Vancouver - Getting Around -

By North American standards, Vancouver has quite a decent public transit system. It is run by a regional transportation authority called TransLink  and connects the various municipalities in the greater Vancouver area. Transportation is provided by bus, train (called the "skytrain", because it runs on elevated rails) and even by boats (called "seabus", for obvious reasons). Cash fares cost anywhere from $2.25 to $4.50, depending on the time of day and number of transit zones you cross. Buses only accept exact change, but at skytrain stations, tickets are sold at vending machines that give change. As of late the machines now accept debit cards and credit cards. Books of 10 prepaid tickets are available at a discount from many convenience stores. A daypass, offering unlimited travel for a single day, costs $8.00.

The Vancouver area has a number of municipalities or neighbourhoods that use "West" as part of their names. The following is a summary:
   The "West Side" of Vancouver is the area of Vancouver west of Ontario Street. (The west side includes Kitsilano and Vancouver South, but excludes the downtown peninsula.),
   the West End, the western portion of the downtown peninsula,
   West Vancouver, a municipality on the North Shore of Burrard Inlet west of the Lion's Gate Bridge.

North Vancouver is not part of Vancouver city. North Vancouver is located to the north of Burrard Inlet and includes the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver. Yes, even locals who have lived here for many years find the distinctions confusing. To make it even worse many of these areas use the same numbered streets/avenues:
   In the City of Vancouver the East-West streets are numbered Avenues. They always use East or West to designate whether it is on the East side or the West side (with Ontario Street as the dividing line). Some of the major streets use names rather than numbers (Broadway would be 9th Avenue, King Edward Avenue would be 25th Avenue).
   In West Vancouver some of the North-South streets are numbered streets.
   In North Vancouver some of the East-West streets are numbered streets.

Parking in the city of Vancouver is best avoided by using public transit. Downtown Vancouver has the densest population in all of North America with the exception of Manhattan. As such, you may expect that although driving & parking may not be impossible in the downtown core, it will not be cheap side either. If you really must park in the downtown core, your best option is to find a parkade. To discourage on-street parking, city parking meter rates are intentionally set at a higher cost than rates in parking lots. "Easy Park" lots rank as the most affordable, but generally the cost of parking will not vary greatly among parkades within a certain area.

Downtown is very accessible by foot & trolley buses run continually (every few minutes) on Granville St. As such, if you take SkyTrain to Granville St. station, practically anything downtown will be at farthest a 20 minute walk. Considering the traffic congestion, biking or walking will likely get you to your destination faster than would driving & parking your car.

Be very careful parking overnight, as vehicle break-ins are common. Many parkades do not have video cameras or any security after midnight. Parking meters are in effect 7 days a week from 9:00am-8:00pm, but since many streets become no stopping zones between 3:00pm-6:00pm, be sure to read all signs and instructions on meters. The morning rush hour stopping restrictions may also apply on certain streets between 7:00am-9:30am.

Since you should expect city meter rates to be more expensive than lots, the following rate menu may provide as useful. Most meters are restricted to a 2hr maximum stay. Meters accept Canadian & American change only, in the $0.10, $0.25, $1.00 and $2.00 coinage. American coins are accepted at par value. Since these are the maximum amounts you should expect to pay, you may find cheaper parking on side streets and lots.
   Robson Street & Periphery, Yaletown $1=20minutes or 1hr=$3
   Lower Robson Steet, Denman, Davie $1=40minutes or 1hr=$1.50
   Hornby, Howe (around Provincial Courts), Canada Place, Georgia Street, West Hastings $1=15min or 1hr=$4.00
   Gastown & Periphery, N Cambie, W Pender, Homer, VCC, Queen E $1=30min or 1hr=$2.00
   East Hastings & Periphery, Chinatown, N Main Street $1=60min or 1hr=$1.00
   Lower Granville, W Broadway around Granville St, Fir, Hemlock up to Oak $1=30min or 1hr=$2.00
   W Broadway around Cambie, Heather, VGH $1=24min or 1hr=$2.50
   W Broaday around Macdonald, Stephens $1=60min or 1hr=$1.00
   E Broadway, lower Main, Ontario, Yukon, Quebec Sts. $1=60min or 1hr=$1.00
   4th Avenue $1=60min or 1hr=$1.00

Overall, most uptown meters are around $1/hr and can go up to $2.50/hr around 500-800 blocks of W. Broadway around VGH. The downtown meters are the most expensive along Hornby and Howe Streets from Georgia north to the water, mid-upper range around Robson & adjacent streets like Alberni, mid-lower range in the Westend and the least expensive on the Downtown east side.

City meters and parking regulations are enforced regularly and violations are considered municipal offenses prosecuted in the provincial courts under the Offense Act. Violations in private lots are generally unenforceable, but you should be careful since you may get your car towed if you fail to make payment. If your vehicle is towed on a city street, you can recover it at the city impound lot at 1410 Granville Street (under the Granville St. bridge).

The city of Vancouver is a very bicycle friendly city. In addition to the extremely popular seawall bicycle routes along Stanley Park, False Creek and Kitsilano, there are a whole network of bicycle routes that connect the whole city. The City of Vancouver provides a map of the bicycle routes that is available at most bike shops or online .

Bicycles are available to rent by the hour, day or week. Many places also rent tandem bikes. Some bicycle rental locations:
   Bayshore Bike Rentals, 745 Denman St
   Spokes Bicycle Rentals, 1789 West Georgia St
  Reckless Bike Stores,1810 Fir Street at 2nd Avenue & 110 Davie Street at Pacific
   JV Bike 1387 Richards St, also rents electric assist bicycles to make the hills a little easier.

Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License

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