but disincentives by and large cost little.

  • Jon Petrie

    I suspect part of the mood in downtown was due to the absence of cars, not just the Olympics.

    A real effective way of encouraging transit use is to make parking expensive/ difficult.

    I suggest no construction under the STIR rules (see left column) should be allowed with ANY private car parking. (Have a few spaces for Coop cars.)

    And I suggest raising permit parking rates by 100% a year for the next few years and not giving permits to those whose addresses are in buildings with on site parking or in the new STIR non-parking buildings.

    Currently it costs in the neighborhood of $30,000 to construct one underground parking space implying circa $200 a month for an economic rent but parking rents in West End residential towers average circa $50 a month. And street permits are circa $69 a year.

    City requirements for parking in new construction and the ludicrously low rates for storage (parking) rights on public property are a huge subsidy for car ownership/ disincentive for enjoying transit.

  • gmgw

    Jon Petrie: “A real effective way of encouraging transit use is to make parking expensive/ difficult…”

    Already accomplished, thanks in part not only to the recent substantial increases in parking lot rates but also to the extension of meters till 10 PM, which is already negatively impacting restaurants, performing arts organizations who do not have performance spaces with attached parking lots, and movie theatres, especially marginal art houses like the VanCity and Pacific Cinematheque, who were already trying to cope with less-than-adequate houses on many nights.

    As for the idea of no private car parking facilities in residential buildings, why not just go a step further and pass legislation forbidding anyone who owns a car from buying or renting an apartment or condo in the West End and Yaletown (for starters)? To be even more effective, the legislation could be enacted retroactively, with forced evictions of all car owners within a given zone (said eviction to be rescinded for anyone who immediately surrenders his or her car to the authorities). A system of appropriately Draconian penalties for violators would have to be devised. I mean, hey; let’s have no half-measures here. These people need to be punished, and punished severely, as an example to others of their kind.

  • Bill Smolick

    > knowing that a bus or SkyTrain car would appear momentarily

    Ha. That’s rich. A bunch of us waited over 20 minutes while buses sat there silent on Howe Street until the Arbutus 16 finally decided to pick us up so I could get home from a show at CBC last night. I waited longer than the length of my ride.

    Not the only night either. After seeing Laurie Anderson it took over half an hour for ANY bus to come. Three “not in service” passed us first.

    TransLink is misery. I should have ridden my bike, but it was raining and frankly the crowds downtown are SO dense that cycling becomes difficult.

  • Rick

    I think that the bulk of the crowds downtown over the Olympics have been us, Lower Mainland folks who’ve come down to check out the buzz with this in mind I think that City Council should put some serious money into local tourism, ie summer festivals, street fairs, etc. Montreal hums all summer long because of great funding for its big summer fetes, San Francisco’s street fairs attract people not only locals but people from across the continent.

    Also I know that people love streetcars, (boys and their trains) BUT can someone please make trolley buses hip among the boys? We’ve got the infrastructure already with some tweeks like green-lighting for trolleys at intersections the articulated trolley buses would be great alternatives to an expensive streetcar project that would have a much smaller impact.

  • A used Olympic spirit does not for good transit make!

    Critical mass does!

    Civic pride does not for good transit make!

    Critical mass makes for good transit!

    If you have a circle of family friends, like MB, you still do not a statistical random sample make!

    . . . 900+ does?

    if you are over 65, bought your home prior to the ’80’s . . .

    if your RRSP is not invested on Wall Street (or worse, Howe Street) . . .

    if your kids have paying jobs, in their own home making enough to pay the rent, and . . .

    if you are 1/1000 sitting on 2.5 htr, enjoying cold bum on wet grass . . . and (mandatory) enjoying the view too . . .

    if your doc allows you to ride your bike (not up the 10th @ Alma hill mind) . . .

    if it is not raining . . .

    if you can avoid the siren call of VANOC mandated Mcdonalds and Coke to live long enough . . .

    if Granville and Mainland are pedestrian-ized weekends . . .

    then . . .

    Vancouver may be a wonderful place to live!

    . . . and get a life . . .

    Cheers Rudyard K . . .

  • Chris

    gmgw – the money is there, it’s just a matter of priorities. If we can find funding for the following projects, we can find money for the street car:
    Port Mann Bridge – 3.3 billion
    South Fraser Perimeter Road – 1 billion
    Olympic Security – 1 billion
    Convention Centre – 883 million

  • Tiktaalik

    I like the idea of an Aboriginal museum downtown. The MoA’s First Nations collection really should be in a downtown venue, not hidden away from tourists all the way at UBC. Unfortunately the MoA has such an incredible building that I can’t imagine any scenario where they would move.

