[caption id="attachment_81409" align="aligncenter" width="678"] A map of proposed high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes for the Pan Am Games. CITYNEWS/Amanda Ferguson.[/caption]
Toronto, Ontario - The good news is that residents of Canada's most populous city of 2.8 million people will be getting 150 km (~93 miles) of new High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.
The province is proposing the HOV lanes across southern Ontario for Toronto’s 2015 Pan Am Games.
The lanes will cost between $75-$90 million, Chan said.
The lanes allow those cars who carry passengers to enjoy speedier rides throughout the busy highways crisscrossing this metropolis. The bad news is that roads will not be expanded to add the new HOV lanes. Rather, existing lanes will be purloined from general use to specific HOV access for the public good.
Admittedly, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport Michael Chan, says that without additional law enforcement there will be no way to prevent any driver from using the HOV lanes. The whole system will depend on the "honor system". If people adhere to the requirements for HOV lane access, overall commute times should decrease traffic by 20% during the 2015 Pan Am Games.
However, not everyone agrees with the ministry's math. It is estimated that the games will bring in 250,000 visitors to the city which will translate to an awful lot of additional cars on the roads. However, the ministry believes that overall traffic will still reduce by 20%.
The HOV lanes will not only reduce travel times, Chan said, “it will also reduce our carbon footprint.”
“We are very confident that the 20 per cent target is achievable. In Vancouver and London, they actually achieved 30 to 40 per cent [reduction],” he said.
Detractors of the plan criticize the ministry for a lack of a real plan to deal with the impending traffic chaos.
“The whole thing worries me that they don’t have a grip on this,” said PC critic Rod Jackson.
The plan also calls for a 20% reduction in traffic during the games, which Jackson isn’t buying.
“They say there will be an increase of 250,000 people visiting the city of Toronto during the Pan Am Games, then in the same breath, tell us there’s going to be a 20% reduction in traffic,” he said. “It’s frankly absurd that they believe that traffic is going to decrease during the Pan Am Games,” he said. “I just don’t see it happening.”
He also slammed Chan for not having any plan to enforce the HOV lanes.
“I don’t see much of an education plan, I don’t see much of an enforcement plan and I see traffic chaos happening during the Pan Am Games,” Jackson said.
The Pan Am Games run July 10-26, 2015, and the Parapan Am Games, Aug. 7-15, 2015. A total of 250,000 people are expected to visit Toronto for the events, and that estimated number could increase.
150 km of HOV lanes proposed for Toronto’s Pan Am Games
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