What an exciting time to travel around the region this summer! With the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games less than a month away and the weather warming up, there is no better time to rethink the way you travel. Smart Commute is calling all you Greater Golden Horseshoe folks to rethink your commute and explore your travel options by following the 4 Rs: Reduce, Re-mode, Re-time and Reroute. Changes are coming to the road and transit network during the Games, so why not shake things up with your daily commute?
- to use a different mode or method of travel; to change your modal behaviour; to be multi-modal
Whatever your mode of transportation is, summer time is a great time to switch it up and try something new. Now, that doesn’t mean if you’re already cycling you should try driving alone for a change (why would you ever stop cycling?). Re-moding your commute is all about exploring your options. What could that mean? You can start or join a carpool, use public transit, or try integrating walking or cycling for a portion of your commute.
Carpool: an arrangement between people to make a journey together in a single vehicle.
Carpooling is a great way to cut costs, reduce stress and help ease congestion on the roads. Carpooling in the GTHA definitely has its perks, as there are designated lanes for carpoolers on major highways – called high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes—which allow you to bypass the traffic. Better yet, during the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, 250 km of temporary HOV lanes will be in place on Highway 404, Highway 427, Highway 401, the QEW, the Don Valley Parkway, the Gardiner Expressway, Lake Shore Blvd., and Jane St. in York Region.
Want to take advantage of these lanes? Chat with your coworkers or neighbours about carpooling or use the Smart Commute tool to find someone to share the ride.
Also, for the duration of the Pan Am Games, all HOV lanes will be converted from 2+ occupants to 3+ occupants. This means that from June 29—July 27, using these lanes will require 3+ occupants per vehicle (unless you want to pay the $110 fine and lose three demerit points…ouch!).
Who can use these lanes?
Temporary HOV lanes will be in effect every day from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Lanes are open to:
- motor vehicles with 3+ occupants (from June 29 – July 27)
- motor vehicles with 2+ occupants (from July 28 – August 18)
- electric vehicles with green licence plates (on provincial highways only)
- licensed taxis, emergency vehicles and public transit vehicles
- Accredited games vehicles used to transport athletes, media and officials.
Public Transit: any form of transportation that charges set fares, runs fixed routes, and is available to the public such as buses, subways, ferries, and trains
Transit can be a great alternative to taking your car. Whether it is taking the bus or the train, public transit can be a cost efficient (no maintenance or gas fees) and a time-saving (no circling the parking lot) alternative.
During the Games, enhanced service will be provided on GO Transit as well as TTC to help move people around the region. A great tool to plan your trip is Triplinx, a new online transit trip planning tool and information resource that pulls all GTHA transit information together.
Walking and Cycling
Get Games ready by dusting off those sneakers and two wheels! With more than five cycle sporting events throughout the Games, it’s no doubt that cycling is a popular sport. Whether it is for leisure or errands, or even your commute, you can rediscover your city through a whole new lens by choosing to walk or cycle.
Walk: to move or travel by foot at a regular and fairly slow pace by lifting and setting down each foot in turn.
If distance is not an issue, walking could be the best way to get to work: it costs nothing, has zero GHG emissions and promotes physical health. Many of us live fairly sedentary lives, so adding in those extra steps into your daily commute can have immense health benefits. Did you know that the average person walks at a speed of 5km per hour? If you live within 5km of your work or station, try walking once a week and notice the difference in your energy levels!
Cycle: to ride a bicycle
Live a little further out? Give cycling a try during the Games period. Use an online mapping tool like the Smart Commute tool or Google maps to plot out your route and get travel time estimates. Plus—as an active-living legacy for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, a multi-use path, known as the Pan Am Path, will connect more than 80km of Toronto’s trails—so start exploring today! If you discover a great route, share it with others using OpenStreetMap.
Mix & Match
If you cannot commit to a whole new mode, try mixing and matching your commute! Walk or cycle to a bus stop, carpool or take transit to your station. In fact, most GO stations have designated permit-based carpool parking spaces—meaning you don’t have to circle the lot for a space if you arrive with a friend. Check to see if your station has carpool parking, and apply online for a carpool parking permit.
Committing to one of these modes, even for just one day a week, can really help make a difference to our road and transit networks during the Games period.