    Perhaps a different approach could be taken. Maybe Vancouver could create a Contemporary BC First Nations Art museum highlighting new works and emerging artists.

    Regarding Granville St closures I am very skeptical. There are people walking around because of the novelty of it, and because there’s a few things to see and do. Without the Olympics I can’t see it being a success. I feel the declining interest with the street closures this summer proved that it’s a bit of a novelty and needs lasting attractions to succeed. The cities that I’ve been to that have pedestrian malls that worked use small tight streets and are usually restaurant focused. They look nothing like Granville.

    I think the crowds however showed that Vancouver really, really needs a public square. Also I think the crowds showed that the natural place for this is at Robson. The problem is though that it’s clear that the square only really works when roads are closed off. I apologize to Arthur Ericsson, but the square is really very badly designed. What we should do is remove the bit of Robson St in front of the art gallery and create a true, lengthly, continuous square. The fact that there are two levels to the thing has never worked and we should really just scrap what is there and rethink the whole thing. Unfortunately we’ve just spent a bunch of money renovating along the existing failed concept so I don’t see that happening.

    Regarding transportation the Olympic line street car was awesome and I’d definitely like to see the full expansion out to Stanley Park as envisioned. As well the viaducts definitely should be removed.

  • gmgw

    Here’s one side effect of the O’s that’s received rather less coverage than others:


  • grumbelschmoll

    $125 million is all we need to extend the streetcar to Stanley Park? That’s nothing, we can scrap the retractable roof for BC Place, thus save $458 million, pay for the streetcar, have $333 million left to pay for an extension to Kerrisdale, maybe even take the streetcar down to Marpole, plus build a thousand units of affordable rental housing and still have some money left to spend.

    Governing is easy once the priorities are in order.

  • All of Granville from Cordova to Davie or even Drake would make a great pedestrian street. The only reason why activity seemed to drop off a bit south of Smithe is because it was not ped only south of Smithe most of the time. On Friday and Saturday nights when they closed it to traffic to Davie, there were tonnes of people in the streets.

    Every time I have been on Granville in the last two weeks, and I have gone at pretty much every time of day, there have been lots of people on the street north until Hastings so I don’t really know what people are talking about when they suggest it is a bit dead north of Georgia or Dunsmuir. Between Hastings and Cordova, for some unknown reason, it was left open to traffic. I only ever saw one or two cars using it the entire week.

  • I can’t help thinking that if *all* the city did was close Granville to traffic, then it would just turn into a dead zone most of the time post-Olympics.

    What I’d really like to see happen there is to make it possible for cafes, food stalls and other kinds of traders to set up shop in the centre of the street. This seems to be the pattern in successful pedestrian promenades in Europe (for example, Frankfurt’s Zeil or Barcelona’s Las Ramblas.) It’ll need to be more than just hotdogs, too.

  • gmgw

    Don’t get all excited. $125 million was the cost being cited more than three years ago (mostly by Dave Rudberg, then City Engineer and the streetcar’s number one proponent at City Hall) merely to extend the streetcar line into Chinatown, the first leg of the proposal. This figure would include not only construction of the roadbed and stations, but also acquisition of rights-of-way where necessary, purchase of rolling stock, changes to existing streets, and more besides. The $125 mill figure is therefore several years out of date. It’s probably closer to $150 million by now. In order to extend the line all the way to Stanley Park you’re probably looking at three times that figure. Or more. And no one’s even begun to calculate what it would cost to extend the thing up the Arbutus Line, which to my mind makes a lot more sense than taking it into Chinatown.

    Keep in mind that these costs are *not* going to go down– or even remain stable. I agree that even $450 million is still less than the cost of the retractable stadium roof, which I personally think is second only to the Olympics as a colossally obscene waste of money that could be put to far more deserving use(s) (health care, anyone??). But if you want to try to convince Gordon Campbell that he ought to re-think his fiscal priorities, by all means go ahead.

