Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

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.

subway in the GTA: where & when to build

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

subway in the GTA: where & when to build

With the launch of the #YongeSubwayNow petition and campaign for full funding of the Yonge Subway Extension, there has been a lot of conversation around where subway should be built, and whether the Yonge Subway Extension or Downtown Relief Line should be built first.

At York Region Rapid Transit Corporation [vivaNext] we’ve been leading the design and engineering studies for the Yonge Subway Extension, so we have a few thoughts on these important topics.


considering the options

To some it might seem as if the Yonge Subway Extension is a new plan, but really it’s been in the works for many years, and it’s pretty far along. It was first included in York Region’s Official Plan over 20 years ago in 1994. The Environmental Assessment was completed and approved way back in 2009, and in 2012 the Conceptual Design Study was completed and approved by TTC and York Region.

This isn’t a blind push for a subway – we’ve looked carefully at the options. LRT and dedicated BRT lanes were considered, but due to factors such as narrow road space and high ridership, only a subway will work here.


building in parallel

Transit should not be a York vs. Toronto issue. Instead, the focus should be on what investments will contribute best to helping people get where they need to go conveniently and most cost-effectively. That’s why, for example, we think both the Yonge Subway Extension and the Downtown Relief Line need to be built. And we know the Province of Ontario agrees, because both projects are on Metrolinx’ list of top priority projects. In fact, a relief line that reaches all the way to Sheppard Subway would be particularly helpful to the Yonge Line, especially if a rapid transit connection can be added later to travel north from Sheppard.

Transit expansion benefits people on both sides of our municipal borders. Today, we see a significant number of travelers headed northbound in the AM period to a growing number of jobs in York Region. Cross-boundary transit reduces traffic congestion on GTA roads, and increases the pool of customers and skilled employees for Toronto businesses.

With the current state of transit in the GTA, transit projects that are as important as these shouldn’t be built consecutively. Projects like these typically take at least 10 years to design and build, so they should be built in parallel. We can’t wait for one to be complete before starting another.

A GTA transit network means expanding options and crossing borders. It means we have to move forward with as much transit as possible, in the places where it’s needed. And we can all benefit from that.


in continuous motion

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

in continuous motion

At this point in building York Region’s rapid transit system, we can officially say there are projects at every stage. A few rapidway projects and transit facilities are open for service, some are well underway and some are just getting started.

Having projects at different stages can be beneficial. We learn from every project and fine-tune important processes like procurement, financial management and construction scheduling. Special attention is paid to tailoring detailed designs to ensure quality, and scheduling construction to keep impacts to a minimum. Project management is what we do, and to get everything done, we stack the deck with technical knowledge and lots of experience.

Bus Rapid Transit

With 34.6 kilometres of dedicated lanes for Bus Rapid Transit [rapidways] completed or underway we have lots on the go, but there is also much more to do. The remaining half of rapidway projects – 34.2 kilometres – have Environmental Assessments completed and are ready to move forward once funding is in place. This includes completing Highway 7 rapidways in eastern Markham and western Vaughan, and Yonge Street rapidways between Richmond Hill and Newmarket, and north of Davis Drive.

Yonge North Subway Extension

York Region’s highest priority, the Yonge North Subway Extension, is ready to move to full engineering and construction. This 7.4-kilometre extension from Finch subway station to Highway 7 in Richmond Hill will include five stations and will complete a missing link in the GTA transit system. The Yonge Subway Extension has been identified by Metrolinx as a priority project, and the Environmental Assessments and some important studies are complete, so once Provincial funding is confirmed for preliminary engineering this project will be moving forward to this important next step.

As with any great transit system, our projects are in continuous motion. Our experience allows us to think ahead, in planning for each project, and in building a connected transit system for those who live, work or commute in York Region. To help plan the transit system in the GTA, Metrolinx is hosting a series of public meetings in York Region and Toronto in the next five weeks. We’ll be there too, so be sure to drop by our booth.


time is money: why gridlock hurts us all

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

How to reduce the gridlock in the Greater Toronto Area is a topic that is getting a lot of air-time from commentators of all descriptions.  And for good reason – gridlock has been described by the Toronto Board of Trade as costing the GTA’s economy more than $6 Billion a year.

