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Traffic -- and transit -- chaos in downtown Toronto tonight

A word to the wise: if you’re planning to travel anywhere near downtown Toronto tonight, by car, bus or streetcar — don’t!

Several thousand Tamils, protesting against the ongoing civil war in Sri Lanka and the deaths of Tamil civilians, have blocked the Gardiner Expressway in both directions at the Spadina interchange and also the intersection of College Street and University Avenue.

I just spent 4½ hours traveling from Hamilton to downtown Toronto — 40 minutes from Hamilton to the Humber River and the rest of the time waiting on the Gardiner.

Some GO buses are detouring along Lake Shore Boulevard West to travel to and from the Union Station GO Bus Terminal, but Lake Shore is operating at capacity and is gradually jamming from the extra traffic.

Toronto Police Service officers have also shut down parts of the southbound Don Valley Parkway to prevent motorists from reaching the Gardiner. The Police have closed the DVP at various locations tonight — earlier this evening the Parkway was closed completely south of Highway 401, although more recently, the Police have opened the southbound lanes as far south as Eglinton Avenue East.

The Police are also blocking southbound Spadina Avenue south of King Street West to help avoid more congestion at the entrance onto the Gardiner Expressway. Some Transit Toronto readers report that earlier some of the protestors blocked the streetcar tracks south of Front Street West and that all southbound streetcars operating along the 510 Spadina route are short-turning at King Street.

At Queen’s Park, the protestors are blocking parts of the intersection with University Avenue. 506 Carlton streetcars have been detouring at various times tonight around University Avenue along McCaul, Dundas and Parliament Streets.

Motorists trying to avoid the chaos on the Lake Shore and Gardiner should also avoid Adelaide Street West, which is blocked between Bay and Yonge Streets as part of the construction of the Bay - Adelaide Centre.

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