transformation >> made in York Region

October 14th, 2017

Transformation >> made in York Region

York Region’s rapid rate of growth is increasing along with housing options in our downtown areas. Some of our communities look more like cities than towns, with Vaughan and Markham even changing their name from “Town” to “City.”

This increase in growth that York Region has experienced has influenced the ways in which our cities and towns are represented. Markham was named Canada’s most diverse city and is known as Canada’s high-tech capital, and Vaughan is one of York Region’s fastest-growing municipalities, and home to exciting achievements. Some of the fun ones: fastest roller-coaster in Canada, and tallest condominium building in York Region.

On Highway 7 just west of Jane Street is Vaughan’s new vibrant downtown, Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC). The VMC is being built with live-work-play in mind – a mix of residential, business and retail, combined with transportation connections and planned greenspace.

Markham is well on its way, with Highway 7 East transformed from a car-focused highway to a complete street with sidewalks, bike lanes and rapid transit. Vaughan’s transformation is unfolding now, with new housing and transportation options to support the growing number of new residents and businesses. This is transformation >> made in York Region.

 

By Adrianna Damiano

designed to connect: the VMC rapidway station on Highway 7

October 4th, 2017

designed to connect: the VMC rapidway station on Highway 7

If you’re a Viva customer, you know that vivastations generally follow the same design, with a curved glass canopy providing shelter from the elements, and extending over the concrete platform and enclosed glass waiting area.

easy on the eyes

Elegant curves and expanses of glass, warmed by wood. Open and airy while still welcoming, human-scaled and sheltering — these are the main themes in the vivaNext design language. A vivaNext structure, whether it’s a vivastation, the towers at Bayview Station, or the Operations, Maintenance and Storage Facility [OMSF] in Richmond Hill, contain those recognizable elements and marry functionality with beauty.

We believe that taking public transit should be a great experience. It should be convenient, comfortable and reliable, but also aesthetically pleasing.

the biggest vivastation yet

So in keeping with this overall design goal, we’re excited to report the progress on the new bus rapid transit [BRT] station taking shape on Highway 7 in the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre [VMC] transit hub.

With the vivaNext curves as our visual starting point, we needed to tailor the design of the new station to its unique role: linking Viva passengers arriving via the BRT lanes in the middle of Highway 7 to the subway trains below and to the YRT bus terminal nearby.

connecting connections

Passengers connecting between the new Line 1 TTC subway and Viva literally don’t have to cross the road to get to the subway or the new SmartCentres Place Bus Terminal north of the subway station. Once in the station, stairways and escalators and elevators will make it easy to connect to the subway concourse level below, and to an underground pedestrian path connecting to SmartCentres Place Bus Terminal for YRT. For pedestrians and cyclists in the area, there’s also going to be street level crosswalks and a plaza on the north side of Highway 7 connecting to the subway station and YRT bus terminal.

Over the next several weeks, we’re going to be posting more information and descriptions of the wonderful new VMC BRT station, including its design and an introduction to its amenities. And then before you know it, we’re all going to be able to enjoy fully rapid transit connections between York Region and Toronto. That’s something to really celebrate!

a sense of history in York Region

September 27th, 2017

a sense of history in York Region

150 years ago, York Region looked vastly different than it does now. Instead of a Starbucks on every corner, wide expanses of farmland were dotted with small villages. Small settlements defined the “downtown” of each, creating a sense of community.

This sense of community has flourished as the population of these cities and towns has grown. With a population that surpassed a million in York Region; the change in population has also been reflected in the community landscapes. The once quaint small-town streets have evolved and transformed into bustling metropolitan hubs, in and of themselves. Each hub is now being enhanced with transit, connecting people to housing and jobs, and businesses offering services, shopping, dining and entertainment!

These bustling towns and cities are exciting, but if you yearn for a simpler time, a visit to Black Creek Pioneer Village [see map] may be just what you need. Whether learning how to make a candle, or being an apprentice for the day with the blacksmith, Pioneer Village gives you the opportunity to experience how early residents lived in southern Ontario.