How those numbers are calculated, and what lies behind them, isn’t always so clear.  One of the best breakdowns that I have read is the paper developed by the Toronto Board of Trade last year urging governments to invest more in transit. The paper, called Let’s Break the Gridlock provides this description of how gridlock costs us all time – and how that time costs money.

The biggest concern about gridlock in Toronto from an economic perspective is that the increasingly clogged roads slow down business, and therefore undermine profits.  These so-called “congestion costs” affect different industries in different ways, each with their own price tag.  For example, in an economy that is increasingly based on “just in time” strategies, businesses order extra stock or supplies or equipment as it is needed instead of warehousing it. But if the delivery is unreliable, businesses will need to order earlier, tying up money in extra goods and paying for warehousing.  That costs extra money, and those increased prices will be passed on to the customer.

Another huge price tag associated with gridlock is how long it takes businesses to actually move their goods around.  The congestion costs hurt businesses in many ways such as increased shipping and fuel costs, higher labour costs per shipment due to less productive drivers, and reduced travel speeds.  Big shippers who need to deliver their products to small businesses throughout the GTA, for example soft-drink bottlers who need to make deliveries to many small convenience stores and restaurants across the region, face significantly higher costs due to congestion, and the snarled roads their drivers travel.  They can make fewer deliveries per day, and each delivery costs more.

And for employers, employee recruitment is negatively impacted by the difficult commutes faced by so many in the GTA.  As the Board of Trade paper notes, the lack of transit is a serious barrier for employers in hiring skilled young professionals.  And nowhere is this problem more severe than in the 905 areas, where employers have realized that the lack of rapid transit actually adds to the cost of doing business in the suburbs.  In fact, employers are increasingly seeing the benefits of having nearby transit, so that they can attract the best employees.

With this last reason in mind, we’re fortunate that York Region is planning for the future with vivaNext.  We’re going to have great rapid transit when the construction is complete, so that people can move around our region and make convenient connections across the GTA.  And with every full viva vehicle, we can get 70 cars off the road, which will reduce congestion for everyone.

Defeating gridlock is going to take time, and vision, and money.  But given the huge price congestion is already costing, there’s really no alternative.


‘Holey’ ‘Moley’ tunnelling is complete!

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

photograph provided by The Toronto Transit Commission [TTC]

Here at vivaNext, we’re excited to announce that the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) project has achieved another significant milestone – tunnelling for the project is 100% complete!

In the summer of 2011, the first Tunnel boring machine (TBM) “Holey” began boring from a launch shaft at the Downsview Park Station site. Since then, rain or shine, TBMs “Holey”, “Moley”, “Yorkie” and “Torkie” have been working hard and have collectively bored 6.4 kilometres of twin tunnels for the TYSSE project.

The final segment of tunnelling was finished when “Torkie” broke through the headwall at the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) Station site, finishing the tenth and final tunnel drive for the project. This sets the stage for the next phase of work in the tunnels including installation of inverts and walkways, track, traction power, signals and communications systems.

With help from our friends at Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) we have some pretty cool photos and videos of the breakthrough to share with you on our website – see them here!

The TYSSE is an 8.6-kilometre extension of the TTC’s Yonge-University-Spadina subway line from Downsview Station to the VMC Station at Highway 7 in York Region.

Vaughan’s VMC station will be the northernmost station, connecting to a variety of other transit services. Situated in the future VMC development area, this station will act as a transportation hub, including convenient passenger pick-up and drop-off, a York Region Transit bus terminal, and connection to the viva rapidway running in dedicated lanes east and west along Highway 7.

Residents and visitors alike will enjoy the variety of transit options and mixed-use development offered in the VMC area. It will be a great place to work, shop or relax, and getting there will be easy whether you walk or ride transit.

Construction work for the TYSSE project is expected to be completed by fall 2016. Once the subway extension is completed, it will have 6 new subway stations (check out the TYSSE guide to station names) and 3 new commuter parking lots.

To learn more about the TYSSE project and sign up for construction notices, visit

working together….

Friday, October 18th, 2013

If you get vivaNext email updates, you probably recently read that Yorkie and Torkie the tunnel boring machines are munching their way closer and closer to Highway 7 and the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC).

