Pan Am Games organizers unveil high-tech traffic centre
TTC says it has a contingency plan to respond to emergencies and extra riders
As the Pan Am Games approach, so does the prospect of traffic chaos on GTA highways and downtown streets.
But officials say they have a plan in place that will ease the stress of getting around.
And they'll execute those plans from the brand new, high-tech Unified Transportation Coordination Centre (UTCC) located near Highway 400 and Finch Avenue.
Jamie Austin, the centre's director, says many of Ontario's top transportation officials as well as representatives from the OPP and Toronto Police will be stationed at UTCC during the Games.
They will have access to more than 240 cameras positioned across GTHA roads to make sure no athletes get stuck on their way to an event.
High-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes have been popping up on highways all around the city and starting Monday, the new and previously existing lanes on southern Ontario highways will require vehicles to carry either three or more passengers. The plan, officials say, is to use the designated lanes to transport athletes to venues outside of Toronto.
OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt says police will be patrolling highways ensuring drivers are sticking to the HOV rule. Those who do not, he said, will be "subject to a traffic stop, a $110 fine and three demerit points."
The TTC is planning on beefing up its service to help move the extra 250,000 visitors expected to converge on the GTA.
"Typically, we scale back our service in the summer by about 20 per cent, so we're rolling that back in to kind of pick up the slack with the Games," Michael Hazlett, the manager of the TTC's Transit Control Centre, told CBC News.
Hazlett says the TTC has also "scaled back vacation quotas" so that there are more staff, such as electricians, mechanics and signal maintainers, to respond to emergencies.
"They'll be placed strategically, ready to go," he said.