Posts Tagged ‘accessibility’

the Davis Drive rapidway opens this Sunday!

Friday, November 27th, 2015

The Davis Drive rapidway opens this Sunday!

The rapidway along Davis Drive from Yonge Street to the 404 opens for service Sunday.  Viva yellow will start rolling down Davis Drive at 6:52 am, starting at the 404 park and ride lot and travelling westbound, and then every 15 minutes after that!

We excited to launch the service as well as all the amenities that go with it – the wide, pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined boulevards and sleek, modern vivastations, as well as the dedicated centre lanes that will allow riders to enjoy faster and more consistent travel.  New vivastations will open at Parkside/Longford, Main Street, and South Lake Hospital.

Vivastations will be directly accessible from crosswalks at signalled intersections. Pedestrian signals come with an audible tone and visual countdown as additional safety features.

The stations will include arched glass canopies inspired by transportation architecture from historic and modern European examples. The 27-metre glass canopy will offer passengers protection from the elements, and include a nine-metre enclosed and heated waiting area. At the stations, you can enjoy all the existing Viva technologies you love: off-board fare collection, real-time arrivals information, Presto payment and new card readers. Safety and accessibility features include textured surfaces near platform edges, level boarding from the platform to the bus, a public address system for updating riders, security cameras and an emergency call button.

Once the rapidway opens on Sunday, drivers need to be aware of how the street has changed as they make turns on Davis Drive. Red asphalt indicates a bus only lane, so drive with care. Emergency vehicles are permitted to access the rapidways should they need to, but they will have their flashing lights on for safety.

In just a few short days the wait will be over, and we can all celebrate the end of construction and the beginning of rapid transit in Newmarket!

countdown to handover

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

countdown to handover

Taking advantage of every sunny day in Newmarket to advance the work on the Davis Drive rapidway, our teams are working hard to finish all sorts of little details. With much of the construction complete, we’re now focused on testing and adding final touches, to get ready for Viva service, which we call “handover”.

Handover means just what it says – it’s the moment in time when the transit system is handed over to its owner for care and custody, which of course is YRT/Viva. Before handover, the system is the responsibility of the Contractor/Design Builder. Once handover takes place, legal ownership and responsibility is transferred to the owner, and the system becomes the owner’s private property. At this time, the Contractor/Design Builder’s warranty period begins, just the way it happens when a homebuyer takes possession of a new house.

In the case of vivaNext, some elements of the Davis Drive project, like the rapidway, vivastations, sidewalks and planters, will be transferred to the Region. Others, like the sidewalks and streetlights will be transferred to the Town of Newmarket to maintain.

Because the formal handover is such a significant development, especially on a major infrastructure project like the vivaNext rapidway, it’s important to ensure that everything is in perfect working order. The various steps involved in opening for service vary. Here are some examples:

  • Fare equipment is tested to ensure the ticket vending machine [TVM] prints properly.
  • Traffic signals are programmed and permanent signals are turned on. Each phase is then tested individually, and all the push buttons are tested to make sure they work.
  • Streetlights are inspected to ensure all the wiring is according to the drawings, the bases are level and the power connections are all correct. The teams go out at night and actually turn on the lights to ensure that all the lamps come on and nothing is flickering. Lighting is an important safety feature for both pedestrians and vehicles.

During testing every single detail of the rapidway is inspected through a visual walk-down. Then a list of the things that still need to be finished or perfected is created with items graded from most serious to least serious. These items will be fixed either prior to the system opening or post opening under the warranty.

Although we are officially handing over the Davis Drive rapidway to York Region, YRT, and the Town of Newmarket, in many ways we are handing it over to you – at the end of the day, the ultimate owners of the rapidways are the public of York Region. VivaNext wants to provide a reliable, efficient rapid transit system and beautiful streetscape for our valuable transit customers. With every new piece of rapidway delivered, we are building a better system that we can all be proud of.

accessible stations >> everyone is welcome

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

accessible stations >> everyone is welcome

With the Davis Drive rapidway opening for service soon, we want everyone to feel welcome, and to find it an easy, convenient experience. Whether they have mobility issues or other physical limitations, are pushing a baby stroller, bringing their bike, or pulling a shopping buggy, we want everyone to feel that this transit service is for them.

We consulted with the CNIB and York Region’s Accessibility Committee during the design process, so our vivastations meet local and Provincial accessibility requirements. We also took into consideration our aging population, who appreciate being able to get around easily without a car. So we designed stations for everyone to use, and included these features:

  • Heated, enclosed areas in the centre of the vivastation with doors on each end and a wheelchair-turning radius inside. Radiant heaters are temperature and motion-activated.
  • Benches in the heated enclosure and outside under the glass canopy. Benches are wood, which doesn’t get as cold as metal in the winter, and they have grab bars for those who would like a little support getting up and down.
  • Fare payment machines that are easy to use, with screens that are angled for people of different heights, and have clear, bright graphics and large buttons.
  • Informative digital screens [Variable Message Sign or VMS] installed overhead in the centre of each canopy showing when the next bus will arrive, and arrival times are ‘real-time’ which means they’re updated constantly, based on the location of each bus.
  • Even platforms without trip hazards or changes to grade, and handrails and shallow inclines on the pedestrian ramps approaching platforms.
  • Tactile surfaces on station platforms, including textured tiles in a contrasting colour at the platform edge and directional tiles where the bus stops – helpful for those with impaired vision.
  • Public Address system that can be heard clearly from one end of the station to the other.
  • Illuminated map boards to make it easy for everyone to plan their route.