Once the new TTC Line 1 extension to Vaughan opens this December, getting to Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto will be even easier! Pioneer Village is one of six new stations being added to Line 1, on Steeles West between Keele and Jane StreetsYou’ll be able to get to TTC subway easily in Vaughan, with the new Vaughan Metropolitan Centre vivastation opening on Highway 7 with direct connections from Viva to the subway station below, and a new SmartCentres Place Bus Terminal opening for YRT customers, just two-minutes’ walk north. Transit agencies in the GTA continue to ‘pioneer’ new transit for our modern age, allowing our ever-expanding communities to stay connected. Unfolding histories – made in York Region.

 

by Adrianna Damiano

history of transportation along Yonge Street

September 15th, 2017

Click the image to view our YouTube video on the history of transportation along Yonge Street. 

Yonge Street was first initiated by Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe in 1796. Although the road – as we know it today – was commissioned as a military road, local historians indicate that the route was travelled centuries before by First Nations people.

In the early years, individuals who utilized Yonge Street were often reliant on their own strength to travel the route, often portaging, walking or snowshoeing with their belongings to their destination. As oxen and horses became more accessible, historians express that travellers started to rely on these animals as a way to transport them to their final destination.

Research suggests that with the influx of travellers, so did the need for transportation options. Established in 1849, H. B. Williams’ Omnibus Bus Lines provided the first known public transit alternative [horse-drawn carriages] within York/Toronto. Within a decade, however, the first street railway system—with radial services to outlying towns—was established on the same route and became a more popular option.

History has shown us that at the beginning of World War I, horses were becoming a less favourable choice for commerce. Around this time, motorized vehicles brought about unprecedented economic improvements for retailers and consumers alike.

With the onset of motorized vehicles, historians illustrate that Canadians wanted to improve both the quality and safety of their local roads. To improve their mode of transportation, locals started laying planks of wood—similar to a boardwalk—to create a more even surface to travel on.

More than 200 years later, the demand for safe, efficient and reliable public transit remains strong along the significant arterial route that is Yonge Street. Today, Viva travels Yonge Street in mixed traffic, but in the future it will have its own dedicated transit lane to further improve service along the import corridor.

Keep an eye out for the second video that will explain further the history of transportation along Yonge Street.

To subscribe for construction updates, visit vivaNext.com/subscribe.

#MyYongeStreet selfie contest winners

September 13th, 2017

With summer winding down and fall nearly on our doorstep, it’s time to pause and celebrate the winners of our #MyYongeStreet selfie contest. Business support is a big part of our rapidway projects, as we know that long-term construction can be disruptive for business owners. To encourage people to rekindle their love of shopping and dining on Yonge Street, with the help of the Town of Newmarket and Chamber of Commerce, we put together a fun and easy contest to enter and win!

Over the span of three weeks, we had more than 50 entries from people who chose to stop, shop and dine on Yonge, supporting the businesses that are the life of the community. With random draws, we gave away three weekly $100 prizes and three grand prize Yonge Street shopping sprees valued at $500, $750 and $1,000.

Scroll down to view some stories from our grand prize winners.

 

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Michelle’s Story – $750 Winner:

Wow! This is amazing! You have just made my day.

– Michelle

 

Kim’s Story – $500 Winner:

I am a single Mom of 2. [My] eldest is [an] independent/successful 23yr old who lives in Ottawa. My youngest, 20yr [old], with Down Syndrome, lives with me.  When I’m at work, I’ll often have my son hang out in [the] clinic so he isn’t home alone.  Lately, he’s [wanted] to visit the All Star Sports, which is close to where I work.

My youngest son walks over with a pad and paper and wanders around to write his Christmas Wish List.  My son is a Special Olympian for Aurora (baseball, basketball and golf), [and] is a collector of anything sports related.  He has quite a collection of jerseys/t-shirts ([and] proudly wears them daily).

I noticed a couple weeks ago while in All Star Sports […], the contest from viva[Next] to help support local business during the Viva construction on Yonge St., between Sawmill and Davis.