    I don’t know why it’s so hard for streetcar enthusiasts, especially in this forum, to understand how very expensive the streetcar proposal would be to bring to full fruition. I guess it must be wishful thinking. I’ve posted these figures more than once in various fora herein and nobody seems to register their significance. Hey! Whatever! All we have to do is just phone Victoria and ask them to cut us a cheque! Uh-huh. Sure. But you can rest assured that without a massive infusion of money from one or both of the senior levels of government– at a difficult economic time, when such a huge expenditure would be politically indefensible in the eyes of the rest of the country– the streetcar proposal is dead in the water for the foreseeable future. Would you like to be the one that has to explain to the Tri-Cities that once again the Evergreen Line is being put on the back burner, this time so that Vancouver can have a streetcar line that would at best constitute only a marginally useful addition to Vancouver’s transportation infrastructure? Thought not.

    (Geoff Meggs, now Council’s point man on the streetcar, has alluded to these challenges in his blog and elsewhere: see for a brief example).

  • Chris

    Can someone explain to me why transit investments are considered “politically indefensible” during “a difficult economic time”, but highway widening and billion-dollar bridges are “economic stimulus” and “job creation programs”.

  • I second Annette F,

    there is a lack of waterfront coffee and restaurant. The problem of the few existing ones is that they are pretty much disconnected of the city retail fares (making them not obvious destination when you come of the urban core)…
    not sure why it is like it…

  • @ Chris . . . “Can someone explain to me why transit investments are considered “politically indefensible” during “a difficult economic time”, but highway widening and billion-dollar bridges are “economic stimulus” and “job creation programs”.” I’ll try . . .

    IMO, our very, very important decision making authorities believe, and rightly so, “highway widening and billion-dollar bridges” are the quick fix and evidently, by our compliance, we agree. With a highly skilled work force supported by very sophisticated technology, a priori has been established for over half a century.

    Bridges and highways provide ephemeral yet repetitive jobs: sort of the gift that keeps on giving. What more evidence do we need than the television commuter traffic reports.

    Such financing, nevertheless, is temporary stimulation for private profit that adds to public debt (in rarified circles it called moral hazard). Which evidently doesn’t matter because John Maynard Keynes said half a century ago . . .”in the end we are all dead”.

    My opinion is, of course, meaningless. However, if it ever took on a public dimension it could become quite interesting.

    Fortunately for the “authorities” Frances provides a fumarole for thee, gmgw, Lewis, Michael, et. al. to harmlessly vent our frustrations and powerlessness.

    Hell, if it wasn’t for Frances and the internet we would probably get so pissed off we would find the courage to “do something”.

    BTW we are always in “a difficult economic time”, and always will be until we are driven to change the system of our fractional reserve money supply that keeps us in perpetual debt bondage. (Hey don’t blame me: I don’t owe a bean to anyone!)

    . . . Capiche?

  • Edward

    Yes to the artists mall!

    Yes to more transit and a more aggressive program to discourage driving into the inner city.

    Maybe yes to more sidewalk cafes. But let’s be realistic. It’s cool and damp here most of the year. More outdoor heating is not good – in fact, the city should consider prohibiting it.

    If we’re going to increase sidewalk cafe space, take the space away from adjacent street parking and traffic, not from pedestrian space on the sidewalk. And put some restrictions on those damn sandwich boards.

  • Edward “Yes to the artists mall!”

    Yes, yes, yes, yes really of course! How could I be so thoughtless?

    All those hot shot realtors will need venues to show their works when Mr. Flahery begins to raise the discount rate.

    What else can they do?

    I never could figure out how a few digits on a screen thousands of miles away can effect my drinking habits . . .

  • “Can someone explain to me why transit investments are considered “politically indefensible” during “a difficult economic time”, but highway widening and billion-dollar bridges are “economic stimulus” and “job creation programs”.”

    From a Vancouver Sun article:
    “The Liberals’ biggest donor was the New Car Dealers Association of B.C., which contributed $229,700 to campaign coffers. The association was also the largest contributor to the party in the lead up to the 2005 election.”

  • A metro-Vancouver-wide UPass system , with everyone receiving one (whether they choose to use it or not), paid for by property taxes and combined with a private-car-free downtown core.

  • zweisystem

    If Vancouver wants a streetcar, don’t let Translink or Vancouver’s Engineering dept. anywhere near the project.

    TransLink hasn’t a clue and Vancouver’s City Engineers just want to gold plate the project to create more work for themselves.

    A consultant has recently concluded that a basic 30 minute interurban service from Vancouver to Chilliwack could be had for $500 million ($3 million/$5 million/km)! Yet TransLink wants to extend SkyTrain to Langley for $125 million+/km. and in service by 2040!

