TORONTO — Organizers of this summer’s Pan American Games in the Toronto and Golden Horseshoe region are advising ticket holders to take advantage of free public transit, warning there is no parking at many sporting venues.
People with tickets to Pan Am competitions will be able to ride GO trains and public transit systems in Toronto, Hamilton, Burlington, Brampton, Milton, Oakville, Durham, York, St. Catharines, Welland and Peel without paying.
“All they need to do is show their ticket to the driver and they can get on transit,” said Allen Vansen of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee. “A family can travel from Kitchener to Toronto on the GO train for free to watch beach volleyball or a field hockey match, and people in Toronto can jump on the TTC’s subway, bus or streetcar to get to events in the city.”
There will be no parking for the opening and closing ceremonies at the Pan Am Dome (Rogers Centre) or at the Pan Am Park at Exhibition Place on Toronto’s waterfront. However, ticket holders can reserve parking for all of the soccer events at the new stadium in Hamilton.
“In Hamilton, one unique feature of our plan where there are multiple parking lots for that venue, individuals will have the opportunity to pre-book a parking space,” said Games’ spokesman Andrew Posluns.
“In some cases and some venues, driving will be required, and parking locations may be different for spectators from what they are used to, and at some venues there will be park-and-ride shuttles as opposed to parking next to the venues.”
There will be extra TTC service and GO trains during the Games, along with hundreds of additional staff on the transit services to help guide people to events.
There is also a new app (2015gamestripplanner.ca) to help people determine the best routes by transit or driving to each Pan Am event, which will incorporate up-to-date traffic reports and even updated parking availability at some venues.
The Pan Am transportation plan also includes 235 kilometres of high occupancy vehicle lanes on Highways 401, 427, the Queen Elizabeth Way, the Gardiner Expressway, Lakeshore Boulevard and the Don Valley Parkway, which will be in effect from June 29 until Aug. 18.
The OPP promised a “significantly increased police presence” to ensure motorists get the message about staying out of the HOV lanes unless there are at least three people in the vehicle. The number of people in a vehicle using the HOV lanes can be just two from July 28 until Aug. 18 for the Parapan American Games.
“A fine for HOV violation is $110 plus three demerit points,” said OPP Inspector Andre Phelps. “The OPP will actively enforce of compliance with temporary HOV lanes as of June 29.”
About 250,000 visitors are expected for the Pan Am Games from July 10 to 26 and the Parapan Am Games from Aug. 7 to 15, with more than 10,000 athletes from 41 countries competing in 51 different sports at sites in 16 Ontario municipalities.
Only about 400,000 of the 1.4 million tickets available for the Games have been sold so far.
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Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press