Canadian Cyclist


February 24/03 7:45 am - 2003 Worlds: Road Closures, Resident Access and Emergency Services

Posted by Editoress on 02/24/03

Hamilton 2003 Road Worlds
by Rob Jones

Road Closures, Resident Access and Emergency Services - The Plan

Yesterday, we discussed the current "tempest" regarding funding and commitments to the Worlds in Hamilton this coming October (see Miscommunication and Misunderstanding). Today, we will cover the proposed plans for road access and emergency services during the event. It should be noted that the proposed plan is still being fine tuned, but the broad outlines are now available.

We have attached race route maps for the Worlds (and the Nationals, by the way). Yellow routes are shared (ie, some lanes are bike only, and some are for vehicles), blue routes are bike only. The one orange section (in front of City Hall, the start/finish area) is completely closed for the entire week.

Short ITT - October 6 & 7 (plus June 27)
Long ITT - October 6, 8, 9 (plus June 27)
Road Race - October 9, 10, 11, 12 (plus June 29)

There are a number of requirements for an event of this magnitude. First, riders must be safe during their races, so no vehicular traffic is allowed, and pedestrian crossing is limited to specific points (called "pinch points"). Most roads will be closed one hour before an event, and stay closed until one hour after.

Second, within the areas enclosed during races (called "Pods") there are requirements for public transit, emergency services (fire, police, medical) and public works (hydro, gas, etc.).

Finally, there is a need to allow traffic to move in and out of an area outside of race times.

The maps are self-explanatory for which roads are closed, and which are shared during the races. What is not is the Pod concept. There are a maximum of three Pods required (for the Time Trials). Each will have a command centre (designated on the maps by red crosses). Here, emergency and public service equipment and personnel will be stationed. These units will look after their own Pod, and the indication is that service within a Pod will actually be quicker than if there was no Pod (ie, regular service)! There will also be a designated heliocopter landing pad in case someone needs to be moved quickly. Emergency services equipment within each Pod has been chosen to be able to deal with all scenarios (for example, ladder trucks for Pods with high rises).

Public transit will continue to operate on both sides of the race course, with users being delivered to a pinch point, where they can transfer from inside to outside the Pod, and vice-versa.

Residents of Pod areas will be able to drive in and out of their area in the morning and evening, and there are tentative plans to set up parking areas for them near pinch points for during the day. For commuters it should not offer too many problems, since road closures do not go into effect before 9:00 am Monday to Thursday, and 8:00 am Friday to Sunday. Roads will reopen at 1:00 pm Monday, 5:00 pm Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, and roughly 5:45 pm Friday and Saturday.

There has also been considerable concern about traffic chaos in the city before, during and after events, as athletes, media, spectators and residents try to all use limited roadways. The organizers have a couple of plans. First, based on past events (such as Olympics), it is generally found that commuter traffic drops by approximately 30% during major multi-day events, as people take holidays or find alternate forms of transport. Second, spectator traffic will be diverted well before entering the Hamilton region, and will be required to use a shuttle bus system.

There will be disruption to everyday activities for residents and commuters, without question. However, it does appear that an extremely well thought out plan is underway to minimize as much as possible the effects of the race.

Tomorrow: We Grade the 2003 Worlds Thus Far


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