Posts Tagged ‘Viva’

destination: Davis Drive

Friday, November 13th, 2015

destination: Davis Drive

In Newmarket, Davis Drive and Yonge Street are where many will choose to work, live, commute, shop and dine in the future. To set the stage for this, the new sidewalks along the Davis Drive rapidway have been built to be visually appealing and welcoming, as well as functional. Tree-lined sidewalks with attractive landscaping are part of the new streetscape design being built in York Region. Streetscape sets the appearance and ‘feel’ or character of a street, and this is connected to the overall experience. It also creates a distinct sense of place, identifying the area as a welcoming destination.

The new pedestrian spaces feel wide and separated from the traffic, and are separated into three zones: pedestrian zone, furnishing zone and transition zone. The pedestrian zone is paved with light-coloured pavers near intersections, and coloured accent bands – red for east-west and dark grey for north-south. The paving patterns stay consistent across driveways to remind drivers that pedestrians have the right of way.

The furnishing zone is where all the tree and shrub planters are located, and is paved in light coloured pavers. The transition zone is smaller, running between the planters and the road, acting as an extra buffer from traffic, and a place for snow storage in winter. This zone uses “eco-pavers” that allow water to seep through to the storm sewer system.

We’ve taken special measures to ensure Davis Drive is safe and welcoming to everyone, and the new streetscape will help make it a vibrant and memorable place, where people want to gather.

 

lights, sound… Viva!

Friday, October 30th, 2015

lights, sound... Viva!

lights…

Safety has been top priority in designing the rapidway, vivastations, and the surrounding streetscape. Streetlights are one of the most important safety elements, and their design contributes significantly to the overall streetscape. While developing lighting designs, vivaNext works with York Region, the local Municipality and the Utility companies to coordinate, design and install the lights, ensuring they provide both safety and visual appeal.

There are strict national and local standards on how street lighting needs to be designed, including how much lighting is required for different conditions. For example, different criteria are used to determine the necessary lighting levels for roadways, intersections and sidewalks. These include variables such as pole height, spacing and “lux,” which is the amount of light that a fixture provides.

Once the lighting standards are established, lighting design helps achieve the desired streetscape “look.”  In the case of vivaNext, the streetscape design is modern, stylish and uncluttered, helping the corridors feel like urban destinations, distinctive from other roads.

To keep with the uncluttered look on Davis Drive, special hydro poles were installed that don’t require guy wires and can have streetlights installed. The luminaires [light heads/fixtures] on the streetlights have a light sensor to automatically turn on and off, and the bulbs only need to be replaced every 4 years.

 

sound…

Have you ever found yourself straining to hear a quiet, garbled message from a public address system? It’s frustrating, especially when that message is important to your commute. At our vivastations, we want to be sure you won’t face this frustration, so our engineers have worked hard to design the public address [PA] system. Having audio at stations is also part of keeping Viva accessible for all users.

We conducted a sound analysis study, to determine how the shape of our vivastations would affect the way sound moves around inside the stations, and way it would reflect off the concrete wall, floor and glass. As it turned out, 12 speakers outside the passenger enclosure and another three speakers inside does the trick.

The next challenge was to work on the volume of the speakers.  The problem with PA systems in noisy places is that ambient noise can overwhelm the volume of the PA system, making it impossible to hear what’s being said.  Our solution is to use a speaker volume system that automatically adjusts when its sensors detect an increase or decrease in ambient noise.

There are two sensors on each new Viva platform. These allow PA announcements to be audible whether there’s a bus idling in the station and trucks are moving past, or it’s nighttime and quiet. This type of speaker volume system ensures that messages can always be heard, but won’t be intrusive.

 

action!

Once the rapidway opens on Davis Drive, you’ll be able to travel faster, and see and hear clearly when the next Viva vehicle is coming. What could be better than that?

 

signs of progress: staff and operator training has begun

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

signs of progress: staff and operator training has begun

We’re really counting down the days to the opening of the vivaNext rapidway service on Davis Drive from Yonge Street to Roxborough, and we bet you are too! You’ll know we’re in the final stages of construction once you see Viva buses out on the new rapidway.

