Pan Am Games guide: What you need to know to get around
A Toronto police officer stands guard outside of the Princes' Gate at Exhibition Place in Toronto. (AP / Julio Cortez)
Published Friday, June 26, 2015 6:01PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, June 28, 2015 8:54AM EDT
As the 2015 Pan Am Games approach, commuters can expect to see an increase in traffic and transit congestion across the Toronto area.
To combat the congestion, Games organizers are asking residents of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) to work from home or change up their schedule to avoid rush-hour commutes. They're also making temporary changes to major roadways and offering incentives to those taking transit to get to sporting events.
Organizers have also put together a trip planner to help residents and tourists, complete with Pan Am pointers and travel times.
From specialty carpool lanes to free TTC passes, here's a guide to what you need to know to get around during the Games:
On some of the GTHA's busiest highways, one lane will be converted to a temporary High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane. The move is meant to help athletes and officials get to and from events, while encouraging carpooling with the slight advantage of a specialty lane.
As of June 29, only those who meet the following criteria can use the HOV lanes between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m.:
- Accredited Games vehicles used to transport athletes, officials, media, etc. (vehicles had to be registered with Pan Am officials in December, and must display a pass issued by the Pan Am organizers)
- Vehicles with three or more occupants (from June 29 to July 27)
- Vehicles with two or more occupants (from July 28 to Aug. 18)
- Emergency vehicles
- Public transit
- Licensed taxis and limousines
- Electric vehicles with green licence plates
A detailed map of the areas with HOV lanes is available online.
The reversible lane on Jarvis Street, which alternates between being open to northbound and southbound traffic, will be used by northbound vehicles only until Aug. 18. There will also be additional turn prohibitions along Jarvis during the Games, to help improve the flow of traffic.
Stopping on Jarvis will be prohibited between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily.
Drivers will not be allowed to turn left from Lake Shore Boulevard to Parliament or Sherbourne Streets from June 28 to Aug. 18.
Starting July 8, Lake Shore will be closed intermittently between Parkside Drive and Ontario Place for athlete training and familiarization with the course.
There will be no parking at most Pan Am venues, including at the opening ceremonies at the Rogers Centre.
At the venues where parking is available, there will be limited spots. Those planning to drive to events are advised to look up the venue online first to find out whether parking spots are available.
There will be limited parking available at all ticketed competitions and ceremonies for those with valid accessible parking permits, but parking must be pre-booked either online or by calling 1-844-695-4313.
Ticket holders can ride public transit systems across the GTHA for free on the day of the event. Those with tickets can show a printed copy to transit operators on the following lines:
- Brampton Transit (Zum)
- Burlington Transit
- Durham Region Transit
- GO Transit
- Hamilton Street Railway
- Milton Transit, MiWay, Mississauga Transit
- Oakville Transit
- Toronto Transit Commission
- St. Catharines Transit
- Welland Transit
- York Region Transit, Viva
Access to transit is only valid for trips to and from the event on the date displayed on the tickets, and transit is not included with tickets purchased for Panamania.