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G20: Tim Burrows answers your traffic and security questions

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Police officers stand watch over a crosswalk on Front Street in Toronto (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

By Your Voice Team, CBC News

As G20 preparations are completed and the city of Toronto begins to play host to world leaders, some local residents are still wondering what precautions are necessary to avoid traffic jams, security blocks and other inconveniences.

burrows150.jpgSgt. Tim Burrows, a member of the Toronto police traffic services department, is part of the G8/G20 Integrated Security Unit.

He's working with the ISU to provide citizens with up-to-date information on where to go, what to avoid and how to get around downtown Toronto in the coming days.

He took your questions on traffic and security and what the impact of the summit will be on residents. Read his answers below.


Dave M: Hi Tim, Just want to know from where 427 southbound will be closed for G20. I am coming to work from Derry/427 and reaching Browns Line/Horner Ave.

Sgt. Tim Burrows: You will be sent into the core lanes of the 427 SB. You can access the collectors at the Dundas transfer. There will be no closure to the 427 except when a motorcade is moving, and then only on a temporary basis.
 
Lauren Daneman: Hi, I have plans to go to Niagara this weekend and was wondering if the G20 conference should affect us. We plan on taking the 400 to the 401 west, then take Highway 6 south in order to avoid the 427 and the Oakville area of the QEW. We are planning on leaving at around 5 or 6 p.m. We plan on returning the same way late Sunday evening. I am from Richmond Hill. Thanks.

Burrows: I would personally take the 407 to the QEW and avoid it all.

Jayne McCaw: Hi Tim, Thank you for being so accessible at this time. My question is -- I am planning on travelling on the 401West on June 26 at around 9 a.m. from Yonge Street to London, Ont. -- is this a good idea?

Burrows: You will probably see a slowdown near the airport, but other than that, you're good.

CBC News: If people are out at protests -- whether they are participants or just in the area -- what sort of safety precautions should they take? Where do you expect much of the protest activity to occur on Saturday and Sunday?

Burrows: Everyone at all times should be aware of their surroundings and self-aware for their own well-being. If you are near an area that it looks like it has potential for violence to occur ... leave immediately. If you see people preparing for what could be violent actions, or acting in a manner that seems suspicious, call police. If someone tried to talk you into an act of violence, don't engage. FOLLOW ALL POLICE DIRECTIONS. We are here to protect you, the world leaders and ourselves. We wouldn't do anything to compromise our sworn duties. It is impossible to determine where all the protests will take place. Many of the organizers that we are working with are giving us some notice, while others will not. The protest areas at Queen's Park North and Allen Gardens are popular choices, as I am sure the fence area will be. Drink water and eat.

David Smith: Hi Tim, This Saturday morning, a group of us are traveling to Sarnia to perform in a show on Saturday evening. We anticipate driving back to the Toronto that night. In order to make the travelling efficient, we hope to meet up at a 401 Park-n-Ride or a highway services west of the city and then car-pool from there to Sarnia. Will there be any G20 restrictions to use of a services area or a Park-n-Ride facility for leaving the cars for the day? If so, do you have any suggestions for a rendezvous point. We have people linking up from downtown Toronto and also Markham.

Burrows: No restrictions for the Park-n-Rides. There are several west end ones on the 401. The best ones outside of Toronto are Trafalgar Road, Highway 25.

Eve-Anne Tremblay: I'll be leaving from Church and Wellesley to go to Montreal on the morning of Saturday, July 26. Should I expect delays (DVP North and 401 East)? I'm travelling with a newborn baby and don't want to end up stuck in traffic for hours. Thanks!

Burrows: There will be some traffic delays on Saturday. They are not expected to be as significant as Friday or Sunday. Go north from your area, DVP should be fine for a run to the 401 eastbound.
 
LG: I would like to know whether the Gardiner Expressway will be closed Friday in either direction. I travel to work on the Gardiner.

Burrows: There will be intermittent closures on the Gardiner when there are motorcades travelling. They will be short but could be compounded by several in a row. I have been suggesting regularly ... take public transit. GO and TTC have no planned disruptions to their service.

CBC News: Online and on Twitter there's lots of reaction to the regulation that designates the fence a public work and thereby giving police new powers around the G20 weekend. A lot of people are asking why they weren't made aware of it sooner, and why the ISU did not address it until news of it broke Thursday. Would you like to respond to that concern?

Burrows: The regulation defining the fence area as a public work is the only new part of the law. The law has been around for a long time. The regulation was heard on June 2, passed June 14 and published June 16. It is only for the period of June 21 to June 28. Our officers have been advising people of the restrictions from the beginning, just not the wording of the act. I have said many times in interviews, anyone approaching the fence line will be questioned, and either allowed to pass or re-directed. We don't often cite the name of the law in messaging, just the points that are important to the public for awareness and knowledge.

Thanks for all the questions and the opportunity to answer them. What a great way to help educate and inform!

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