TORONTO — Pan Am traffic tie-ups are already starting, but on Friday the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) hosted a gathering of carriers, Ministry of Transportation (MTO) officials and other parties to craft a plan to minimize Pan Am traffic woes.
The Pan Am Games run from July 10 to the 26 and and Parapan Games are from August 7 to 15.
Starting this week and for the duration of the games, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is looking at road closures; signal-timing modification; parking and stopping restrictions; turning restrictions; conversion of roads to one-way operations, police-managed traffic control points; and the increase or transfer to carpool lanes on many (GTA) highways.
An essential tool, according to OTA, is the 2015 Games Trip Planner, a real-time information app providing live traffic information around the GTA. The app will give you the best route to get to your final location with alternate route options based on traffic density.
You can also sign up to receive instant email, text alerts or hands-free audible alerts about incidents, travel times, time changes of events, along your customized routes on the ‘My Routes’ tab. Download a desktop or mobile app version here.
The MTO’s own dedicated webpage, www.Ontario.ca/games will also be updated each evening at 8:00 p.m. to forecast the following day’s expected traffic congestion based on the Pan Am events of that day.
The site also allows visitors and businesses to create a traffic plan, receive email updates, and provides detailed maps of game venues, routing and all sorts of road restrictions throughout the GTA.
Upon hearing of some of the plans, OTA and several carrier attendees urged officials to consider making policies as fluid as possible so that decision-makers can have the flexibility to change rules in reaction to unforeseen events, such as a major accident that exacerbates congestion or worse-than-expected traffic delays around venues.
Carriers also stressed that traffic planners should work closely with police on rapid clearance of accidents on highways.
MTO confirmed that officials should be able to adapt their procedures if necessary, based upon consultation with stakeholders, although they didn’t provide specifics, but noted that each games route has two ‘alternative routing options” in case of an emergency or major delay.