Archive for the ‘Press’ Category

be ready… 30 days to subway

Friday, November 17th, 2017

The countdown is on, and we can hardly wait! The first subway in York Region will arrive in just 30 days. The TTC Line 1 subway extension is a game-changer for transit in Vaughan Metropolitan Centre [VMC], York Region, and beyond.

Changes of this magnitude are fueled by the power of collaboration and funding partnerships. Today, vivaNext participated in a media event to kick off the countdown in earnest, along with the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto and the TTC.

Read the news release

mega-connections at VMC

The TTC Line 1 extension isn’t the only connection coming your way. Everything’s changing, and that makes for better, faster transit service.

  • The Highway 7 West rapidway between Edgeley Boulevard and Jane Street, including Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station in the centre of Highway 7, will open for service.
  • SmartCentres Place Bus Terminal will begin hosting YRT/Viva soon after.

Imagine, hopping on Line 1 at VMC Station and arriving downtown in just 45 minutes. Or from the subway, connecting directly to our Highway 7 West rapidway, or walking two minutes to the SmartCentres Place Bus Terminal, where YRT/Viva routes branch out across York Region. Soon you won’t have to imagine!

Today’s event was a warm-up for the big celebration on December 17, and you’re invited to share the celebration. Check for links to detailed information.

award-winning design

In other news, our rapidway in Vaughan is already getting noticed, for the quality of the design and also for the collaboration behind the scenes that makes it all come together.

Earlier this week, we were honoured to receive an Award of Merit from the Vaughan Urban Design Awards for the first phase of our Highway 7 West rapidway. The awards celebrate excellence in architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and environmental stewardship.

The rapidway, running from Jane Street to Bowes Road, was unanimously praised by the jury as “A great example of collaboration and investment between multiple levels of government to demonstrate significance on a city-wide scale.”

The jury also called the rapidway “a catalyst to knit communities together”, noting that the project “presents public transit as a ‘cool and hip’ mode of transportation” and “makes the everyday experience of transit a beautiful one.”

We hope you agree. Riding transit can be a beautiful experience.

vivaNext goes to school

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Recent stories in our local media have described the exciting proposal put forward to York University and Seneca College to locate a satellite campus in York Region. Newmarket/Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Markham all had strong submissions that each would offer all manner of benefits to York Region.  On Friday, April 24 they short listed the possible sites to include: Richmond Hill, Vaughan, and Markham.

The fact that these proposals advanced is proof of the increasing urbanization of York Region, especially in its emerging centres in Newmarket, Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan.  This increasing urbanization is good news in so many ways, including for young people who would like the option to attend post-secondary school closer to home.

VivaNext is a key part of bringing that urbanization to life.  By extending rapid transit routes into these key areas, a potential new university or college campus would more easily be able to attract faculty and staff as well as new students.  Having rapid transit on its doorstep is just one of the many reasons why these campus bids are so strong.

The long-term vision for York Region is to give people more choices, whether it’s where they live, work, shop or dine out – or go to school.  We’re seeing that vision come to life, block by block, with new developments taking shape all along the rapid transit routes and in the new centres.  And each new development, whether it’s residential, employment or retail, attracts even more economic growth. The new centres are already becoming increasingly important destinations, just as York Region had planned.

VivaNext is proud to be a key part of these plans. We’ll look forward to hearing the news later this spring where the future home of a college or university campus will be located.  And then, it will be our great pleasure to get those students and their teachers to class on time!

Transit ridership is way up: great news for everyone

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Viva passengers getting on and off the bus at Warden Station in Markham

If you’re reading this blog, you have likely already seen the news release on our website, describing the steady increase in transit ridership in York Region. But just to restate, on June 14 we announced that Viva ridership has increased 26% since this service was launched in September 2005. Overall ridership for both York Region Transit (YRT) and Viva Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has increased by 10.5% from January to April 2011, compared to the same period in 2010.

This increase is great news for a number of reasons, whether or not you’re a transit rider.

First, the more people take transit, the more successful our services will be – more riders means more revenue, which in turn can be put back into our route planning and frequency, making services even better for riders.

Second, more people leaving their car keys at home and boarding YRT\Viva means less air pollution for everyone. We all know how important air quality is to our health – especially during hot summer months.

Third, every loaded bus is equal to 70 cars. So even if you’re personally not a transit rider, every time you drive alongside a bus loaded with passengers, that’s 70 cars that aren’t in front of you. The result is less congestion and easier driving for people who need to get around by car.

The fourth, and in some ways the most important reason, is that increased ridership suggests a culture shift – a really important one for the future of this region, and how we manage growth.

There’s no doubt that the culture in York Region, in the past, was quite car-based. That’s not at all unusual in an area that expanded quickly as part of the GTA suburban growth; where new subdivisions were designed for people who travelled by car, and where it was convenient to drive to most places.

