York Region’s rapid transit vision is becoming reality - A 2015 year-in-progress review


YORK REGION - Significant progress was made on the implementation of the York Region Viva Bus Rapid Transit (vivaNext)in 2015.

The Davis Drive rapidway in Newmarket opened in November 2015. This new "Yellow" Viva route travels within dedicated median transit lanes from Yonge Street to Roxborough Road, and continues in mixed traffic with curbside stops and a turn-around at the new park and ride facility at Highway 404. The park and ride facility opened at the same time, and was built in partnership with GO Transit, York Region and the Ministry of Transportation. GO buses will begin service to the new park and ride lot in January 2016, and these projects will provide enhanced connections between GO and Viva. Full boulevard works including landscaping and sidewalks will be completed in spring 2016. Once this work is complete, Davis Drive will have sidewalks lined with 470 trees and more than 21,000 shrubs and perennial plants.

The vision of a vibrant, new downtown for Vaughan is taking shape along Highway 7. The Highway 7 West rapidway is well underway. Four median platform stations are near completion, paving at major intersections is complete, and installation of concrete planters continues in advance of tree planting in 2016. General traffic lanes have been shifted to their final configuration east of Jane Street, and rapidway and station completion west of Jane Street is being coordinated with the opening of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension. The contract for implementation of the remaining rapidway work along Highway 7 West in Vaughan was awarded in September, and utility and geotechnical work began in the fall, with utility relocations expected to start in 2016.

Utility work along Yonge Street in Richmond Hill and Newmarket began in 2015 to support rapidway construction. Road work is expected to begin in spring 2016.

The remaining Highway 7 East rapidway segment in Markham opened at the beginning of 2015, and finishing touches were completed in the summer. This project has won multiple awards, and has resulted in an average of 35% shorter commute times.

The York Viva BRT project opened an Operations, Maintenance and Storage Facility in July 2015, built to LEED Silver standards, which will support the growing fleet of Viva vehicles. The park and ride facility at Highway 404 and Davis Drive is the first of several facilities across the region to encourage sustainable mobility. Designs are progressing at mobility hubs in Vaughan and Markham on new transit terminals to ensure passengers are well connected to transit.

Project Background
The Davis Drive rapidway in Newmarket extends 2.6 kilometres from Yonge Street to Roxborough Road, with Viva rapid transit service continuing eastward in the curb lane to Highway 404.

Phase one of the Highway 7 West rapidway construction in Vaughan will extend 3.6 kilometres from Edgeley Boulevard to the GO Barrie bridge. The new viva station in the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre development area will connect the rapidway to the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension and to an inter-regional bus terminal. Phase two includes approximately 12 kilometres of rapidways on the existing Viva route on Highway 7 West, from Edgeley Boulevard to Helen Street, and from the GO Barrie bridge to Yonge Street, via the existing Viva route on Bathurst and Centre Streets.

The Highway 7 East rapidway through Markham and Richmond Hill extends 6 kilometres from Bayview Avenue to Warden Avenue at Enterprise Boulevard, via South Town Centre Boulevard and Cedarland Drive. The segment west of Highway 404 opened in August 2013. The segment east of Highway 404 to Warden Avenue opened in August 2014. The last segment down South Town Centre Boulevard and across to Warden Avenue opened on this past January.

In Richmond Hill, the Yonge Street rapidway will extend 6.5 kilometres from Highway 7 to 19th Avenue/Gamble Road, including seven new viva stations. In the heritage area north of Major Mackenzie Drive, Viva will continue in mixed traffic. In Newmarket, the rapidway will extend 2.4 kilometres on Yonge Street from just south of Mulock Drive to Davis Drive, and will include three new viva stations.

These projects are part of the York Viva bus rapid transit (BRT) project which represents a $1.4 billion transit investment from the Government of Ontario, and is part of Metrolinx's Regional Transportation Plan, a 25-year plan for an integrated and sustainable transit and transportation system in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). The project is being implemented by Metrolinx, an agency of the Province of Ontario.

Visit metrolinx.com more information.

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