GREATER TORONTO – Now that the Pan Am Games’ temporary “HOV” (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes have been in effect for more than a week, the GTA’s drivers are already finding themselves tackling trickier trips along major city arteries like the DVP, 401, and 400.
That traffic crunch is scheduled to get a little heavier after July 10, when the Opening Ceremonies kick off 16 days of athletic events being held at venues across the GTA. The various sporting events’ locations will range all the way from Oshawa in the east to Hamilton in the west, and from Welland in the south to Oro-Medonte (near Orillia) in the north – so if you’re planning to attend many different events, you’ll need to get creative about your travel arrangements.
Luckily, GTA Real Estate News is here to help – and so is the Games’ official transportation information guide, which was the inspiration for the key travel tips we’ve shared below.
- Know your Temporary Lanes and Signs
You’ve probably already seen two types of Pan Am-related signs posted on roadways, in TTC subway stations, and about the premises of newly-converted TORONTO 2015 venues around your hometown.
The first type of Pan Am-specific signs are navigational guides only, bearing blue-and-orange colouring as well as a three-letter code specifying a venue (for example, a sign with a “PAP” code is pointing you in the direction of CIBC Pan Am Park). If you are heading to a game or competition, use the official Venues page to look up your corresponding code before you hit the road.
If travelling by highway, you’ll also see temporary black-and-white signs that simply indicate the presence of a special HOV lane (restricted to vehicles with three or more riders). Keep an eye out for these, as traffic police will be monitoring the special lanes heavily throughout the games.
- Take Transit (For Free) If You’re Headed to the Games
Aware that not everyone will always be travelling in groups of three or more, the Ontario government and TORONTO 2015 organizers are encouraging local residents to opt for regional transit when headed to urban events.
In an effort to ease citywide traffic, they’re making it affordable too – Pan Am ticketholders can ride anywhere on the expansive “Games Transit Network” for free, by simply showing their ticket for an event taking place on the same day. The network includes key routes on a mix of transportation platforms, including GO, TTC, Viva, MiWay, and many more (and yes, it includes the subway!).
- Save Yourself a Headache by Going Digital
Inspired by popular trip-planning apps like Beat the Traffic, TORONTO 2015 offers an official Pan Am / Parapan Am Games traffic app simply entitled “2015 Games Trip Planner.” Centered on an interactive map, the helpful tool includes venue locations, parking details (if applicable), known traffic disruptions, and a Route Planner that can help get you there whether you’re driving or taking transit.