A fun contest – submit a selfie at the store affected by construction – was a creative way to say thank you to business owners.  So, I snapped a picture of [my son] with his new Chicago Black Hawks t-[shirt] purchased at All Star Sports, and for fun, submitted his picture.

I was super excited to find out that we were selected a winner in the contest.  Sweet! $500 goes a long way in these shops and so I wanted to get my youngest son his desired jersey from All Star Sport. A sweet treat for me at Beautiful Boutique and a massage certificate for my eldest son when he comes home for a visit – a wonderful massage with at Daylyn Wellness.

I’m grateful and blessed – thank you viva[Next] for the surprise win!

– Kimberly

 

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Thank you to everyone who took part in the contest and to businesses along Yonge Street in Newmarket for supporting it.  Your patience and support has been much appreciated!

To sign-up for construction updates, visit vivanext.com/subscribe.

a look forward >> fall and winter

September 11th, 2017

a look forward >> fall and winter

We’re holding onto summer, but signs of fall are all around us. Kids waiting for buses in new jackets and boots, fall decorations in the stores, and even the geese are starting to head south.

We know many students walk and take our Viva buses to get to and from school, so we hope those who choose to drive remember to stay alert and keep an eye out for kids, especially at intersections and in construction zones.

Rapid transit construction continues this fall and winter in Newmarket, Richmond Hill and Vaughan. This December, students in Vaughan and at York University will have exciting new transit options, with Viva buses on the new Highway 7 rapidway taking riders to the subway extension – in service in December – along with a YRT bus terminal within walking distance.

Did you miss a few things on your back-to-school list? If so, be sure to check out the shops in our construction areas >> Shop 7, Shop Yonge, and Shop Bathurst & Centre!

 

the kids of Bathurst & Centre have vision >> here’s the colouring contest video!

August 30th, 2017

This spring, the young artists in and around the Bathurst & Centre neighbourhood were asked to imagine the future of transit in the vivaNext Next Stop… Bathurst & Centre! colouring contest.

And now, you can check out our latest video to see some of the public colouring sessions held at the Bathurst Clark Library and the Dufferin Clark Library, some of the wonderfully imaginative entries, the judging session conducted by vivaNext staff – and the winners.

Just to shout out the winners again, within the three categories, the winners were: Anton [6-8 years], Daniel [9-10 years] and Lale [11-12 years]. Visit the contest page for a closer look at the winning artwork.

We hope the kids who participated had as much fun creating these masterpieces as we had viewing the gallery of all the entries.

The wonderful ideas and creative details expressed by the young people in their art entries is inspiring. We can’t wait to see what they design and create as they grow up!

To find out other activities we’ve been to in the community, have a look at the vivaNext community events page.

 

 

For information on ongoing vivaNext projects, be sure to subscribe to email updates, and follow us on Twitter. Questions or comments? Comment below or email us at contactus@vivanext.com.

 

bridge expansion >> driving piles and pouring piers

August 25th, 2017

When you go under a bridge, what do you see? Huge concrete columns – piers – that support it. The five-metre expansion of the bridge on Highway 7 West over Highway 400 is becoming fully visible as the new piers are completed. In the photo above you can see the three completed piers and crews pouring the concrete cap for the fourth.

Each one of these piers is held up with a set of nine piles. Piles are long poles driven straight down, until they reach a surface solid enough to hold everything above. In this case, the piles are each nine metres long.

In the photo, the tall piece of equipment beside the west abutment wall is the pile driver, which is – as you’d expect – used to drive the piles into the ground.

On top of the pile-supported-piers, there will be bridge footings, girders, and a wider deck to make room for cars and trucks – as well as buses on new vivaNext dedicated rapidway lanes and a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists.

While it’s true that piers are just a part of the bridge, the bridge is part of a road, which is part of a rapid transit system, which connects people to where they need to go.

Next time you go under a bridge, look at the piers that support it, and the engineering and construction that went into them.

We’re building rapid transit, and along the way making infrastructure – built to last.

 

For information on ongoing vivaNext projects, be sure to subscribe to email updates, and follow us on Twitter. Questions or comments? Comment below or email us at contactus@vivanext.com.

