Public transit remains key to transportation plan 

VANOC asking people to practice Olympic-time commute in January

Olympic organizers are asking Sea to Sky residents to work from home, think twice about using their cars and give transit a try as more details of the $157 million 2010 transportation plan were unveiled Wednesday.

They also revealed some measures to encourage residents to get friends up to the resort before and after the Games, and even during, in the face of rising concerns over Olympic aversion. It is expected that business will be down three per cent this year over last.

"Whistler is open for business during the Games," said Terry Wright, executive vice president Games operations for the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee (VANOC) during a media briefing.

"In general this should be, and by all indications this will be, a peak time in terms of visitation to the resort."

VANOC is currently working on freeing up more day skier parking on either side of the Olympics in an effort to help get people to Whistler.

Ninety per cent of Whistler Blackcomb will be open for skiing and season's passes are discounted this year.

"We are working with the town to add additional day skier parking pre- and post-Games to offset some of the parking loss as our overlay operations go into effect in December and January," said Wright.

Virtually all the day skier parking lots have been taken over by VANOC at Games time and there will be almost no public parking in Whistler. Traffic needs to be reduced by 30 per cent for the Olympic transportation plan to run smoothly.

Wright also confirmed at this week's transportation plan update that there would be a checkpoint at Alice Lake from Feb. 11 to 28 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Staff at the checkpoint will make sure that anyone travelling between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. has a place to park in Whistler.

At the transportation briefing in March it was suggested the checkpoint would operate from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m.

If you plan to travel inside the 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. window you must have an official pass, which is fully transferable between vehicles. Visitors will need hotel check-in confirmation.

The passes will be mailed out to Whistler property owners in November. Each residence will get two. Tenants and businesses can apply for one at distribution offices set up in Squamish, Vancouver, Whistler and Pemberton.

Taxis, limos, emergency responders, buses and some others will not need permits.

The highway will have two lanes northbound and one southbound in the mornings and two lanes southbound and one northbound in the afternoons from Feb. 4 to March.1

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