  • Ian

    What did we learn? That there might be a better use for $6 – 8 billion. No seriously.

    I had a good time at the two week party, loved the curling I saw, met people I wouldn’t meet otherwise etc…. But if I put my thinking cap on I still say there were better ways to spend the money, a lot of them mentioned here, which I now put in the “you’re dreaming in technicolour” category because the money’s gone.

    I’ve commented on the housing issue on Frances’ blog. The last budget revised the provincial expenditure on housing downward and cut units back tenfold. People who think we can leverage the good feeling to end homelessness aren’t being honest about the challenge given the money now available from the province and the feds.

    Transit’s in the same boat. This will take major money that is just not there, in part because we spent $2billion on the low priority Canada Line when everyone knows that traffic reduction means an eastern line.

    Then there’s economic development: We spent $1 billion for a lot of cops to stand around making sure things didn’t happen for two weeks. That’s a great 5 year R&D program or a significant expansion of the post-sec system or a ten year kick-ass cultural industry and festivals program. Those things won’t happen now.

    The lesson I’ve learned? Real cost/benefit analysis is more important than good feelings.

  • landlord

    A new event for the next Games :

  • Tiktaalik

    Also the spotlights over english bay look so damn cool. It makes the city look like something out of Blade Runner. Surely there’s some way we can keep these things around. On the weekend evenings?

  • Peter Kropotkin

    “What can Vancouver really learn from the Olympics?”
    Perhaps a better question (and a separate thread) might be: “What lessons can Vancouver impart to the Olympic cities of the future?” What could/should Vancouver whisper into Sochi’s ear to let them know what to prepare for in four years? What about other cities around the world considering bids for future games?

  • mezzanine

    @ Ian: canada line low priority? It has carried north of 200,000 passegers daily during the olympics. If anything, I am interested in what ridership will be like post-olympics; i am expecting a sustained bump in ridership, more so than the E and M lines.

    WRT transit and the post-olympics, Gord Price has a neat quote:

    ““You now have a public that sees the possibility, …We just conducted the greatest controlled traffic experiment in North America.”

    Maybe now a new political consensus will emerge that not only can we do it, we must do it.””

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of the Day

    “Lesson learned? Vancouver doesn’t need municipal politicians, provincial politicians and federal politicians, not even city managers in order to function and behave like a city.”

    They were all at the Games anyways, pretending they were taking care of business for the, you know, the rest of us.

    Also, for future Prime Ministers of Canada, in the eventuality that you are in office during the time when another Canadian city is suckered again into this craziness, well, in order for you, Mr. Or Mrs. PM, to be able to attend all the events your heart desires, prorogue the Parliament, don’t be shy, do it for those colleagues of yours, they are parasite time too.

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 2010 Spirit

    Light the cauldron every year on:
    1. New Years
    2. Canada Day
    3. BC Day

  • Westender

    I’m thinking the cauldron is going to look a bit “obsolete” as it sits there unlit…is anyone thinking about a public art project to create temporary “filler flames” for the cauldron? These could be something like the beacons on the Burrard Bridge or the torch on the Statue of Liberty, and be removable for the times the gas fires on the cauldron might be lit. (If they were powered by chicken-manure bio-fuel, we might even be able to access City of Vancouver funding to undertake the project!)

  • Blow up the ugly Sears building and replace it with a public square!

  • Jon Petrie

    Elevator from Granville Street Bridge sidewalk to Granville Island

  • Bryn

    “Is there any way to replicate some of that? Free transit for the day that is incorporated into the price of various kinds of event tickets — a kind of temporary U-Pass? A well-advertised promise of that level of service to the kinds of events that typically draw car-drivers? Removal of parking outside of large venues?”

    That has got to be the single best idea I’ve ever heard – tack an extra $3 on to every event ticket that takes place at BC Place, GM Place, etc and the ticket becomes your transit pass for the evening. A new revenue source for TransLink, and at the same time a huge boon to Vancouver in terms of reducing traffic in and out of the downtown core post-game. How quickly can we make this happen??!!

  • Peter Ladner

    How about some kiss-and-ride dropoff zones at Canada Line stations? There is no place at the Marine Drive station to pull over in your car and drop off or pick up someone!

  • Bill Lee

    @fabula Food on the streets? So where are the (composting, waterless) toilets on the streets too.

