saying hello to a brand-new water main on Bathurst & Centre

November 3rd, 2016

watermain pipes centre street

In Thornhill, the residents and businesses in and around Bathurst & Centre Streets are getting a new, modern water main. This will not only help to prepare the area for future growth, it’s also simply time to upgrade the old pipes in order to avoid future water main breaks and floods!

Here’s a quick look at how it’s being done:

  • It’s already happening. On Bathurst Street, Installation of the water main is well under way, from Centre to the Highway 7 connector ramp. And this month crews are starting up construction of this vital utility on Centre Street, from New Westminster Drive to Dufferin Street.
  • Two techniques. The Bathurst section is being done mostly with the directional drilling technique, which reduces disruption to a narrower street. On Centre, since there’s more space beside the road on the south side, we’re combining open cut excavation and directional drilling.
  • Taking extra care. When crews install the new pipes beside the current ones, it takes extra care and time. Once the pipes and chambers are in, crews will follow the cleaning and testing processes, all to meet very strict standards.
  • Connecting to the new system. When the water main upgrade is ready to connect, residents and businesses will hear from us in advance. Individual addresses are simpler to connect, but businesses and multi-unit residential buildings take longer. Again, we will keep you well informed on what to expect and when.
  • Everything is important. As with all vivaNext construction, we’re always working to balance priorities. The biggest is to keep the water on for everyone during the work. Another is to minimize disruption as much as possible.

This key piece of new infrastructure will last for generations to come, and leave a lasting legacy for the Bathurst & Centre community. Check out this utility video to find out more.

For more information on ongoing work be sure to sign up for email updates, and follow us on Twitter. Questions or comments? Comment below or email us at contactus@vivanext.com.

 

 

fall = fun!

October 26th, 2016

With cool weather and colourful leaves surrounding us, fall is the perfect time to get outside and be active. From perusing pumpkin patches to checking out Halloween decorations, there’s no shortage of things to do. If you find yourself looking for somewhere to go, maybe we can help…

Newmarket: Strawberry Creek Farms

Most of the local farmers’ markets and family fun farms are open until the end of October, so this weekend and the PA Day on Friday may be your last chance to get a taste of farm life. On Davis Drive just east of Highway 404, Strawberry Creek Farms has become a staple for outdoor family fun.  To get there on transit, transfer from Viva Yellow to Durham Region Transit route 960 at the Highway 404 and Davis Drive park and ride. Featuring wagon rides, pumpkin cannons and corn mazes, Strawberry Creek Farms is not to be missed.

Markham: Main Street Markham Trick or Treat

This Saturday, October 29, head out to the Main Street Markham Trick or Treat [see map] for some spooky family fun. Viva Purple will get you to the foot of this spooky street via Highway 7. From noon to 4pm, join local business owners they hand out tricks and treats to all who are willing to put on their Halloween best.

The sun is setting earlier, so if you’re walking, or taking your kids trick or treating, be sure to wear bright colours and reflective clothing. And if you’re driving, remember to stay alert and watch out for our little ghosts and gremlins. Happy fall everyone!

the ballet of building the VMC canopy

October 21st, 2016

Vaughan Metropolitan Centre – Spadina Subway Station

The giant sections of structural steel canopy were installed this fall in the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre [VMC] area – right in the middle of Highway 7 West – and it was a ballet of precision.

Having a large structure like this arise in the centre of a roadway is an incredibly unique construction event.

That’s why we made sure we were out on the corridor watching and recording the action to share with all of you.

The largest section lifted was 25,000 lbs – over 11,300 kg! You can read more about this new Vivastation, and check out the video to see how this feat was done.

 

Questions or comments? Comment below or email us at contactus@vivanext.com. To stay up-to-date on construction, sign up for email updates at vivanext.com/subscribe.

 

designing for the future

October 20th, 2016

Who can remember? Not so long ago Highway 7 in Markham and Richmond Hill was a suburban highway: a few isolated developments, lots of parking lots and open fields, but no sidewalks, no plantings, no bike lanes–and certainly no dedicated rapid transit bus lanes. Just look at it now!

