Olympic Bike Closures
Well, here we are in January and the Olympic bike detours are starting up!! So far, not so good... Went riding twice this week and hit some rather stupid reroutes both times so figured it was time to get it all posted up here!
First off, I'm hoping the routing/riding I've done thus far is just showing a "preliminary" idea of how things will be and that the actual final paths still have work to be done. If not, then there's going to be a lot of confusion going on!!
The first thing that kicked in a while back was the Ontario bike route detour around by Science World. Unfortunately the city just threw some gravel down over the streetcar tracks that cut diagonally across the path - we've already had one of our riders go down on that, ending up with 7 stitches and a rock removed from her knee. Great work guys!
When riding the route you have to go up on the sidewalk, expect a LOT of pedestrian traffic around Olympic time. This bit is NOT going to work out well. Note that the so-called Traffic Barriers don't actually exist - they seem to have forgotten that there are streetcar tracks along the road there when drafting up the plan.
However that area is basically unrideable now anyhow as the whole Olympic Village is closed off. There is literally NO route through there North of 2nd between Quebec and Cambie, so if that was part of your commute home, well, sucks to be you!
Note that the street they suggest you use (5th Avenue) runs right in front of the police station, so make sure you have your helmet/lights/bell/reflective vest/knee pads/passport/birth certificate/blood sample/citizenship papers/etc as I can only guess how many tickets they'll hand out there.
Once you DO get there it isn't too hard to get back down to the SeaWall however - there's a pretty good route down under the bridge. Oh yeah, when crossing the street, there's "WALK BIKES IN CROSSWALK" signs everywhere too! Lots of ticketing opportunities...
The next thing that brings us to is the Convention Center!
No big shock, but you can't get anywhere near the convention center or Canada Place. The lower route along Waterfront Road is closed, meaning no lower exit from the SeaBus either I'm guessing. The parking lots East of the SeaBus terminal are likely being used for staging buses and things so it seems they want to treat that whole area as a red zone.
Best bet is to ride the road up above - thankfully the 98 B-Line is gone now so at least you're not fighting for space with a 60-foot bus.
Yaletown area also has a few closures - we found this one the other night at David Lam Park. It's unfortunately very poorly marked and right now the bike route is basically terrible. I believe the planners don't really see a difference between the type of rider who would choose to ride along the SeaWall bike path and someone who would ride along Pacific Boulevard with traffic - can you imagine Suzy with her training wheels rolling along next to 4 lanes of traffic?
The sidewalk on the South side of Pacific is super wide and definitely could handle mixed bike/pedestrian traffic, but thus far it hasn't been set up to indicate whether that's allowed or not. Don't be surprised if you get hassled!
Supposedly you can walk along the lower route, but who'd want to do that?
I do wish they'd thought outside of the box a bit more - for instance there's an alley that runs half a block North of 2nd Avenue that would have worked out, but I don't think they even considered that. The routing over the streetcar tracks is going to hurt a bunch of people - there ARE signs there saying to dismount, but we all know that those will get ignored. It would also have been nice if they'd left the lower entrance to the SeaBus open for cyclists to get out, even if only to go East and over Main street.
The best thing we can probably say about all of this though is imagine if we had the Summer Olympics!! That would have been a whole other kind of brutal...
You can find the most up to date list of closures and detours at the City of Vancouver's Cycling page here: http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/cycling/bikeways/routes/updates.htm