Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to flock to the GTHA for next summer's Pan Am Games but the province maintains it won't affect traffic too much.
It's released its transportation plan for the sporting event which could create chaos on not only the 400 series highways but also downtown Toronto.
Included in the 770km "Games Route Network" which is seen as the preferred way to get to venues all over the area, is a proposal for priority lanes which would act as HOV lanes to carry around athletes, officials and spectators. Car pools and public transit could also use them.
They would essentially take away a lane of traffic on portions of the 401, 427, 407, DVP/404 and almost the entirety of the Gardiner/QEW. In town, the lanes are proposed for Jarvis and Lakeshore.
But the province says it plans to reduce local traffic by 20 per cent before the influx of tourists and Pan Am athletes come into town. Minister responsible for the Games Michael Chan claims they have a strategy to push people onto public transit.
Details on these "priority lanes" are still being worked out: if they will be 24 hour HOV lanes during the 28-day period or if they will be in effect during certain hours to reduce impact on rush hours.
Progressive Conservative Pan Am critic Rod Jackson finds it hard to believe that traffic won't be affected by essentially removing one lane on busy stretches of highways and roads. He says this transportation plan is poorly thought out.
NDP Tourism, Culture and Sport critic Paul Miller says closing down lanes for 28 days will be a disaster. He says it's "crazy" for the province to suggest that traffic will be able to go down by 20 per cent during the sporting event when the area can't get a handle on traffic on a normal week.