In only a few years from start to finish, construction begins and is completed on each of the rapidway projects. In the world of infrastructure renewal, vivaNext construction projects are known to be implemented very efficiently, and we’re doing everything we can to maintain that great reputation.

years of work are behind the design

What’s not so apparent to the public is the lengthy design process that happens long before construction starts. Design of the many engineering and architectural elements must take place stage by stage. Throughout, the designers need to balance staying true to the original vision with making it work in different conditions and geographical areas.

a variety of disciplines at work

VivaNext uses a multi-disciplined design team including: engineers who specialize in civil, traffic, structural, geotechnical, electrical and transit systems; architects; environmental consultants; landscape architects, security experts and more.

many stakeholders weigh in

At each stage, different options and features are reviewed, adjusted and improved with input from municipal staff, utility companies, local conservation authorities, property owners and others. Depending on the location of the project, specific design issues are addressed in conjunction with the owners of adjacent infrastructure including GO Transit, 407 ETR, CN, and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

the stages of each project

The process is not a fast one; the Environmental Assessment process, which established the conceptual design for vivaNext, was begun in 2002, and the whole process for any one segment from Preliminary Engineering to service start may take 6 or more years. Here’s an overview of the stages each of our projects go through, before shovels can hit the ground.

•    Environmental Assessment [EA]: The EA examines alternatives and identifies a preferred design. The vivaNext conceptual design shows the approach for individual segments like the number of rapidway and traffic lanes, boulevards and planting zones and the arrangement of stops and stations. The EA then identifies potential design impacts on the natural and built environment, traffic, noise, drainage, property, etc., and proposed strategies to avoid or mitigate and monitor them.

•    Preliminary Design: This stage takes design to approximately 30% completion and establishes the outlines of the project including its alignment and profile, what additional property is needed to build the project, development of major components like bridges or culverts for water crossings, entrances and intersections, utilities, and listing permits and approvals.

•    Detail Design: This stage fleshes out the preliminary design for all elements. For example, preliminary design may identify that a high retaining wall will be needed at a specific location; 60% design will show the kind of foundation needed and the wall’s general construction; 90% design will show the colour and design of the material to be used on the outside of the wall, and 100% will show all details and specifications required to construct the work.

•    Issued-for-Construction Drawings: These are the final design drawings to be used by the contractors, once all approvals are complete.

By the time vivaNext is complete, all our projects will share the original design vision, but their individual design will reflect local requirements and various conditions. Each segment is tailor-made to be functional, convenient and beautiful, with the primary goal of providing a rapid transit system for the future. Which is, and always has been, the ultimate vivaNext design objective.

celebrating the completion of the Davis Drive rapidway

October 12th, 2016

YouTube video: timelapse of Davis Drive

Last week, the Honourable Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation; Wayne Emmerson, Chairman and CEO, The Regional Municipality of York; Bruce McCuaig, President and CEO, Metrolinx; the Chairman of the YRRTC Board, Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of the City of Markham and Tony Van Bynen, Mayor of the Town of Newmarket, joined together to celebrate the transformation of Newmarket, with the completion of the bus rapid transit (BRT) rapidway project on Davis Drive.

The Davis Drive rapidway was opened for the new Viva service in November 2015, extending 2.7 kilometres from Yonge Street to Roxborough Road, with service continuing in mixed traffic another 2.3 kilometres with curbside stops and a turn-around at the new park and ride facility at Highway 404. This past spring, crews began work on the finishing touches such as planting trees and installing the last sections of sidewalk.

Rapid transit along Davis Drive promotes growth and development, and supports the priorities of the Town of Newmarket’s Strategic Plan, York Region’s Centres and Corridors plan, Metrolinx’s Regional Transportation Plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and Ontario’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Along with providing a convenient new travel option, the Davis Drive rapidway project helped transform Newmarket with updated utilities, new infrastructure such as a water main and the Keith Bridge, and wider boulevards. These improvements will help support the continued growth and development in Newmarket’s town centre.

The Davis Drive rapidway has been years in the making. We’ve captured the entire transformation on video. Through all the planning, design and construction there’s something special about knowing that you’ve contributed to the future growth and prosperity of entire neighbourhoods, towns and regions by connecting people to the places they work, shop and play.

We would like to sincerely thank the community, businesses and residents that have supported the project from the outset, and endured the disruptions that come with long term construction. Your patience, understanding and feedback have been invaluable. Newmarket now has a rapid transit system we can all be proud of and enjoy for many years to come.

 

what’s happening this fall on Highway 7 West and Bathurst & Centre

October 5th, 2016

After a summer of paving on Highway 7 West, water main work on Bathurst, and a whole lot of finishing touches along the rapidway in Vaughan, there’s much more to come this fall.

