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Pan Am's Hamilton traffic plan

Love it or hate it, you may as well embrace the Pan Am Games. The Games are expected to bring in a lot of traffic. Here's Hamilton's plan to handle the games.

Plan ahead and take transit are your best options during games

Pan Am transportation planners are hoping people using transit can help cut traffic during the games. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Whether you are planning on going to Pan Am events or not, you should start thinking now about how the traffic that will come with the games will affect your commute and or daily errands.

With the games fast approaching local traffic plans give you a glimpse of what's to come. And that includes traffic and high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on highways between Hamilton and Toronto — not to mention the province's request for residents to reduce vehicle traffic by 20 per cent.

In Hamilton, there is a planned route, but no lanes reserved for Pan Am officials and athletes. There are some road restrictions and closures around the stadium itself, but with soccer games at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. during the games (which run from July 10 to 26), the city has opted to keep the lanes open to all traffic.

Here's how Hamilton will be handling the increased congestion:

HOV, everywhere except in Hamilton city streets

The traffic plan kicks in five days ahead of the Games, and is in effect from July 5 to 27. Between Toronto and Hamilton, the Gardiner Expressway and QEW and 403 will have a dedicated HOV lane, one which uses the existing HOV lane through Halton and takes over a lane on the remaining portions of the highway.

Don't forget — the definition of a high-occupancy vehicle changes to require three people instead of the current two during the games.

Specific route, no lane closures in city

The Pan Am Games will use a specific route through the city, but the lanes will be open for anyone — cars, buses and bikes — to use.

The planned route runs along Main Street from McMaster University to Gage Ave. and along King Street from Gage back to Highway 403/QEW. The area around Tim Hortons Field, which becomes the CIBC Hamilton Soccer Stadium, will also have major lane restrictions and closures, which are detailed below.

Hard closure around stadium

The City of Hamilton will not dedicated lanes for Pan Am Games traffic, but is outlining what routes they will be using so residents can plan ahead. (Cory Ruf/CBC)

Residents in this zone will have vehicle access passes for the number of driveway spots they have. In a presentation, the city explicitly says passes will not be issued for lawn parking. Homes without a driveway will be able to get parking passes for an alternate location nearby. 

The area is closed to all other traffic.

Soft closure around the stadium

In the soft closure area, residents can park on the street if they have the appropriate pass. All other parked cars will be ticketed, although homes with driveways will not need passes.

No park zone

With a dedicated left turn lane from Main St. onto Gage Ave. some areas residents and Tiger-Cats fans would normally park on are now no parking zones. The red dotted areas on the map below outline all the no-parking areas, which include stretches of Main, King and Gage streets, east of Sherman Ave. N.

HSR transit free with ticket

The province previously asked residents to steer clear of the roads, asking for a 20 per cent drop in vehicle traffic during the games. HSR is free with a Pan Am ticket, and shuttles will be running from the GO Station and the stadium.

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