Residents, businesses near ACC, Rogers Centre require 'security plan parking pass' due to Jays games
Police say road closures around venues during games, events are for pedestrian safety
Residents and businesses near Rogers Centre and the Air Canada Centre will be required to obtain a new parking pass from Toronto police due to increased traffic and enhanced security procedures in the area caused by Blue Jays home games and other events.
Toronto police spokesperson Meaghan Gray told CBC Toronto that roads near the venues will be closed off for the safety of pedestrians going to and leaving events.
"By closing off the area to road traffic, it just makes it safer for them to get around," she said.
However, Gray said people who live and operate on the those affected streets would be exempt from the closures if they obtain a pass.
"Any residents in the area — or businesses — have been provided with parking passes for their residence so that any of those road closures that are in place won't impact those people, who are just looking to go to and from their home," she said.
A "security plan parking pass" obtained by CBC Toronto shows the zone for which the passes are applicable stretches from Spadina Avenue in the west to Bay Street in the east, and Front Street in the north to Queens Quay in the south.
There are three zones designated in that area.
The property management company for one condo build in the area only informed residents on Wednesday in an email obtained by CBC Toronto, just a day before the Blue Jays' home opener.
The email said residents are required to provide to a photo ID and signature when obtaining the pass from management or security, and that police informed them that the disruptions will occur "for approximately one hour at the beginning &/or end of the events."
When asked about the apparent suddenness of the announcement, Gray said the security changes were shared with residents and businesses "several months ago" and that police has been "working on a notification to the public."
The Blue Jays play their first home game of the season at the Rogers Centre on Thursday.
Mayor John Tory said the new restrictions came from "an overall security assessment of the city" and not a specific threat.
He also said it's unfortunate that some have had less than 24 hours notice of the changes, but he believes they are for the public good.
"You always wish people could have as much advanced notice of these kinds of things as possible," he said.
"I think that what people would say... is that they believe that steps taken to promote and protect public safety are more important than anything else... They would probably endorse that as being something they would prefer to see done even if it causes some minor inconveniences."