    While people love the view of side walk cafes, they are private space and not public amenties. Pay up every hour or move on.
    And of course, rain.
    Numerous stories of the death of the sidewalk cafe in Paris, France as people take food back to the office or the Jardins de Luxembourg.

    Transit? The Airport line was full just as the first (free) days of the Richmond B-Line, (when it existed). When the word got around that no one was checking fares, and also that a day ticket got a free ride, usage shot up.
    Translink was surprised in a survey when my answer to their question on an appropriate fare was 25 cents, the same at that time as the phone, and a single coin that many carry.
    Free transit and vast restrictions as to the number of riders in cars and what streets they can drive on would increase the use of transit, but not a lot of respect for it.
    The City of Vancouver had all its traffic-o-meters out in the past weeks, what does it show for the weeks before the Worst.Games.Ever and during and after? Have they posted it yet?

    Same with VAG. Oh how we miss Tony Emery.
    Free admission, people will enter. Paid (donation) and most are reluctant to go in. Time to pull it from the Eloi and let the masses enjoy it every day and not just pushing past the docents on Free-Tuesday-if-you-know.

    VAG will get more general support if it is well-attended by the usual street riff-raff.

    And in general the street buzz downtown shows that There-is-nothing-to-do-here. So a few cultural events, with limited-time-offer admission and chit-chat bring in the bridge-and-tunnel crowd and others who are waiting for one of the events to happen.

    School breaks might have helped, as then parents can’t trust their kids at home alone so take them out to something novel and wait in line. Where’s the washrooms?

    But so white! Part of that might be the Lunar New Year when families have to take Auntie Lydia and others out to a Chinese feast. “Aww, do we have to?”
    A friend did a poll at the Robson Square and found that most of the Chinese were from back East, mainly Ontario
    My travel agent said that many Chinese are waiting and have tickets for the first week in March as otherwise it is too busy: at airports, for flights, and in Asia where it can be 300 million travelling around for the last 2 weeks of February.
    But the Winter Games have always been dominated by the Alpine countries (DE, AU, IT, FR, CH) They have inclueded some other non-sports such as the X-sports of boarding, aerials and ice dancing which brings in others.

    And all this olympic stuff, do we care that these athletes will be former athletes with multiple medical interventions and rehabilitations, walking around with artifical knees, hips and so on. Good piece in Georgia Straight last week on that issue of damage to young people.

  • Bill Lee

    @Chris Keam // Feb 26, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Freebies, and not crowded?
    That has been tried when there were time-differntial fares.
    And it just meant that the buses were full at 10 am when the free passes came into effect. And the usual kind of cheating by some minutes to get on outside the cheaper/free hours.

    I like the new policy by Translink and the CAW union. If passengers don’t have the fare, just let them on and drive. Scheduling time is more important than enforcing fare collection.
    Most riders these days have bought a pass. (And weren’t tourists surprised that they couldn’t use paper money on our buses, and there were no chippies giving change when they didn’t have anything less than 2 Twoonies.)

    This no-fare is more obvious from the Drive to Downtown, or along Hastings from Main to Davie and Granville. The West Side doesn’t see it, but then they all have individual cars to drive over there. “Walk! Take the bus!! That’s for animals!”

    What if we made bikes compulsory? It has been said that every home has at least one bike mouldering in storage. And it’s sad about the 500 Dutch bikes the pavilion brought over.

    @Peter Ladner // Mar 2, 2010 at 12:25 pm Huh? Kiss and ride? How long are anyone going to be stopped at a station?
    Marine Drive was an attempt to get more boggy land away from industrial use into more profitable condos, then they might have parking stalls.
    But the the Airport-Canada Line has a lot of cross routes, not enough lines (Marine to Oak, Granville, Arbutus; 49th, 41st, 25th 9th) but enough along with the every-5-blocks plaiting that this city was developed for in the days of Point Grey Municipality ruling the west half.(Vancouver stopped at 16th for those of you not with the Bruce MacDonald book “Vancouver, A Visual History). So you need only walk three blocks from a stop. Why do you need to pick someone up at that station?

  • Robert

    Vancouver needs an annual festival to animate both our streets and our cultural spaces. Toronto has Luminato, other cities have major festivals as well. Vancouver has some good smaller festivals but nothing that embraces a range of disciplines and forms. A major festival would draw visitors and residents alike to the downtown core.

  • Simoniz

    The food stands at the Plaza of Nations were so poorly promoted and located that no one even knew about them, or enough to even mention them here.