Starting today, we will be doing systems testing on the new Davis Drive rapidway, in the Town of Newmarket, followed by driver training in November.

Training will be provided not only for Viva bus operators, but also for everyone who will need to be familiar with the rapidways, the stations and the equipment. Viva vehicles will be out on Davis Drive, taking customer service staff and other YRT/Viva staff along the rapidways to test and familiarize them with the new setup. Regular YRT transit service will continue to pick up passengers at curbside stops until testing and training is completed, and paving is fully finished. Signs directing passengers will be posted at the curbside stops.

Operator training will run from 7am to as late as 9pm on some nights, seven days per week.  During this time you can expect to see Viva buses driving up and down the rapidway, stopping at the vivastations. The training will focus on entering and exiting the rapidway, with an emphasis on safely merging back into mixed traffic past Yonge Street and Roxborough.

Operator training will also focus on the new transit signals at intersections, which will display a single green arrow for Viva buses. This signal will be clearly marked as transit only, but Viva operators will be trained to be cautious and on the lookout to make sure members of the driving public are following the signals correctly and not turning into the rapidway lanes.

The trainees are all experienced Viva operators, so they know the route and the vehicle. They’re really excited to get going!

 

Highway 7 East >> how we got here together

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Highway 7 East >> how we got here together

Before 2011, rapid transit projects were part a vision for York Region. To help set the stage for future growth, transit infrastructure was planned for York Region’s key towns and cities. Highway 7 East was the first to be built, and since construction began in 2011, has undergone a complete transformation.

At the west end, the rapidway has a remarkable [and accessible] two-story station taking pedestrians from Bayview down to Highway 7. And in the east the rapidway enters Markham Centre – a new development with a mix of commercial and residential development, including a new York U campus and a sports centre home to the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games in Markham.

The transformation may be most dramatic in the east end of Highway 7 near Warden, where originally the road didn’t have any sidewalks or bike lanes, trees were scarce and transit was mixed with other traffic. Now, there are dedicated lanes for Viva, tree-lined sidewalks and defined bike lanes, welcoming transit riders, pedestrians and cyclists to the street. To see the dramatic transformation of Highway 7 at the intersection of Town Centre Boulevard, check out this timelapse video.

In the years to come, Highway 7 will continue to develop with a mix of residential, commercial and office buildings. It will be the place to be for shopping, dining, working and living. The vision of quick, comfortable transit close to where people live work, shop and play is now a reality.

 

creating connections

Friday, September 11th, 2015

video: creating connections - a day in the life of a rapidway rider

Rapid transit is making it easier for people to move about York Region, connecting them to the places, people and things that matter. With all the traffic congestion the GTA currently faces, rapid transit can be a relaxing and time saving convenience. But what does this convenience really look like?

Because Viva travels in its own lanes along the length of the rapidways, riders save time and enjoy reliable service. Rapidway riders experience, on average, time savings of 16 minutes per round trip on the Highway 7 East rapidway, compared to making that same trip in a vehicle. And considering most commuters who travel along Highway 7 East will make daily round trips along the stretch of the rapidway, saving 16 minutes per round trip really adds up. In fact, it adds up to an annual time savings of 64 hours – that’s over two days! And less time spent travelling means more time for the things that matter.

Along with the rapidways, growth continues in York Region with new residential buildings, jobs and businesses popping up in the towns and cities, and along our roads. This means that people living in these urban centres won’t have to travel far to access services and amenities. They can easily walk, bike, or hop on Viva for a short trip to get where they need to go.

Rapid transit is providing convenience, reliability, and freedom for people to move around York Region easily. Watch our new video, day in the life of a rapidway rider, to see how one transit user enjoys the perks of the Viva rapidway along Highway 7, now that it’s complete

 

make some #connections this summer

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!

It’s that time of year again, as the temperature rises and schools close, we start making plans for the summer. No matter whether you’re planning to take a big vacation or find fun and excitement in York Region, know that Viva is there to make your trips for work, shopping or playing a fast and enjoyable experience.

But on a day like today, we’re concentrating on the fun. Join us at events across York Region this summer in your community.  This July 1, our vivaNext team will be out celebrating Canada Day at the Kanata Summer Festival in Newmarket.

itching for ways to win?

Pick up a scratch ‘n’ win card from our vivaNext team at your next community event. We’ll be handing out vivaNext scratch cards for a chance to win one of 12 PRESTO cards, or one of three iPad Air 2 tablets. Both are perfect for getting you around town or staying connected to the people and places we love most. A PRESTO card is the most convenient way to get around town, connecting YRT/Viva, GO buses and trains, and the TTC with one card! And the iPad Air 2 is equally convenient for business or pleasure with a wide selection of apps to choose from [like this one, perhaps?]. For complete details, visit our website, or go straight to the rules and regulations.

up for a challenge?

For those who enjoy games check out our summer on-line game – another PRESTO card is up for grabs. The highest score wins, so play early and often to better your score. Play the #Connections Summer Game here.

Davis Drive walking tours in Newmarket

Looking for something to do this summer? Show your support for Davis Drive businesses with a short, guided walking tour of the new rapidways under construction. See the progress in action! Best of all, you’ll receive a $10 voucher to use at a participating Davis Drive restaurant on the day of your tour. Space is limited, so please register for a date and time convenient to you.

There is a lot happening around town and we hope to see you out and about this summer. In the meantime, Happy Canada Day everyone!

 

bus rapid transit is a global phenomenon, up nearly 400% in over 10 years

Monday, June 29th, 2015

BRT system is a global phenomenon

At vivaNext, we’re working hard to build a Bus Rapid Transit [BRT] system. And we’re not alone! Our vision of fast, reliable and convenient BRT service is shared by many cities and regions, all over the world.

Bus Rapid Transit is a global phenomenon that has nearly quadrupled over the last 10 years, growing 383% worldwide from 2004 to 2014, according to data compiled by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

 

buses! buses!

Former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, Enrique Peñalosa, said it best with his rally cry: “Buses! Buses! Buses! Buses!” That was his response to a suggestion that some municipalities might benefit from a subway.

Indeed, for many cities and regions, BRT simply makes sense. A BRT system can be built at a fraction of the cost and time of a rail system – in the span of a few years instead of a decade or more – and still provide service that can be just as reliable, fast and frequent as a train.

More cities and regions are turning to BRT as their transportation solution, with 1,849 kilometres of new lines added globally in the last decade. In York Region, our contribution was the six- kilometre stretch of rapidway on Highway 7 East! And that’s just the beginning.

 

32 million global BRT riders every day

Around the world, 32 million people ride BRT every day, according to the global database BRTData.org.  That’s 5,087 kilometres of BRT lines in 193 cities.

The undisputed global leader of the movement is Latin America with nearly 20 million passengers, followed by Asia with 8.7 million. Brazil is the birthplace of BRT, and the country with the largest network of systems; nearly 12 million passengers a day in 34 cities!

Bus Rapid Transit grew the most in China with construction of 552 new kilometres over the last decade, followed by Brazil with 345 kilometres, and Mexico with 234 kilometres, according to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

Closer to home in North America, BRT is a small but growing phenomenon with one million passengers in 27 cities. The United States was fourth worldwide in terms of growth, with 104 kilometres of new lanes built in the last 10 years.

 

9.6 million annual riders on Highway 7 East rapidway

Here in York Region, we’re working hard to bring the vivaNext vision to life. Our current plan will include 34 kilometres of rapidway once construction is complete, connecting the communities of Markham, Vaughan, Richmond Hill and Newmarket. That includes the six kilometres already running in Markham. We’re also forging connections with the Spadina Subway Extension, and advancing plans for the Yonge North Subway Extension. In 2014, our Highway 7 East rapidway in Markham had 9.6 million riders, so we’re well on our way.