But that kind of urban design can only happen when there’s lots of room – room for big wide roads, room for huge parking lots, and room for all the homes and driveways. Not to mention room for all of the cars. With the growth coming to York Region, that design just isn’t sustainable – we don’t have enough room to accommodate everyone without making some adjustments. So going forward, our new growth will be managed with urban, higher density developments, clustered along major roads. These new developments are being planned to make it very convenient for people to live, work and play without needing to get in a car. Our vision is that people will be able to travel between their job, shopping and recreation while using transit.

The fact that our transit ridership is going up shows that our long-term plan is working, and that people are finding it easy to get around by hopping on board YRT\Viva.

With our rapidways and the Spadina Subway extension already under construction, and efforts being made to get funding for the Yonge Subway extension, transit is only going to get better and better, which is great news for all of us.

Rapidway construction begins in York Region on Enterprise Drive!

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Today, an on-site ceremony was held on Enterprise Drive in Markham to commemorate the start of 70 kilometres of vivaNext rapidway construction in York Region.

VivaNext – York Region’s plan for the next generation of rapid transit – includes a network of several rapidways across the Region. They are the east-west Highway 7 rapidway from Highway 50 in Vaughan to Reesor Road in Markham, the north-south Yonge Street rapidway from the Richmond Hill Centre Terminal in Richmond Hill to Green Lane in Newmarket, and the east-west Davis Drive rapidway from Yonge Street to the Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket.

The rapidways will take Viva vehicles out of mixed traffic and into their own dedicated lanes, where they will safely speed past congestion, no matter what time of day.

The 800 metres of rapidways being built on Enterprise Drive, between Warden Avenue and Birchmount Road, are part of the Highway 7 rapidway project.

“This construction phase is truly significant, as it marks the beginning of a new stage of rapid transit in York Region,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. “Together with the Government of Ontario, we are building a modern transit system to ensure we keep pace with the planned growth in York Region and preserve the quality of life our residents have come to expect.”

Rapidway construction on Enterprise Drive, which will be completed by the end of 2010, will involve the installation of concrete platform foundations, curbs, and the placement of station canopies. No road closures will be required; only short-term temporary lane closures.

“This is great news for the people of York Region and the GTA,” said Markham-Unionville MPP Michael Chan. “The project signals the start of a faster, more convenient rapid transit network that will enable people to get around more easily, improve the ability of our businesses to grow and succeed and help improve the environment.”

As construction of the rapidways gets underway, we encourage you to add to your list of favourite websites for quick and easy access to the latest information and construction updates. While there, you can also sign up to receive our quarterly e-newsletter in your Inbox, along with customized email updates about vivaNext projects of particular interest to you.

The Spadina subway extension moves forward!

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
From left: Vaughan Mayor Linda Jackson, Ontario Minister of Transportation Jim Bradley, Toronto Mayor David Miller, Federal Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty and TTC Chair Adam Giambrone begin the work on the Spadina subway extension.

From left: Vaughan Mayor Linda Jackson, Ontario Transportation Jim Bradley, Toronto Mayor David Miller, Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and TTC Chair Adam Giambrone begin work on the Spadina subway extension Friday.

This past Friday, November 27, 2009, a groundbreaking ceremony of a link that will connect the future Spadina subway extension mainline to the existing Wilson Subway Yard and expand yard storage facilities was held.

Government dignitaries in attendance at the Wilson Yard connection site included the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Canada’s Minister of Finance; the Honourable Jim Bradley, Ontario Transportation Minister; His Worship David Miller, Mayor of Toronto; Her Worship Linda Jackson, Mayor of Vaughan; and Toronto Transit Commission chair Adam Giambrone.

“This is another significant step forward that will help meet the Greater Toronto Area’s future network needs,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. “As York Region continues to grow and mature, it is imperative to have the proper infrastructure and resources in place for both residents and businesses today and in the future.”

Extending from the Downsview Station in Toronto to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station in Vaughan, the Spadina subway extension will cover a total of 8.6 kilometres and include six stations. Every day, almost as many people travel north to York Region from Toronto as vice versa — including many of the 50,000 students and staff who study and work at York University.

The completion date for the Spadina subway extension is 2015. The $2.6 billion funding required for the project has been secured from all levels of government including $697 million from the Government of Canada, $870 million from the Province of Ontario, $352 million from York Region and $526 million from the City of Toronto.

Big step toward starting construction on the Spadina subway extension

Thursday, August 13th, 2009
Chair Fisch and the other dignitaries pose for cameras in front of a scale model of a tunnel boring machine.

Chair Fisch and the other dignitaries pose for cameras in front of a scale model of a tunnel boring machine.

Lovat, an Ontario-based company that makes tunnel boring equipment, has been awarded a $58-million contract to build four machines that will be used in the construction of the Spadina subway extension.

The announcement was made last Friday, August 7, at the Lovat plant by Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley, joined by MP Bob Dechert, York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch, TTC Chair Adam Giambrone and Lovat President Dick Cooper. Not only does this mean the creation of some 200 jobs in the GTA and a boost to the economy, it signals continued progress on the project as it’s scheduled to open in 2015.

Prior to the announcement, I had the pleasure of joining the group for a bit of a tour of Lovat. We met at one end of their Mississauga plant and walked through to the other end while learning about what’s involved in making tunnel boring equipment. Cameras and reporters were waiting at the end of the tour to hear each dignitary deliver a short speech about the announcement.