This is great news, and means that the reality of a subway coming to York Region is getting closer every day.  But while the tunneling project is very high profile, vivaNext is also working hard to get ready for the subway opening at our VMC station.   Unlike other vivastations which we are building independently, the VMC station construction needs to be closely coordinated with the subway project, adding a whole new level of complexity.  Here’s a little background:

The VMC station will be located at Millway Avenue and Highway 7, as part of the VMC development area.  To provide passengers with seamless connections between the subway and the viva\YRT system, the subway station will be located on the lower level, with a concourse linking the subway to the vivastation above.

That may all sound relatively straightforward, but in fact there are significant engineering challenges involved with constructing a complicated building in the middle of a live highway, especially  when there’s a separate construction project going on directly underneath.  One of our top priorities is to ensure while we’re building the station to our own design plans, it also ties in to all the complex TTC systems down below so that everything works properly and in sync.

Some key elements such as escalators, elevators and stairways link the two structures. These need to be in place so the TTC can access the upstairs while they’re building their subway station down below. Escalators and elevator shafts aren’t very forgiving, so we need to work closely together to make sure all the elements line up perfectly.

Another challenge is that there’s not a lot of space to work given the location of the station in the middle of Highway 7.  From time to time we’re literally going to be working right on top of each other.  So we will be doing a lot of coordinating throughout the process to make sure all our contractors and subcontractors have enough room to do their jobs safely and in parallel.

The main priority for vivaNext and the TTC is that both parts of the VMC station are open when the subway service begins.  There’s a huge amount of work to be done between now and then, and we’ll be working closely with our TTC partners during the course of construction.

So stay tuned, and soon I’ll be giving you a proper tour of the VMC station design.  It’s going to be a showpiece that will be worth all the hard work.


bringing a long-term plan for the future to life, one step at a time

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

With crews working on the finishing touches on the western half of the Highway 7 rapidway, we’re getting closer to the day rapid transit finally becomes a reality for York Region.  As much as we’re looking forward to celebrating this milestone, it’s only one (very exciting) step in a long path that started years ago, and is going to take time to complete.

There’s a lot of media coverage these days on the general need for better transit all across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).  We’re proud that York Region has been actively working to bring rapid transit to our region.  In 2002 the Region produced the York Region Transportation Master Plan and the follow-up Rapid Transit Plan, committing the Region to a blueprint of multiple transportation initiatives to be built over the next 30 years.

With approval to the Rapid Transit Plan, we got to work quickly.  In 2005 the viva team – our formal name is York Region Rapid Transit Corporation – first launched “QuickStart”, the first phase of viva service.  Viva offered enhanced features that made transit more comfortable and convenient, and put the customer first in a way that was new for a transit service in the GTHA. With ridership levels that have increased steadily, viva changed the way people in York Region viewed transit.

But while our new viva service was a major success and an important first step in encouraging people to try transit, designing the vivaNext rapid transit system was our longer-term priority. Since 2005, Provincial government policy has required that Ontario municipalities plan for sustainable, more intensive land use, and rapid transit is a key component to achieve that goal.  Anticipating this, the 2002 Transportation Master Plan directed that future growth in York Region would be concentrated in new downtowns in Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill and Vaughan. By building more intensively in these areas, there would be less pressure for growth in existing neighbourhoods and a reduction in traffic congestion.

These urban centres would be connected by transportation “corridors”, making it easier for people to get around the region. The vivaNext rapidways will be built along the corridors, providing connections across York Region and into the rest of the GTHA.

Much of the new development built around vivastations will be compact and mixed-use, providing housing, employment, retail, dining, services and recreation, all within walking distance of transit. Developments will also include more welcoming public spaces, attractive landscaping, and other amenities that will contribute to the centres becoming more dynamic destinations.

Our plan is well and truly underway, and rapidways are being built on Highway 7 in both the east and west, as well as in Newmarket. The Toronto-York Spadina subway extension is under construction, and the design for rapidways on Yonge Street are being finalized.  Great new developments are popping up all over the new urban centres across the Region.

