Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lights Draining the Green out of the Olympics?

The City of Vancouver has announced a plan to light up English Bay with 20 robotic searchlights as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

If the 10,000 W lights are left on for 15 hours a day this will consume over 3,000 kWh of electricity per day.  That is enough to power 10 average homes (50 energy efficient ones). Over the course the 24 days that the lights will be used they will consume 72,000 kWh of electiricy and generate 9,000 kg of CO2 equivelent greenhouse gas emissions.

And one top of that there is the issue of light pollution.

Note: ghg emissions include imported power assuming a 10% coal, 5% natural gas and 85% hydro mix.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Olympic Cycling Network

This is the first in a series that will look at how well the 2010 Olympics is living up to its hype of being the "greenest games ever."

In the Bid Book for the 2010 Olympic games the organizers promised "...  multi-modal public transportation system in which the use of private automobiles will be actively discouraged"  and that ".. Vancouver OCOG will encourage spectators to walk or bicycle."

The city of Vancouver stated that "Some of our existing bicycle routes will be temporarily altered during the 2010 Winter Games..."  But they promised, ".... alternate routes will be provided that are comfortable, well-marked and as direct as possible."

With less than 100 days before the games is seems that the organizers are already failing to meet some of their promises for sustainable transportation.

Two blocks of the heavily used Ontario Bike Route have been closed for several weeks now.  According to maps published on October 14th there was supposed have been a marked detour in place using 3rd Ave and parts of Quebec street.  It is now four weeks later and this route is still not marked.

Instead the cyclists are directed onto a narrow shared sidewalk around the Olympic village zone.  Part of the route is gravel that has been recently laid down over railroad tracks.  Yesterday I witnessed a near collision between a cyclist and pedestrian that could have resulted in serious injuries.  Neither was doing anything wrong - it is just that this Olympic cycling route is not designed to safely accommodate the cyclists that are being directed on it. 

Perhaps in the greater scheme of things this is a small matter.  But I think it reflects how little consideration VANOC is giving to creating a truly sustainable event.

  • [Bike Lane for the Olympics?]