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Routes We Love to Hate - Visitor Travel Information on Roads

General Information
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Let's face it... some of us aren't too keen on driving at a snail pace during peak hour traffic rush. You're on vacation and the last thing you want is to experience road rage. Like everywhere else in the world, you're going to encounter some bad and some good routes. A few routes will take you directly to your destination without any hassle. Where else some will just make you wish you'd rather spend the day at your grandmother's digging up weeds.

&copyright Virtual Vancouver You can always try taking the public transport which could save you a lot of time and effort but you hate taking the local bus and changing countless times. At any rate, you do not fancy sitting next to the odd fellow who smelt like moth balls. So renting a car seemed like the perfect option. Common sense will tell you that Vancouverites go to work around 8am and finishes somewhere after 5pm so the roads will get jammed during those hours.

Then again, you also have to consider them rushing out for that all important mid-day meal. Lunch hours (usually stars around noon and finishes an hour later) will see a lot of pedestrians trying to cross busy intersection, making it difficult to turn corners so be aware of this fact. Of course, screaming your head off at those pesky pedestrians crossing when they shouldn't (do flashing stop lights mean anything any more?) is not worth your cup of tea.

We've racked our brains (ha ha) to come up with a list of routes that we just hate taking because it is either slow, the who-on-earth-would-design-these-roads, (four lanes merging to one at the Knight Bridge is one such example) and endless traffic lights stopping you every second to help you, the visitor, when you're driving in Vancuver.

Just remember that impatience does not get you anyway. Speeding is a definite no-no. If you want to push your luck despite this, then be on the look out for those hidden black vans with the strange looking disc in front of them. (If you paid any attention at all, these 'discs' are radars that intend on monitoring your speed and if you get caught, the fines are pretty hefty.) Our advise, just go at your own pace and you will get to your destination one way or the other. Besides, shouldn't you take the time to enjoy the view of Vancouver while you're at it?

See also Virtual Maps or to learn more about current road construction work, click Road Ahead

  1. Downtown Vancouver
    • If you're thinking of driving to Downtown, we would either applaud at your bravery or think you've lost your wits. We don't particulary recommend that you drive in Downtown because like any other busy cities in the world, it is just a mess of intersections and expensive parking spots. However, if you insists on driving there then we suggests that you look out for pedestrians, parked cars suddenly appearing on your lane, construction works and of course, those horrible traffic lights on every corner of the block.

      Getting from Downtown to the North Shore or vice versa via the Liongate Bridge is quite a challenge even for a Vancouveritte. If you're going southbound, you may end up breezing through without a single reduction in your speed. If you're unfortunate, you may end up with hours-long jam complicated by merging lanes that doesn't make any sense. (Welcome to the real world...) If you go northbound, you may find some drivers will try to beat the congestion on Georgia Street by using Denman or Pender Street or other dodges. The sad part is there is no way you can avoid the mess no matter what streets you take.

      It also pays to know when major events take place in the city. It gets real busy (not just in Downtown but other places like Richmond etc) during the Christmas Rush and Fireworks Displays. See the Calendar of Annual Events for more details.

  2. Highway 99
    • This nexus, at which the TransCanada, the Lougheed Highway and several other important routes intersect is studied by traffic engineers all over the world as an example of how things should not be done. We think it should appear on The Guiness Book of Records as the World's Worst Design Road. Be ready to expect some rather sharp right turns and left scattered generously throughout the highway. It gets really dirty during peak times. Our advise? Stay away from this highway unless you need to use it.

  3. Marine Drive/Way
    • We honestly debated whether the Marine Drive/Way should be left out from our Bad Route section but... We like to think that this road could possibly stand as a Good Route most of the times. The lousy part about driving on this route arise is when you try to cross the Granville Street, it will involve a lot of tricky manouvering. If you're a tourist trying to cross this, then you're not going to enjoy this at all. So if you want to avoid this, try using 70th Avenue. The only downside is the countless traffic lights along the way. Even then there's the counter-intuitive setup northbound over the Arthur Laing Bridge but it sure beats trying to cross Granville Street.

  4. Broadway
    • Most people would point out that Broadway is like heaven compare to some of the routes. We tend to agree with that point. It has a nice broad road and not much hassels to begin with. So what's wrong with the picture? Driving by every single block with traffic lights is not our idea of fun so take the 12th Avenue instead.

  5. Kingsway
    • Almost like taking Broadway with all the pros and cons involved. The only truly miserable part about taking this is there's no alternate route that's close by. When are they going to invent flying cars?

  6. Kerrisdale Village
    • Driving on the 41st Avenue isn't all that bad during the summer and holidy months. It is a different ball altogether when UBC and the schools opened after the holidays. The only good part aside from the hideously long traffic jams are... well, at least you can enjoy the scenery and toast to the laughing birds around you. There are look outs where you can park the car, go for a pinic and wait until the insanity disappears until tomorrow.

  7. Knight Street
    • Okay, we like Knight Street when it is late at night and there's no one about to complicate your life. Chances are you, you will be likely to get booked for a speeding ticket (we told you so...) or get involved in an accident with a pedestrians. We have to wonder why the government won't improve this road since the accident rates are particularly high around this area.

  8. Massey Tunnel
    • You can expect long waits if you go during rush hour. Talk about driving in the Twilight Zone... Bizarre sticks poking out from the ground prevent you from changing lanes before, during and after the tunnel. Be sure to use your headlights and please, please, remove those sunglasses when you go through the tunnel.

  9. Port Mann Bridge
    • Here's a simple math equation for you. Put four lanes together, make them the main connection between Vancouver and most of Canada, have them merge together so they have to go onto a bridge and what do you get? That's right. Total chaos. We warned you.

    For more information, visit British Columbia Automobile Association BCAA (Homepage)

Alternate Routes

Well, generally speaking. We like to say that there are easy routes that aren't filled with blocks of traffic lights, pedestrians, cyclists, road rage drivers, illogical merges and intersections. Is there hope at all? We like to believe so (or at least believe there's actually a Road Fairy out there watching over us) hence we decided to put this Alternate Routes for you.

  1. Marine Drive/Way
    • Although there's often congestion between Main and Granville Street and again in New Westminster, the rest of this route flows quickly and freely enough when the TransCanada etc are blocked. Well, on most days anyway. If you're coming south east after 6pm, be on the look out for cars parked on the right hand lane.

  2. 2nd and 6th Avenue
    • The stretch between Burrad and Clark Street functioned almost as a freeway so on a good day so you can expect to drive at a fair speed. The only disadvantage is that it turns into several blocks of the hellious West Fourth. We rest our case...

  3. Canada Way
    • Sometimes a good alternative to Kingsway as it is much faster and less traffic. On most days, it pays to keep your fingers cross of course.

  4. Second Narrows
    • Well, it isn't the perfect alternative but it is a dream compared to the route via Lionsgate Bridge. Did we mention flying cars being invented in the near future yet?

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