Everybody going to Bluesfest this year with a pass / wristband can also use that as bus pass (to go anywhere on OC Transpo) for several hours up to festival opening time each day and during the festival event.
It will be interesting to see if that results in more people going to the festival by transit now that transit is included with their admission.
Here is a map of the Bluesfest 2016 site, note the main entrance, Gate 1, is at the centre bottom of the site plan:
Note also that the map actually shows Booth Street as closed (good !) and the direction towards the OC Transpo stops on the temporary transitway on Albert Street.
Of course, the walk from Albert out to Wellington Street (incorrectly called Sir JAM parkway on the Bluesfest map) is reasonably safe and direct, via a combined cycle path/sidewalk along the east side only of the Preston Street Extension. Some people do get impatient with those fences:
But once at the Vimy / Wellington / Sir JAM / Preston Extension intersection, the route becomes not terribly welcoming.
First, one cannot cross at the intersection, instead one must go east along the south side of Wellington to Booth, cross Booth eastwards, cross Wellington, cross Booth again this time westwards, to get back to the Museum and Park side of the street, then return along Wellington to the midblock main entrance, at least half a kilometer longer than the directest desire line:
The shortest desire line cannot be used of course, because the desirable directions have all been given over to car traffic first, and pedestrians get only the left over space.
And what attractive space it is. Here’s the route as of Tuesday along the south side of Wellington, between zig zagging fences:
The fences along the curb are installed for Bluesfest. The fences along the vacant field are NCC. They are bolted to the sidewalk:
Of course, it is vital to protect the weeds on the edge of the sidewalk, so the fences cannot be put on the
And once the pedestrian traipses past the main gate that can be seen but not accessed on the other side of the street, there is the ordeal at the Booth intersection.
First cross the dead section of Booth (there is a light, but I’d cross anytime anyway, unless there is a dundridge traffic cop there at the time). Stop for a second to gaze southward along the new Booth Freeway roadbed, admiring the width, the grade, the shear effort required to get all those cars going from zero to 100 kmh in just one block. Sigh. Then cross Wellington (be sure to push the beg button). Then beg again, and cross Booth again going towards the Park. Then traipse back several hundred metres to the main gate you saw 10 minutes ago …
Mind you, crossing Booth was no picnic. Here’s the wide, safe, inviting crosswalk at Booth as of Tuesday pm:
Those fences simply cannot be put on the gravel of the new Booth Freeway roadbed, just in case some worker wants to come by and stir it up a bit during Bluesfest. But as it is, this isn’t the safest looking crossing due to its narrowness. At least there isn’t much traffic on the closed section of the new Booth Freeway.
Add 10,000 people going to the bus stop at 11pm, propelled by alcohol, and the going looks even less inviting.
It may be a bit better when the festival closes each night, since there is an exit only gate at the Vimy intersection …
Going east towards the downtown is an alternative exit route.
The sidewalk is fenced that way too, but somewhat nicer:
One can admire the wider sidewalks, granite pavers, fake racoon tracks, and neato wooden benches, that will be available for use at the 2017 edition of Bluesfest. Just not yet.
The NCC is still working on its multi-million dollar temporary landscaping installation to create a “Bold Drive By Experience” on your way to the downtown.
I realize running the city and a festival is complicated business. And getting bus transit included in the festival price is good. It would be even better if the way from the bus stop to the festival was a bit more welcoming and functional too. But maybe younger festival goers will all view the fenced mazes as a … game.