Posts Tagged ‘TTC’

a connected transit terminal

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

a connected transit terminal

This morning, we marked the beginning of construction for a new YRT bus terminal in Vaughan Metropolitan Centre [VMC]. The news release gives the basic project information, but doesn’t delve into how this terminal will connect in the GTA transit network:

bus

Well, it is a bus terminal. YRT buses will use this terminal, taking customers in and out of York Region’s neighbourhoods and to places farther away like Brampton and northern Toronto. Customers will also be able to walk to the VMC vivastation in the middle of Highway 7, where Viva will take them away on dedicated bus rapid transit lanes. They’ll walk about two minutes above ground, or when the weather is frightful they’ll take the underground path and escalator, elevator and stairs to reach the vivastation.

subway

Customers will take the underground path or walk along landscaped paths outside to the VMC Subway Station entrance just south of the terminal, to access the underground concourse for the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension. The subway concourse is actually under the vivastation on Highway 7 – stay tuned for a future blog about this.

walking and cycling

The VMC area is planned as a walkable area with tree-lined sidewalks and places to live, work, shop and take transit. The terminal will meet accessibility standards, and customers will be able to walk or cycle there from any direction.

driving

The terminal is near the intersection of Highway 400 ad Highway 407, so a passenger pick-up and drop off [aka. “kiss ‘n ride”] will be included, encouraging carpooling.

 

So it’s not your typical bus terminal and it’s more than a place to wait for the bus. It’s about connections, and where they’ll take you from here.

 

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.

 

spring is in the air

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

John Steinbeck – “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” Such words have never been truer than this past winter.  The Greater Toronto Area recorded the coldest winter in 20 years; there have been at least 10 days of temperature that dipped below -20 C, which hasn’t happened in seven years and this has been the longest winter on record in over 100 years! With the official arrival of spring, vivaNext is preparing to ramp up our construction and road work.

Last year, we had some great milestones with the opening of 3.9 kilometres of rapidway on Highway 7 from Bayview Avenue to Highway 404. The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension [TYSSE] project celebrated a major milestone at the end of last year, with the tunnel boring machines [TBMs] “Yorkie” and “Torkie” finished their tunneling journey north to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre [VMC] station. Ongoing utility relocation on Highway 7 West, as well as CN Bridge work.  On Davis Drive, nearly all retaining walls have been constructed, the eastern creek culvert has been replaced and extended, and the majority of hydro poles have been relocated. Road widening and base-layer paving has started, while reconstruction of Keith Bridge and the extension of the western creek bridge on the north side continue.

Building on the progress and advancing the BRT project, we’ll continue to relocate utilities, construct retaining walls, widen roads and pave along the different corridors, not to mention finishing the new viva stations on Highway 7 in Markham.  With the longer days and bright sunshine, comes a lot more activity in the construction zones so please drive carefully and be alert to workers in the area. We know construction can be daunting and we thank you for your patience and understanding. Please drive with care and give yourself extra time to get to your destination safely.

To find out what is happening this spring, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. You can also sign up for email notices at vivanext.com to keep you updated on the construction underway in your area.

 

‘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 vivanext.com.

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.

 

this is just the beginning

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Over the next three years, the vivaNext system is really going to be taking shape, with rapidways on Highway 7 and Davis Drive opening for service, and the Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension [TYSSE] welcoming its first passengers.  But these new transit options are only the beginning of expanding vivaNext network that’s being built for York Region commuters over the next few years.

Funding for the next priority series of rapidways is already lined up, and we hope to be confirming funding soon for a number of other high priority projects.  Here’s the rundown on what’s planned, and how your transit choices are going to be widened over the next few years as vivaNext continues to expand.

Rapidway projects are being built in the order that will create the most connectivity for the greatest number of people and get you past the worst traffic congestion.  Check out the map to see how the phases are rolling out.

The segments that are coloured pink on the map are what we’re currently building and include the rapidway on the East part of Highway 7, from Yonge Street to Warden Avenue, and the rapidway in Newmarket along Davis Drive from Yonge Street to Highway 404.

In the pink project bundle, we’re in the preliminary construction stages for a 36 km stretch of rapidway on Highway 7 West including a station at the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre [VMC].  This station and rapidway will be opening in time to connect viva passengers to the Spadina Subway Extension when it opens for service in 2016.

The blue projects run north on Yonge Street. We’re currently in the procurement phase for the first stage of two rapidway segments between Richmond Hill and Newmarket.  One stretch will whisk passengers north from the Richmond Hill Centre up to 19th Ave / Gamble.  The other stretch starts at Mulock Drive in Newmarket, and will connect to the new rapidway along Davis Drive.  Construction of these rapidways is expected to be completed in 2017.

But that’s not all – look at the orange segments on the map.  These segments are also all designed and funding is committed, with planning well underway for construction to start in 2015.  Orange projects include two rapidway segments on Highway 7 West, which will extend on either side of the VMC rapidway. When it’s complete in 2018 this whole section will run over 15 km from Helen to Yonge Street. Another orange project will extend the Highway 7 East rapidway from the existing Warden Station on Enterprise Boulevard, to Unionville GO Station.

Other projects that will eventually create a full network across the Region and connecting to other transit systems are grey on the map. Since we don’t have funding secured for all of them yet we can’t confirm the actual timing.

Of these unfunded segments, two are the top priority.  The first priority is the Yonge North Subway Extension, which will provide a critical link for passengers transferring between the vivaNext system and the TTC.  Without this connection, vivaNext is missing a critical link that will really make our system a key part of the larger Greater Toronto transit network.

Another key priority is a rapidway along Major Mackenzie Drive, which would provide a major transit artery for all the growth taking place in that area.  The Major Mackenzie rapidway would provide passengers with connections to the TYSSE, GO lines in both the east and west, and the viva Highway 7 rapidway in both the east and west.

Imagine how this wonderful rapid transit network would make your life easier?  We are working hard to bring it to life, so that everyone in York Region will have the choice to leave their car at home and hop on board viva for a fast, reliable and comfortable ride, no matter where they want to go.

 

Spadina Subway: it’s about connections

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Map of the extension to the Spadina Subway extension. Inset: future design of Vaughan Metropolitan Centre

Is it possible to live or work in northwest Toronto, western York Region or east side of Peel, and not know about the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension? Although you might know that a subway extension is planned, you might not know the details about this huge subway development project.

The extension to the University-Spadina TTC subway line from the current Downsview Station north to Highway 7 in Vaughan will be big news to anyone living or working along its route. A connection from Downsview Station to the Wilson Yard TTC storage and maintenance facility has already been built, and four Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) have been manufactured in Canada for this project. Each TBM took several months to build, and three weeks – 21 truckloads of parts – to deliver to its launch location. This spring the parts of the four TBMs will be lowered into their launch shafts at Sheppard West Station and Steeles West Station, and assembled in launch position. In the first of several tunnel drives, the TBMs at Sheppard West will bore northward to Finch West Station, and the TBMs at Steeles West will bore southward to York University Station. Each machine will bore at a rate of about 15 metres per day, and they’re multi-talented machines, excavating in front and placing tunnel reinforcements behind them. When they reach their destinations they’ll be removed from the ground and relocated to new launch locations for the next tunnel drive. The tunnelling is expected to take about two years, with the entire project, including stations, scheduled to be complete and in service by late 2015.

Highway 407 Station and the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre will be the first subway stations in York Region. Vaughan Metropolitan Centre will be built at Millway Avenue along the Highway 7 West rapidways, and will feature retail space, a domed roof with skylights positioned to reflect light to platform level, and pedestrian and transit-oriented development.

We talk about rapidways all the time, but really we’re developing a rapid transit network – a system to move people within our region and connect us to neighbouring transit networks. Subway extensions create a vital connection in the GTHA transit network, and will bring new life to communities near subway stations, as people gather in these areas to live, work, shop and play.

If you’re interested in more details about subway extensions, be sure to visit some of these links:

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

Station designs for Spadina Subway extension continue to take shape!

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
An aerial view of the Steeles West Station design

An aerial view of the Steeles West Station design

In the fall of 2009, preliminary station designs were unveiled at public open houses for two of the six stations that will be located along vivaNext’s 8.6 kilometre Spadina subway extension, which will extend from Downsview Station in Toronto to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station in Vaughan.

Next week, on Wednesday, February 3, 2010, the preliminary design for a third station – Steeles West – will also be unveiled at a public open house and you are invited to attend.

As previously mentioned on this blog, all of the six stations that will be built along the Spadina subway extension will have a unique design. The most striking features of the Steeles West station preliminary design are its very distinctive and futuristic profile, and its central light cone, which allows daylight to reach all the way down to the platform levels. It’s truly something you have to see for yourself to appreciate.

Following this public open house, a second one featuring more detailed architectural concepts will take place for the Steeles West station in the spring of 2010. Preliminary designs for the remaining Spadina subway extension stations – Finch West, Highway 407 and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre – will also be unveiled in the coming months.

Steeles West Subway Station Public Open House
Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Location: Black Creek Pioneer Village,  Garfield Weston Room
1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto, ON

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.