So when the first rapidway on Highway 7 starts service this year, we’re going to be celebrating the implementation of the first phase of our transportation and growth management blueprint.

We have many more phases to deliver, but with such a clear plan to follow, people in York Region can be assured it’s going to come true.  Check out our construction progress so far.


View the final designs for two Spadina Subway stations!

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010


On Thursday, July 8, and Tuesday, July 13, 2010, you are invited to view the final designs of two stations along the Spadina Subway extension: Sheppard West Station and Highway 407 Station.

The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension project will extend 8.6 kilometres north from Toronto’s Downsview Station to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre at Highway 7. The project will better connect people to their destinations of choice, and will help Vaughan fulfill its vision for future growth and development.

We encourage you to attend these two public open houses and share the excitement as rapid transit plans move forward in York Region.

Sheppard West Station Public Open House

Date: Thursday, July 8, 2010
Time: 4 – 7:30pm
Location: TTC Downsview Station – Bus Terminal Platform
At the intersection of Allen Road and Sheppard Avenue West
Access to Bus Terminal Platform through “Passenger Pick up and Drop off”

Highway 407 Station Public Open House

Date: Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: The Hilton Garden Inn – Toscana Centre
3201 Highway 7, Vaughan

Take Transit: From Downsview Station take Viva Orange 077/077A or Viva Orange 107 to arrive at the doorstep of the Hilton Garden Inn, at the intersection of Highway 7 and Edgeley/Interchange Way.

Places to Grow: setting the stage for growth

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

For those of us living in York Region and in the Greater Toronto Area, growth is one of those things that we cannot escape. In fact, the entire Province of Ontario is set to expand its population by nearly 30% over the next 30 years. Obviously, no one community is an island; growth in one area affects all of us.

To make sure all this growth has a positive impact on our communities, in 2005 the provincial government passed the Places to Grow Act. This Act set out specific growth targets and densities for the province. It also produced individual growth plans for key regions, including the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region. This plan is the basic rule book that is guiding planning for all the regions and municipalities in the region, including York Region and all its towns and cities. It calls for municipalities to look for ways to:

  • Revitalize downtowns to become vibrant and convenient centres;
  • Create complete communities that offer more options for living, working, learning, shopping and playing;
  • Provide housing options to meet the needs of people at any age;
  • Curb sprawl and protect farmland and green spaces; and
  • Reduce traffic gridlock by improving access to a greater range of transportation options.

This plan was welcomed as great news by people who understand the need for sustainable, smart management of growth. In fact, although the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe may sound like a bit of a mouthful, it has many admirers. It has won numerous awards – including from the Ontario Professional Planners Institute, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the American Planning Association (APA) as the first recipient from outside the United States of the APA’s Daniel Burnham Award. Watch a video that showcases why they received the award. This is the most prestigious planning award in the United States, given to a comprehensive plan that, among other things, best represents the APA’s slogan of “Making Great Communities Happen”.

So we’re pretty fortunate in York Region to have this strong policy framework, and we’ve continued to build on it to shape the York Region of the future. It’s a long-term plan, and as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But bit by bit, this future vision is taking shape, and vivaNext is a key component.

Come see three Spadina Subway station designs at once!

Friday, March 5th, 2010

A map of the Spadina subway extension.

Extending from Downsview Station in Toronto to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre at Highway 7 in Vaughan, the Spadina subway extension will cover a total of 8.6 kilometres and include six new stations.

To date, three separate public open houses have been held to share the preliminary station design concepts with the community: Sheppard West Station on November 17, 2009, York University Station on December 3, 2009, and the Steeles West Station on February 3, 2010.

If you happened to miss the February public open house, you now have another opportunity to check out the preliminary design concept for the Steeles West Station, and be among the first to review the preliminary design concepts for the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre and the Highway 407 Stations. All three will be on display together at a public open house on Wednesday, March 10, 2010.

The preliminary design concept for the remaining new station – Finch West Station – will be presented to the public later this spring. Also, more open houses will be held later this year to share more detailed architectural concepts for all six stations so stay tuned.

Public Open House for Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, Highway 407 and Steeles West Subway Stations

Date: Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Location: The Hilton Garden Inn, Toscana Centre
3201 Highway 7, Vaughan, ON