June 9, 2015 6:47 am
Updated: June 25, 2015 1:59 pm

Tackling Pan Am Games traffic: HOV lanes, free public transit with game ticket

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WATCH ABOVE: New rules and signage for high-occupancy lanes and no parking at a couple of venues may make things more difficult for commuters during the PanAm Games. Mark McAllister reports.

TORONTO — Be prepared for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, and the congestion it will bring to the city.The transportation team for the games has unveiled how it plans to deal with the traffic.

Nearly 6,000 Pan Am athletes and 1,600 Parapan Am athletes will converge on Toronto and they’ll be accompanied by their coaches, and staff.

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In addition, there will be fans and media out to see them, and that means thousands will be added to our already crammed roads.

Organizers say they want to keep traffic moving, provide safe and accessible experience to spectators and volunteers, and get athletes, officials and media to events safely and on time.

They’re hoping to do that by taking a “transit first” approach, relying on HOV lanes and asking businesses and Torontonians to avoid high peak travel times.

FOLLOW THE DOTTED LINES

HOV lanes will be painted on all the 400 series highways, the DVP, Gardiner, QEW, Lake Shore Blvd and Jane St. in York Region.

They’ll be open to vehicles used to transport athletes, officials and media, and a few exceptions such as emergency vehicles and public transit.

Officials say the HOV lanes are based on what was done in London and Vancouver during major gaming events, but the main difference is that Toronto’s HOV lanes will be open to the public.

WATCH ABOVE: Temporary HOV lane markers on Gardiner and Lakeshore already peeled off

From June 29 to July 27, they’ll be open to vehicles with three or more occupants.

The HOV lanes will be available to vehicles with two or more occupants from July 28 to August 18.

There will be penalties for misuse of the lanes.

TRANSIT FIRST

The transportation team is hoping they’ll be a lot fewer cars on the roads and so they’re putting public transit first.

Ticket holders can get a free ride, if they show their game ticket.

Drivers are out of luck, as there will be no parking for spectators at Exhibition Place or Rogers Centre.

There will be three different bus routes for each venue, in case one gets jammed up.

For those heading to the soccer venue in Hamilton, there will be a special GO train service.

REDUCE TRAFFIC

Organizers are encouraging people to work during off peak hours, car pool, work from home and/or hold phone/ video meetings.

They’re also asking employers to offer flexible work schedules and shift delivery times.

The transit team has launched 2015gamestripplanner.ca and the app “2015 Games Trip Planner” to help users to navigate through the city, and provide traffic updates.

The Pan Am Games run from July 10 to July 26, the Parapan Am will follow August 7 to 15.

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