Vancouver moments while cycling around the peninsula:

Like, street hockey among the daffodils.

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But where are the cyclists?

Biking is still the fastest way to get around, there’s valet parking close to Games events, the weather is perfect – and while numbers are up slightly, it’s nothing like I would have expected.  A week ago we cycled out to the Pacific Colliseum along the Adanac for pairs skating, only to find only a dozen other bikes in the secure parking.   

So why aren’t people cycling more?

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A rock balancer displays his craft along the False Creek North seawall.  

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The latest False Creek ferry dock is open at the southwest corner of David Lam Park – and they’ve built a sturdy waiting pavilion next to the Erickson.   It says: we take these little ferries seriously enough to keep you out of the rain while you wait.

And the new Sea Star Children’s Centre nearby says: we take child-care seriously too.

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Sorry, but the Yaletown Park at Nelson and Hamilton is still a bust.

Even on a perfect day, when the docks of Yaletown are overflowing and the streets are full to bursting, this hard-surfaced open space attracts only a handful, who really don’t have anything to do.  The children can’t play safely, the undulating surface discourages the toss of a frisbee or ball, people don’t hang around.  The trees don’t even look happy.

But we’ve never looked better.

I mean, better dressed.  Maybe everyone looks good in red and white, especially when the shirts and jackets are athletically cut, they’re new, they’re clean, and they serve as the informal uniform of the multi-racial young.  And as the French know well, everyone should wear scarves

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Probably the quietest place downtown is the Olympic Village .  Hardly a soul along the seawall (and why is it fenced off anyway?).  The streets and squares seem empty from a distance. 

But hey, I suppose a quiet, protected place is exactly what the athletes want – and as the final days approach, things will liven up.

Anyone experienced it first hand?

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As a combination of engineering and art, these pipes from the district heating plant next to the Cambie Bridge are brilliant.  The heat is tapped from the sewage main that lies unerneath, and the tops light up to indicate the amount of energy being used.  One thing though: can’t we paint the pipes something a tad more exciting than industrial gray?

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It didn’t get a lot of publicity, but the streetcar collided with a vehicle at a level crossing.   No evidence of damage, though.  I’m told Bombardier technicians worked through the night to get it back in service within hours, looking as good as when it arrived from Brussels, to which it will return.   But not without a lot of people wanting something just as good for Broadway – or any other part of the region that’s demanding something more than infrequent service by diesel bus.

Another curious phenomenon: check out the number of tourists on this truck:

Two.  And that’s not untypical.  How come?  Have people converted so much to walking and transit that traditional ways of getting around – especially by car – have been discarded for a different kind of freedom?

This, folks, is the entrance to Granville Island on a sunny Sunday afternoon – a view of empty asphalt probably not seen since 1977. 

Amazing.  Will this change the debate over how we allocate road space after the Olympics?  Never again can anyone argue that we can’t remove car lanes without creating traffic chaos.

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One significant improvement has been the information panels, providing not only directions but also, critically, an indication of how long it takes walk  to other destinations – say, 15 minutes from BC Place to the cauldron.

Kudos to the Streets Department in Engineering and to the graphic designers for the new kiosks – another small but worthwhile legacy from the Games.  Another assist to the way that Vancouverites will think about time and space in their city.

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To end, as we began, with more street hockey, this time in the middle of Robson Street: