Posts Tagged ‘York Region’

having your own wheels, in your pocket

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

having your own wheels, in your pocket

For most of us old enough to have our drivers’ license, our approach to transportation has taken a pretty linear path. First, we got driven around by our parents. Then, we got a bit of independence when we could bike to our friends’. The bike in turn was ditched on that much-anticipated and magical day when we could get our own “wheels.” Throughout, as a fallback, there was always the bus. For most of us, how we got around reflected where we lived and what our budget was. But what wasn’t an option, was the thought that at any given time there could be multiple good choices for how we could get around. Or even, that there might be something more convenient or desirable than owning our own car.

All that is changing, and fast.

As this compelling report from consulting firm Deloitte describes, mobility – i.e., how we get around, is quickly becoming something people are approaching as consumers, like any other service or goods they shop for. People want choice, they want flexibility, and they want convenience. And they want it now.

Mobility as a service – MaaS for short – is poised to change how we get around, in the same way that Netflix forever changed how we access entertainment. Remember that not-so-long-ago day, when watching a movie meant lining up at the movie theatre to buy a paper ticket? Now, to catch the latest, you still might want to go out to the theatre, or you might want to call it up on your smart TV at home. Or maybe you want to watch on your phone while you’re enjoying a latte at the coffee shop. Instantaneous options, to suit your mood, at a given moment. Oh, and you don’t need to pay for that movie with cash, since that’s all handled by your TV or phone’s app automatically. It’s all seamless, and easy to use, and we just take it for granted now.

Take that degree of transformation and apply it to how you get around. That’s how mobility is about to be changed.

Say you need to get from A to B. You go to your app, punch in where you are now and where you’re going, and it tells you all your options. Bike sharing, public transit, ride hailing, car sharing, etc. You’ll be told what combination will get you there soonest, and how much each component will cost. You pay on your phone. It’s all coordinated behind the scenes, but seamless for you.

Sounds like some kind of sci-fi? Not at all. Some cities, including in Europe and Japan, are way ahead and already have these apps in place, coordinating the services offered by a whole range of public and private sector mobility providers. Canadian cities aren’t all that far behind. And with some transformation, our public transit services will play a key role as they do in those other cities; many, including at York Region Rapid Transit, are already focusing on mobility options. This means lots of creative ways of working together to make mobility seamless and more efficient for consumers. The day is coming when you can have your own “wheels,” without owning a car.


rapid transit means quality of life

Friday, February 16th, 2018

rapid transit means quality of life

When you think of rapid transit, you probably think of commuting – getting to school or work on time, without having to rely on a car. It’s true that transit helps people get to work – and that having more people on transit means fewer cars on the roads. But a fast, convenient transit system means more than getting to work.

It means getting home on time to meet friends for dinner, take the kids to swimming lessons or just to enjoy family time. Knowing when the next bus [or subway] will arrive is key. And being able to predict when you’ll get there is important to you, and everyone you’re connecting with.

Whether you take transit because it’s fast and easy, or because you can text your friends on the bus, quality of life is what it’s all about. This Family Day weekend, we wish you all the best, as you connect with friends and family.


we’re preparing for spring [despite what groundhogs may say…]

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

we’re preparing for spring [despite what the groundhog may say…]

The groundhogs seem to be of differing opinions about when spring is coming. Of the big three – Wiarton Willie, Shubenacadie Sam and Punxsutawney Phil – one says winter is over, and two predict six more weeks.

We’re ready for spring to come at vivaNext, with lots of plans afoot to continue the transformation of York Region’s busiest roads to rapidways.

When spring has sprung and the ground has thawed, our crews will be ready to carry out their detailed construction plans.

We carry out construction in all seasons, but there are some things that need warmer temperatures, like road widening, paving and of course, planting! Planters will be installed along Yonge Street in Newmarket this spring. At our newly open Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station, the planters are ready and waiting for a green touch, soon to be filled with greenery.

We’re paving the way to spring with information, preparing newsletters on our projects, and keeping our Board and local stakeholders updated. Subscribe to sign up for email updates today.

At this time of year, we’re looking forward to ramping up our work. It’s not long now, and whether the groundhogs are right or wrong, we’re ready for spring.

viva la winter!

Monday, January 29th, 2018

Brr, it’s cold out there, or unseasonably warm, depending on the day. You never know what’s in store. Regardless of the weather, our construction crews continue to expand the Viva rapidway system to improve connections in York Region. The winter season lends itself to certain types of work, especially the kind that happens above ground.

shiny, new canopies

Forget the January blahs! It’s been exciting times on the Bathurst & Centre corridor this past month. The first two vivastation canopies were installed at Bathurst/Hwy 7 Station located on the Bathurst connector road, one for each side of the station. There’s nothing like seeing that crane lift the canopy into place!

The elegant, arched glass canopies evoke traditional European transit infrastructure, transforming the everyday experience of transit into a beautiful one. A third canopy is coming this winter to the vivastation on Bathurst at Atkinson Avenue.

Looking to the west, construction of the first vivastation platform is beginning to take shape at what will be Commerce Street Station on Highway 7 West.

On both Highway 7 West and Bathurst & Centre, road widening and construction of storm sewers, retaining walls and culvert work is underway. Winter is also a great time to relocate hydro lines and install new poles, which is getting close to being completed in this area.

signals, check!

Our Yonge Street projects are not as far along, and the underground utility work they need to do is limited during cold weather. Crews have made some progress on installing underground duct banks and gas mains in Richmond Hill. Traffic signal work, a good above-ground winter activity, and is also underway. In Newmarket, crews are preparing to start work on the east side of Yonge when the weather gets a bit warmer. They’ll be replicating the road widening that was performed on the west side last year.

planning season

Winter is also a great time to make plans, large and small. We’re working together with the TTC on design and engineering for the biggest plan of all – the Yonge Subway Extension. Also, our staff and contractors are carefully planning spring construction schedules for the Viva rapidway projects, coordinating in advance with stakeholders, and procuring contractors for other projects.

Come spring, our crews will be raring to go, full steam ahead. If you’d like to keep on top of what’s going on in your community, we invite you to sign up for updates.

great transit knows no borders

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

The vivaNext mandate is to build a strong bus rapid transit network in York Region, but our responsibility doesn’t end at our Region’s borders. We’re forging transit connections that help people get wherever they want to go, in our Region and beyond. That’s why we partner with organizations like Metrolinx, and engage in big-picture thinking about how people use transit and what customers want. We don’t live our lives constrained by regional borders, why should our transit systems?

crossing borders

A key feature of the Metrolinx Draft 2041 Regional Transportation Plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area [GTHA] is that it calls for historic levels of transit investment to deliver more – and more frequent – transit service across the region that crosses regional borders more simply and efficiently. Another key strategy is optimizing the system, so we make the most of what we have.

getting ready to meet RER

For example, over the next 10 years, the Metrolinx Regional Express Rail program plans to transform the GO rail network – the backbone of regional rapid transit in the GTHA – providing two-way all day service north-south, east and west. This doesn’t happen in isolation. We’re preparing to offer integrated services with YRT/Viva networks, to serve passengers riding the trains.

one fare system

We’re not there yet, but that’s the direction we’re headed. From a passenger perspective, a transit system with one simplified fare system that transcends regional boundaries across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area could make a lot of sense. We’re on our way with the PRESTO card, which you can use to pay for transit at 11 different transit agencies in the GTHA. As digital apps improve and new technology comes on board, we look forward to what comes next.

TTC subway, now running in York Region

The regional transit system took a giant leap forward with the first TTC subway to cross regional borders, connecting with the Viva bus rapid transit network. Now we’re seeing what one subway [and bus rapid transit] connection has done for Vaughan, with all the ground-breaking residential, office and entertainment development at the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. The next top priority transit project for York Region is the Yonge Subway Extension, which will elevate regional subway connections to an entirely new level.

These are just some of the ways we’re involved in strengthening regional transit connections, a task that comes with challenges and opportunities.

To understand more about the challenges in our region and beyond, the Ryerson City Building Institute hosted Breaking Transit Governance Gridlock, an all-star panel on regional transit governance. Read their blog about the event.

home, safe, home in York Region

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

If you want to live in a safe place, come to York Region. York Region is one of the safer places in Canada to call home, according to Maclean’s magazine list of Canada’s most dangerous places to live.

low crime rates

The Region is well down the list at #201, making it the 30th safest area to live in.

The rankings come from a crime severity index, calculated by the type and frequency of crime: violence, drugs, theft/property and youth crime. York Region falls below the national average on every front, often far below.

See the rankings

strong communities by design

Low crime is just one of the many reasons our region is a great place to live, along with the Region’s thriving economy, impressive job growth and strong sense of community. In the future, we hope our Region will also be known for the strength of its rapid transit network.

At vivaNext, we’re fortifying the future of our communities with rapidways. Having a transit network in place is the ticket for transit-oriented development — smart growth designed with the new urbanism in mind. The vision is one of compact, walkable communities served by transit, where people want to live.

We know we need to be ready for our Region’s future population – we’re expected to reach 1.79 million residents by 2041, up from today’s 1.2 million. But we also want to preserve the essence of our communities that made them desirable in the first place.

streets for everyone

VivaNext rapidways come with streets for everyone: pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and transit riders. Attractive streetscapes and landscaping enhance the allure. The rapid transit projects foster mixed-use land development, increasing population density while reducing urban sprawl. These are the kind of communities that go the distance, designed to be strong, caring and safe for the long-haul.


your sneak peek >> three new subway stations

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

your sneak peek >> three new subway stations

This Saturday, October 28, you have a chance to get a sneak peek at the three most northerly subway stations on the TTC Line 1 subway extension. Drop by Vaughan Metropolitan Centre [VMC – pictured above], Highway 407 or Pioneer Village stations from 1 to 5pm and take a self-guided tour where you’ll learn about how the stations were built and how they’ll operate. You’ll also be able to talk to staff and others involved in the project.