We’re building rapidways but the true end product is something much greater – mobility. Mobility makes everything possible. Because BRT runs in designated lanes it’s not subject to the whims of traffic. When our rapidways are complete, people will know they can rely on Viva service to get where they need to go – to work, to school, and to life.  As our communities grow and roads get more congested, our rapidway system will be ready to meet the growing demands of our region – part of a global movement moving people forward into the future

 

working hand-in-hand

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

working hand-in-hand

Sometimes the best way to get through big, complex tasks is to split the workload – divide and conquer. This is especially true with York Region’s transit network, so we work alongside the Transportation Services Department.

With strategic plans in place, the Transportation Services Department plans the overall transportation network, including roads, transit and cycling. They create a Transportation Master Plan, which takes into account many factors, including ideas from residents, population growth and other statistics, provincial mandates like Places to Grow, and environmental protection measures like the Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine. They also build and maintain roads, and through YRT/Viva, operate conventional YRT transit, Mobility Plus and Viva rapid transit.

At vivaNext [York Region Rapid Transit Corporation], we put the rapid transit part of the Transportation Master Plan in place. We work with all levels of government to acquire funding for each new project, whether it’s Bus Rapid Transit rapidways, subways, or transit facilities. We design and build these projects – including details like station locations and designs, sidewalks and lighting.

As the project manager, we set timelines and manage construction contracts. The rapidways are major infrastructure projects requiring careful scheduling and seamless handovers when each project goes into service. At this end point, the operations are handed over to YRT/Viva, and the maintenance is done by either York Region or the local municipality, depending on who owns the road.

At vivaNext we have some projects in place already, more scheduled for the next four years, and a few projects yet to be funded. Along with York Region’s growing population, there’s a growing need for transit. So there’s a lot to do, and we’re working hand-in-hand to get everything done.

If you’re looking for a few videos, you can get a glimpse of the transformation of York Region, see what York Region’s Transportation Services does, or just catch a little excitement.

 

private time on public transit

Friday, June 12th, 2015

private time on public transit

The Toronto Star recently ran a piece on how the TTC has become an extension of “home” for its users. While he remarked that some people do things not normally considered polite for public spaces, Urban Affairs writer Christopher Hume also noted that even with less privacy, riders have more freedom.

“Even in a moving subway,” he wrote, “it’s easier to put on lipstick than it is driving on Highway 401. It’s also easier to eat, drink, read and tend to one’s appearance.”

People who use transit regularly use the time in a variety of ways that are either impossible or risky when driving a car. They read books, work on laptops, watch TV, talk to other riders, snooze – and yes, put on makeup or simply stare into space at the end of a busy day.

They don’t worry about being cut off in traffic or being stuck behind a sander during a snowstorm. Parking and finding a gas station are also non-issues, and riders save thousands of dollars a year in car depreciation, gas and insurance. And let’s not forget that they also get tax credits for transit passes like the Viva Monthly Pass.

If you trade your car keys for a transit seat, you might just find yourself with time on your hands!

 

time for some family fun…

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

time for some family fun...

York Region’s Public Works and Emergency Medical Services [EMS] departments are hosting a Family Fun Day this weekend, and we’ll be there too to help recognize the importance of these services, and to have some fun!

We hope you can drop by our booth while you’re there, and be sure you take part in some of the activities, including:

  • Give transit a try and ride Viva through the bus wash facility in Newmarket [we especially recommend this activity!]
  • Tour the facilities at 80 and 90 Bales Drive, and see interesting equipment and vehicles
  • Watch or take part in the bike rodeo and bike helmet demonstrations
  • Food and refreshments at a charity BBQ [11:30 – 2pm]
  • Free garden mulch with a donation, and contests and prizes
  • Meet Pylon Pete, Barkley the Tree and Parry the Paramedic

So let’s enjoy the nice weather, spend quality time with family, and come see some of York Region’s services. We’ll see you there!

For detailed information about York Region’s Family Fun Day, visit York.ca.