It was awe-inspiring to watch the dignitaries being interviewed in front of a massive tunnel boring machine. They’re HUGE. Just take a look at the picture below to see how big they are compared to the people near them.

Lovat has built similar and even larger machines for projects all around the world, from Algeria to Venezuela. “We are pleased to be a part of this significant mass-transit project, as it not only generates jobs and strengthens infrastructure locally, but also highlights Canada’s technological capabilities on a global scale,” said Cooper.

The first two machines are expected to be delivered in the fall of 2010, with tunnel boring to begin shortly after.

York Regional Chairman Bill Fisch speaks to the audience and TV cameras in front of an actual tunnel boring machine last Friday.

York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch speaks to the audience and TV cameras in front of an actual tunnel boring machine last Friday.

Metrolinx committed to breaking ground on vivaNext rapidways this fall.

Thursday, July 16th, 2009
Metrolinx President and CEO Rob Prichard takes questions from reporters after the public session of the July 13 meeting

Metrolinx President and CEO Robert Prichard takes questions from reporters after the public session of the July 13 meeting.

Metrolinx, the body created by the Government of Ontario to develop and implement an integrated transportation plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, is committed to working with Viva toward a fall 2009 construction start date for the rapidways project. During their July 13th public board meeting, Metrolinx President and CEO Robert Prichard said, “Progress is going very well indeed. We want to break ground this fall and we are working hard to do so.” During the meeting, Metrolinx General Manager of Investment Strategy and Projects John Howe presented our renderings of the Davis Drive rapidway to show how it will look in the future. They generated a lot of excitement amongst those in attendance.

If you would like to see the renderings presented at the meeting for yourself click here or visit, where you’ll also find a link to the Metrolinx website in case you are also interested in viewing the meeting agenda.

Yonge subway extension closer to reality

Friday, May 8th, 2009
What a subway will look like heading to Richmond Hill station.

What a subway will look like heading to Richmond Hill station.

We did it. Thanks to your help throughout our extensive public consultation process, we received approval from the Ministry of the Environment for the Yonge subway extension.

This is fantastic news because the extension up Yonge Street will create the backbone for a seamless transit network that will get you to the places you need to go faster and with fewer connections.

The approval from the Ministry means that the project is in a strong position to receive funding and soon after that happens, shovels can hit the ground. The plans are calling for a 6.8 km extension that will include six new stations and finish at the Langstaff/Richmond Hill Centre at Highway 7.

To put together the report, we engaged the public in many ways, including town hall meetings that hundreds of people attended and gave excellent feedback. It was that feedback that allowed us to address many community concerns and in the end, form a solid report.

Our project was the first one to undergo the new six-month process set up by the Ontario government so construction on transit projects could start as soon as possible.

We feel fortunate to have the first project approved under the new streamlined process and we’re excited because this is another step toward making commuting easier for anyone living or travelling in York Region.

Once funding is secured, we will continue to work with you regarding the design details, especially the bridge crossing and parking lot.

Soon this picture will be a reality. It’s time to start imagining a subway with the word “Richmond Hill” on it.

$1.4 billion for our rapidway projects

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
Premier Dalton McGuinty announces billions for transit projects

Premier Dalton McGuinty announces billions for transit projects

I’m really excited about this recent announcement. If you haven’t heard – or didn’t click on the link above – vivaNext rapidway projects are being funded with $1.4 billion from the Government of Ontario.

I’m excited because this means faster and better connections for everyone. Let’s face it, the faster, more accessible and more reliable public transit is, the more people will choose to use it instead of driving.

The funding will allow us to put shovels in the ground this year on four specific areas:
1) Highway 7 – from about Jane St. in Vaughan to Kennedy Rd. in Markham
2) Yonge St. – from about Highway 7 to 19th Ave. in Richmond Hill
3) Yonge St. – from Mulock Dr. to Davis Dr. in Newmarket
4) Davis Dr. – from Yonge St. to the Southlake Regional Hospital

But this funding announcement wasn’t isolated to York Region. Premier McGuinty is investing billions on transit projects in the GTA.

While we celebrated this announcement at the office, I began to think about just how much work now stands before us and how some people will likely be skeptical. I can assure you that final preparations will be done and we will begin construction this fall.

I’ll be sure to post pictures!

$3 billion for transit from Ontario Budget

Friday, March 27th, 2009

When reviewing the Ontario Budget, one thing became abundantly clear with respect to public transit – there’s a serious commitment to it. The budget set aside more than $3 billion in funding for transit over the next two years!

The budget says the government will be “focusing on quick-start projects”. These are infrastructure projects that are already well planned and in a position to create immediate economic stimulus and create jobs. That’s exactly where vivaNext shines.

I applaud the Ontario Government for making such a significant funding commitment to public transit. Doing so will not only help provide an economic stimulus and create jobs, it will also help future generations to be less dependent on driving vehicles.

The cover of the 2009 Ontario Budget

The cover of the 2009 Ontario Budget