VivaNext staff will be there to chat, and YRT/Viva customer service staff will be on hand to talk about route changes on the way for the VMC.

The stations open on December 17 – bring your friends and family to get a good look around, at three new subway stations in York Region! Get there by transit or by driving – shuttle buses will get you from station to station. For details about locations and how to get there, visit, and for information on the vivaNext projects opening December 17 in the VMC, check out the pages for the VMC rapidway station on Highway 7, and for SmartCentres Place Bus Terminal. See you at the open house!

transformation >> made in York Region

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Transformation >> made in York Region

York Region’s rapid rate of growth is increasing along with housing options in our downtown areas. Some of our communities look more like cities than towns, with Vaughan and Markham even changing their name from “Town” to “City.”

This increase in growth that York Region has experienced has influenced the ways in which our cities and towns are represented. Markham was named Canada’s most diverse city and is known as Canada’s high-tech capital, and Vaughan is one of York Region’s fastest-growing municipalities, and home to exciting achievements. Some of the fun ones: fastest roller-coaster in Canada, and tallest condominium building in York Region.

On Highway 7 just west of Jane Street is Vaughan’s new vibrant downtown, Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC). The VMC is being built with live-work-play in mind – a mix of residential, business and retail, combined with transportation connections and planned greenspace.

Markham is well on its way, with Highway 7 East transformed from a car-focused highway to a complete street with sidewalks, bike lanes and rapid transit. Vaughan’s transformation is unfolding now, with new housing and transportation options to support the growing number of new residents and businesses. This is transformation >> made in York Region.


By Adrianna Damiano

designed to connect: the VMC rapidway station on Highway 7

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

designed to connect: the VMC rapidway station on Highway 7

If you’re a Viva customer, you know that vivastations generally follow the same design, with a curved glass canopy providing shelter from the elements, and extending over the concrete platform and enclosed glass waiting area.

easy on the eyes

Elegant curves and expanses of glass, warmed by wood. Open and airy while still welcoming, human-scaled and sheltering — these are the main themes in the vivaNext design language. A vivaNext structure, whether it’s a vivastation, the towers at Bayview Station, or the Operations, Maintenance and Storage Facility [OMSF] in Richmond Hill, contain those recognizable elements and marry functionality with beauty.

We believe that taking public transit should be a great experience. It should be convenient, comfortable and reliable, but also aesthetically pleasing.

the biggest vivastation yet

So in keeping with this overall design goal, we’re excited to report the progress on the new bus rapid transit [BRT] station taking shape on Highway 7 in the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre [VMC] transit hub.

With the vivaNext curves as our visual starting point, we needed to tailor the design of the new station to its unique role: linking Viva passengers arriving via the BRT lanes in the middle of Highway 7 to the subway trains below and to the YRT bus terminal nearby.

connecting connections

Passengers connecting between the new Line 1 TTC subway and Viva literally don’t have to cross the road to get to the subway or the new SmartCentres Place Bus Terminal north of the subway station. Once in the station, stairways and escalators and elevators will make it easy to connect to the subway concourse level below, and to an underground pedestrian path connecting to SmartCentres Place Bus Terminal for YRT. For pedestrians and cyclists in the area, there’s also going to be street level crosswalks and a plaza on the north side of Highway 7 connecting to the subway station and YRT bus terminal.

Over the next several weeks, we’re going to be posting more information and descriptions of the wonderful new VMC BRT station, including its design and an introduction to its amenities. And then before you know it, we’re all going to be able to enjoy fully rapid transit connections between York Region and Toronto. That’s something to really celebrate!

a sense of history in York Region

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

a sense of history in York Region

150 years ago, York Region looked vastly different than it does now. Instead of a Starbucks on every corner, wide expanses of farmland were dotted with small villages. Small settlements defined the “downtown” of each, creating a sense of community.

This sense of community has flourished as the population of these cities and towns has grown. With a population that surpassed a million in York Region; the change in population has also been reflected in the community landscapes. The once quaint small-town streets have evolved and transformed into bustling metropolitan hubs, in and of themselves. Each hub is now being enhanced with transit, connecting people to housing and jobs, and businesses offering services, shopping, dining and entertainment!

These bustling towns and cities are exciting, but if you yearn for a simpler time, a visit to Black Creek Pioneer Village [see map] may be just what you need. Whether learning how to make a candle, or being an apprentice for the day with the blacksmith, Pioneer Village gives you the opportunity to experience how early residents lived in southern Ontario.

Once the new TTC Line 1 extension to Vaughan opens this December, getting to Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto will be even easier! Pioneer Village is one of six new stations being added to Line 1, on Steeles West between Keele and Jane StreetsYou’ll be able to get to TTC subway easily in Vaughan, with the new Vaughan Metropolitan Centre vivastation opening on Highway 7 with direct connections from Viva to the subway station below, and a new SmartCentres Place Bus Terminal opening for YRT customers, just two-minutes’ walk north. Transit agencies in the GTA continue to ‘pioneer’ new transit for our modern age, allowing our ever-expanding communities to stay connected. Unfolding histories – made in York Region.


by Adrianna Damiano