 

what’s gravity & slope got to do with it?

August 16th, 2017

While we’re building the rapidway projects, it’s not unusual for us to be talking a lot about retaining walls. If you’ve ever wondered why so much of our work seems to involve retaining walls, the answer can be summed up in two words: gravity and slope.

Simply put, retaining walls prevent soil from sliding down a slope. If a slope is very gradual as you might see on a lawn or wide flowerbed, for the most part the soil and earth pretty much stays put. But where there is a slope over a short distance that creates even a difference in grade, the force of gravity will make the soil slide downwards.

stopping soil slippage

The steeper the slope, the more likely it is that the soil will slide. If you have a lawn that’s even a few centimetres higher than an adjacent driveway or sidewalk, you’ll know that without some kind of edging, eventually the dirt will flow down onto the pavement.

Retaining walls are like edging; they’re structures that keep the soil in place where grades need to change within a short distance. And retaining walls can be short or high. For example, a curb is essentially a very short retaining wall.

where retaining walls fit in on the rapidway

In many stretches along our rapidway construction zones, the adjacent land is either higher or lower than the roadway – in some cases the difference is only a few centimetres, in others it’s a metre or more.

Because we’re widening the road, that difference in grade level now has to be made up over a shorter horizontal distance, making the slope steeper than it was before. In areas where the resulting grade difference between the road and the land slope is very steep, a retaining wall is needed to keep the soil in place.

where design is king

Some of our retaining walls are essentially high curbs; others are high structures requiring handrails and complex foundations.

Every one of our rapidway segments has a significant number of retaining walls, each requiring its own design, approvals and construction process. In all cases, retaining wall construction takes place once utilities have been moved out of the way, and needs to be finished before road widening can be started.

With so many retaining walls forming part of the new streetscape, design considerations are of major importance. A lot of effort goes into ensuring that the new retaining walls contribute to the aesthetics of the streetscape as well as be functional.

Different materials and finishes are used for different walls, from pre-formed wall blocks similar to what you’d use in your own garden, to poured concrete with decorative exterior designs.  Design approaches vary depending on how high the wall is, what kind of foundation it requires, and what it is adjacent to. And if the wall or adjacent slope is especially steep and the wall is next to a sidewalk, it will also get a specially designed handrail.

So the next time you see a bulletin advising about retaining wall work, think of gravity and slopes, and you’ll know that’s why we’re building these additional structures.

For information on ongoing vivaNext projects, be sure to subscribe to email updates, and follow us on Twitter. Questions or comments? Comment below or email us at contactus@vivanext.com.

#MyYongeStreet Selfie Contest

August 10th, 2017

#MyYongeStreet Selfie Contest

Get your selfie stick ready, the #MyYongeStreet selfie contest launches on Monday, August 14!

We’ve partnered with the Town of Newmarket and the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce to bring the summer of selfies to Yonge Street. Enter for a chance to win weekly prizes or one of three grand prize shopping sprees. We’re proud to support the businesses that make Yonge Street a great place to stop, shop and dine.

here’s how it works

Take a selfie with your purchase from a business on Yonge in Newmarket, share the image on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MyYongeStreet, and you’ll be automatically entered into weekly random draws for a chance to win one of three Yonge shopping sprees. You can also submit your image to contest@vivanext.com for a chance to win.

contest dates:

  • Monday, August 14 through to midnight on Sunday, September 3, 2017

it’s easy to enter:

  1. Visit a business within the Yonge Street rapidway construction area in Newmarket [between Savage Road/Sawmill Valley Drive and Davis Drive].
  2. Take a ‘selfie’ with your purchase in the business on Yonge.
  3. Post your selfie on Twitter or Instagram, or email to contest@vivanext.com, using the hashtag #MyYongeStreet.

prizes!

  • Each week, three lucky winners will receive $100 to be spent in the store where the winning selfie was taken.
  • There will be three grand prize draws for Yonge Street Shopping Sprees valued at $1000, $750 or $500.

To learn more about the contest, visit vivanext.com/selfiecontest.


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