Here’s what you can expect to see over the next couple of months:

the VMC area

If you’ve driven by the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre [VMC] area on Highway 7 West between Edgeley Blvd. and Jane Street, you’ll have seen the sudden rise of the huge steel canopy that will become the BRT station, VMC Spadina-Subway Station.

This unique vivastation will be extra-long and provide total coverage, also it will connect the rapidway with the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension and an inter-regional bus station, SmartREIT Terminal-VMC. This fall, workers are continuing to install and weld the giant structure.

the CN Bridge

Crews are busy working on sidewalks on both the north and south side of Highway 7 this fall. In addition, water seal testing is pretty much complete.

bike lanes, bike boxes and crosswalks street printing

Over the past month, crews have been installing the striped crosswalk street printing at intersections on Highway 7 West.

And in the next few weeks, they will be painting lines for bicycle lanes and laying the bright green street bond on bike lanes on either side of intersections and bike boxes at key corners, between Edgeley/Interchange and Bowes/Baldwin. Bike boxes allow cyclists to avoid crossing three lanes of busy traffic to reach the left-turn lanes, and act as a safe, designated waiting area.

Construction on Highway 7 between Jane and Bowes/Baldwin will wrap up by the end of the year.

Highway 7 West in Woodbridge

This area is mostly seeing pre-construction activities this fall to prepare for road widening in the spring. These will include culvert work, median removals, tree removals, and temporary traffic pole installation.

Bathurst and Centre

Water main work is continuing on Bathurst Street this fall and will start up on Centre Street as well. In addition, temporary traffic signals have gone up at intersections on Bathurst will be installed on Centre this fall. In addition, crews will also soon be busy with utility relocations.

It’s always exciting to see progress. Thank you everyone for your patience as the rapidway projects proceed!

Questions or comments? Comment below or email us at contactus@vivanext.com. To stay up-to-date on construction, sign up for email updates at vivanext.com/subscribe.

the last mile is the hardest

September 28th, 2016

the last mile is the hardest

The “last mile” has a reputation. It’s been known as the hardest and the greatest, the final step in getting somewhere, regardless of what that involves [or how far it actually is].

Earlier this month, Ryerson City Building Institute released a video trailer in advance of a Last Mile Meetup event they hosted. The video and meetup invited conversation about the #LastMile, and was the basis for a Toronto Star article. The GTA includes lots of suburban cities and towns. And where there are suburbs, there is that last mile challenge – the beginning and end of a commute to work or school. While most of the commute might be easily done with rapid transit, the last mile usually relies on driving, cycling, walking or taking local transit.

Driving that last mile to a commuter transit station might mean parking in a massive, overcrowded parking lot. Walking or cycling are natural choices as long as there are safe, accessible places to and from the station – this of course depends on weather and the distance travelled. Transit is a good option, but we understand that bus schedules don’t always fit in with the always-in-a-hurry commuter and routes may not get riders close enough to their final destination.

This last leg of the journey can make or break the commute. It’s often the deciding factor on whether the entire commute will be done by car or by transit. Everyone’s trip is unique, and might involve extra stops along the way, like picking up kids from a babysitter or stopping for groceries. So there need to be options, and each option needs to be flexible. To arrive at the right solutions for the last mile, most agree that new ideas need to be piloted, such as the dial-a-ride service in York Region, carpooling, ride-sharing, and safe and secure places for walking and cycling.

It comes down to mobility and quality of life. Mobility is about being able to get to and from where you live easily. Your daily quality of life may depend on how you travel that last leg of the journey – is your last mile the hardest… or the greatest?

 

detecting vehicles at traffic lights >> a mystery solved

September 21st, 2016

detecting vehicles at traffic lights >> a mystery solved

If you receive construction emails from us, you might know that we’ve installed vehicle detector loops at intersections with traffic signals. But if you’re like most people, traffic lights, and their various components [what are vehicle detector loops, anyway?] are probably one of those subjects you don’t give a lot of thought to. So next time you’re waiting for that light to change, here’s a primer on vehicle detector loops, and why you’ll be glad we’re installing them as part of our projects.

To begin with, vehicle detector loops [the technical term is “inductive-loop vehicle detectors”] are flat, loose coils of wire covered in light plastic, which are buried in the asphalt under the lanes at an intersection.

In York Region, most of our vehicle detector loops are approximately 4 metres square, and extend from the pedestrian crosswalk and across the stop bar [the wide white line going across each traffic lane at intersections] for approximately 15 metres.