Vivastations are designed for all transit riders – including those who just haven’t used Viva before. Since this is the first east-west Viva route in Newmarket, it might be unfamiliar to some, but rest assured that it will be easy and comfortable to get onboard Viva on Davis Drive. In the first few weeks, Viva staff will be there in person to answer questions, and after that the YRT.ca website and their call centre [toll free: 1-866-668-3978] will help everyone make their connections. From one end of Newmarket to the other, and to other transit like Viva, YRT and GO Transit – it’s about connections, made with comfort and convenience.

 

it’s new, and it’s for everyone

Friday, August 21st, 2015

it's new, and it's for everyone

One of the perks of building a new transit system is that modern technology can be included from the get-go. New transit systems are installed with the newest technology, in the same way that a new computer comes with new software, or a new house has to meet modern building codes.

Some of the new technology is embedded in the vivaNext rapidways – for example, as a film to strengthen the vivastation glass, or as an additive in the pavement. Modern GPS and transit signal technology help to keep the buses moving on schedule, and new government regulations ensure the system is accessible to all.

Aside from the new regulations in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act [AODA], there is also a new way of thinking – that our streets should be accessible to everyone. So we’ve made transit a priority. We’ve added bike lanes where possible. And we’ve added tree-lined sidewalks, and crosswalks with audible signals for pedestrians.

Viva has the technology in place to add audible announcements at vivastations, and Viva riders can see and hear when the bus is approaching their station. Each vivastation has a textured platform surface to help customers identify which part of the platform they’re standing on, and when they’re approaching the edge.

It’s new, and it’s for everyone. Whether you ride a wheelchair, use a cane, push a stroller or ride a bike, the vivaNext rapidways are for you.

 

making our stations accessible for everyone

Friday, August 29th, 2014

making our stations accessible for everyone

The vivaNext commitment is to ensure everyone feels equally welcome on vivastation platforms and is able to board the Viva vehicles, whether they have mobility or other physical limitations, or are pushing a baby stroller, or for any other reasons feel uncomfortable accessing transit service. Over this holiday long weekend, we hope you get out and about using transit and take advantage of the system.

In addition to meeting all the accessibility requirements set out in Provincial and local regulatory frameworks, we’ve gone to great lengths to design the new platforms so all users have a comfortable and pleasant customer experience – and we obtained advice and input from the CNIB and York Region’s Accessibility Committee during the design process.

Here’s what we’ve built into the new stations to ensure all users feel safe and comfortable:

    • The pedestrian ramps to the platform have a shallow incline and handrails on either side, and there are no changes of grade or tripping hazards anywhere on the platform.   For people with impaired vision, the platform edge is clearly indicated through the use of domed tactile tiles in a contrasting colour. At the primary bus stop location there are directional tiles which provide directional grooves going toward the bus, which will be helpful for people using canes for guidance.
    • People using wheelchairs will have no difficulties getting in and out of the heated enclosures, which provide wheelchair-turning radius inside, and have doors at either end to simplify access. And the enclosures have barrier-free doors which have been designed to meet the highest accessibility standards including their button placement and operations such as door opening speed and how the door responds if it contacts an object. Even in construction zones, we try to maintain one accessible sidewalk at all times.
    • We’ve included benches inside the enclosure and outside, complete with grab bars for people who appreciate a little help getting up and down. And for anyone who dreads the chilly experience of sitting on a metal bench in a Canadian winter, we’ve planned for that too. The benches are constructed from durable Brazilian Ipe wood that will make sitting a little warmer in the cold weather; which is right around the corner!
    • The electronic ITS elements are all designed to ensure using the equipment is equally successful for all our customers. All the fare equipment is designed to be functional for people at wheelchair height or with other physical limitations, with angled screens, clear, bright graphics and large push-buttons. The VMS will provide clearly visible information about buses, routes and the time. We extensively researched and analyzed our PA system to make sure it’s clearly audible, and provides full coverage along the platform and in the enclosures. The notice holders for system updates are posted at the right height so they’re easily read whether you’re walking or in a wheelchair. And we’ve installed large map cases at each platform, illuminated to make it easy for everyone to navigate their route.

    Overall, our objective has been to provide a comfortable, safe and welcoming experience for all our transit riders with no barriers or restrictions. With back to school on everyone’s minds, safety and accessibility make a world of difference. Enjoy your holiday weekend!

     

    How level boarding at our new vivastations will further enhance service efficiency

    Thursday, August 27th, 2009
    With level boarding, the vehicle will pull up to a raised platform. This greatly increases the time it takes for passengers to get on and off the vehicle making for a faster trip.

    This is a rendering of a viva vehicle stopping at a new vivastation. With level boarding, the vehicle will pull up to a raised platform. This greatly decreases the time it takes for passengers to get on and off making for a faster trip.

    Viva is already a highly efficient rapid transit service thanks to features such as our off-board fare collection system. It’s going to get even better. In addition to our new vivaNext rapidways – which will take our beautiful blue Viva vehicles out of mixed traffic and put them on dedicated centre lanes so they can safely speed past congested traffic – our new vivastations will feature level boarding.

    What do I mean by level boarding? Simply that the platforms at our new vivastations will be raised so they are about the same height as the floor of our Viva vehicles. This, in turn, will speed up the boarding process by eliminating the need for riders to climb steps or lift objects, and for Viva drivers to lower ramps for easier accessibility.

    Level boarding is already successfully used throughout the world by other BRT, LRT and subway systems to enhance service efficiency. It only made sense to make it a feature of our new vivastations so that we can get you where you want to go faster and easier, and like never before.

    Can you think of other things that might make your rapid transit experience even better?