The point of a vehicle detector loop is to detect when vehicles are sitting at the intersection. Vehicle detector loops are able to do this through a process of magnetic induction, which results when metal objects [i.e., vehicles] are nearby. Put simply, the presence of the vehicle results in a change in the magnetic field of the loop. This change is detected by the traffic signal controller [a large box located near every signaled intersection], which in turn sends a message to the traffic signal to begin turning from red to green.

York Region owns and or maintains 848 signalized intersections [traffic lights occasionally are used in other settings such as single lanes through construction zones]. Most of York Region’s traffic loops are located on side street lanes, in left turn lanes to activate advanced left turn signals, and on rapidways to detect transit vehicles.

The Region also uses “Matrix” vehicle detection, a pole-mounted system using radar imaging, in construction zones where lanes are moved, and where it’s problematic to install traffic loops. For more information on the technology of traffic signals, check out york.ca/intersections.

Ultimately, traffic loops improve the performance of an intersection, helping traffic flow by detecting you better.

 

form meets function where Viva meets the subway

September 14th, 2016

form meets function where Viva meets the subway

There’s a lot happening near Highway 7 and Jane Street right now. With the subway extension, bus rapidway, bus terminal, and commercial and residential buildings being built, it’s difficult to distinguish one construction project from the other. In the past week though, one project has become more visible.

In the middle of Highway 7, between Jane Street and the Highway 400 ramps, a huge structure is being built. The VMC-Spadina Subway vivastation will play an important part of this transit-oriented area, connecting Viva customers to the subway below.

The station is supersized with longer and wider platforms, and the roof will cover the entire rapidway. Customers will be able to access the concourse below via elevator or stairs to access the new subway extension or walk a few minutes underground to catch YRT or Züm at a new bus terminal.

A few fun facts about the station:

  • Single canopy is 50m long x 22m wide – bigger than the other vivastations to accommodate more bus and passenger traffic.
  • Steel structure assembled as three roof sections [now installed]; eight ladder sections [the first just arrived]; and 70 smaller infill sections.
  • Uses a combination of aluminum, painted steel, ceramic frit and tinted glass panels – overall, the station will appear light grey with blue and white accents.
  • Up-lighting will illuminate the lattice pattern of steel supports and glass panels on the roof.
  • Real-time bus arrival screens in station waiting areas, and underground at concourse level.
  • Heated and unheated waiting areas on each platform.
  • 100% coverage by security cameras.
  • Windscreens to block the prevailing wind – potential showcases for public art.
  • Hidden rainwater gutters and downspouts to drain water under the roadway.

The steel structure can be seen in the middle of Highway 7, and this will take a couple of months to put into position, and another couple of months of welding. As you’ll soon see, this station will make the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre area look very different. And once it opens in 2018, will connect everyone to where they need to go.

 

learning outside the classroom

September 7th, 2016

learning outside the classroom

While your kids may lament the early mornings and long days that come with being back in school, there’s no denying the amount of pride they feel when they learn something new.  This fall, embrace learning by visiting York Region’s centres of culture and education.

Markham: Flato Markham Theatre

Located just off of Highway 7 at Warden Avenue, Flato Markham Theatre is a cultural destination for everyone, regardless of their tastes or interests.  This season, Flato Markham Theatre is housing a wide variety of showcases.  From concerts, to tributes, to dance shows, to local theatrical productions, there’s something for everyone, and with it’s convenient location at Highway 7 and Warden, everyone can get there with Viva.

Vaughan: Ansley Grove Library

Ansley Grove Library is attached to Chancellor Community Centre just north of Highway 7 in Woodbridge, and is home to a variety of books, magazines and multimedia materials in many languages including English, French and Italian.  The library also features a children’s room, where events for little ones are put on throughout the year. When you’re done, take an easy walk to Highway 7, where transit will get you home.

Newmarket: Elman W. Campbell Museum

Located on Historical Main Street in the heart of Newmarket, the Elman W. Campbell Museum serves as an educational connection to Newmarket’s history.  The museum is a non-profit educational centre created to preserve and display local artifacts. The Elman W. Campbell Museum also hosts events, including Culture Days open houses and family Halloween parties. This destination is a “can’t miss” for those looking for a compelling, educational outing, just a short walk from Viva Yellow.

These are just a few – every town or city has places to learn and experience culture and history. YRT and Viva will get you to and from the theatre, the library and museum, and since you don’t have to do the driving, bring some reading material and learn on the road! Wondering what your transit options are? Try downloading the YRT/Viva app!

 

- Sydney Grant, student Public Relations Coordinator

 


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