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Planning for the future of Newmarket

By Tony Van Bynen, Mayor, Town of Newmarket

If there’s one constant in life it’s change. The world is forever evolving; individuals, families, technology and yes, municipalities like the Town of Newmarket. Over a period of six years more than 10,000 new people are calling Newmarket ‘home.’

While our Town is expanding, so is Newmarket’s health care system. Soon, the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre at Southlake will open on Davis Drive. This state-of-the-art facility will offer world class cancer care and attract over 100,000 patient visits by 2012.

While the evolution of the Southlake Regional Health Centre and the growth in the Town’s population are both positive and will create much needed new employment, they will result in more traffic and the need for improved public transit along Davis Drive.

After enduring nearly a decade of traffic congestion on Davis Drive and Yonge Street, these changes are necessary, needed and long overdue.

Regional staff and our Municipal planners anticipated these challenges and put forward solutions in our 2006 Official Plan after extensive community consultation. The plan highlighted that, “revitalization of neighbourhoods and the provision of a variety of transit options and linkages are an important part of a well planned community.” Among the “transit options” is the expansion of the Viva rapid transit system. 

VivaNext includes construction of dedicated lanes (called rapidways) for Viva along Highway 7, up parts of Yonge Street into Newmarket, and across Davis Drive to Southlake Regional Health Centre. The Davis Drive rapidway will be one of the initial segments constructed. Planning and design work is currently underway and it is expected the first shovel will be in the ground in the fall of 2009. 

The benefits of this expansion are many. Rapidways will take the blue Viva buses out of mixed traffic and enable them to operate faster by avoiding congestion. Faster, more reliable service means greater convenience for our residents. Construction of the rapidways will help stimulate the economy and will result in boulevards that are welcoming and aesthetically pleasing.

Our Official Plan envisions that, “the Yonge-Davis Urban Growth Centre will be a hub in York Region and beyond for commercial, recreational, cultural and entertainment activity that provides for a significant share of the population and employment growth within Newmarket.”

While this change will result in many long-term benefits, there will be disruption. To accommodate these improvements, a portion of properties fronting onto Davis Drive. will need to be acquired. In most cases it will be a narrow strip of land required from property owners, but in a few cases it will be the entire property.

After enduring nearly a decade of traffic congestion on Davis Drive and Yonge Street, these changes are necessary, needed and long overdue. The truth is this may present hardship for those directly affected.  The Town of Newmarket and the Region of York  are going to great lengths to make the process fair and equitable for impacted property owners, while recognizing our overall community needs.  An appraisal firm is working closely with property owners to discuss the value of their properties and appropriate compensation. The goal is to achieve a settlement outside of the expropriation process with each and every property owner.

Change is not always easy to embrace. However, we need to look beyond the short term disruption to appreciate the long term benefits. Newmarket will continue to evolve, and it will continue to be a destination of choice for individuals, families and businesses. The great services, including the next generation of rapid transit, will be a catalyst to an ever improving quality of life in our Town.  Newmarket continues to grow and is a Town well beyond the ordinary.

 

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December 5, 2014

First Viva BRT Station Installed on Davis Drive

NEWMARKET, ON, December 5, 2014 – Together with Metrolinx, The Regional Municipality of York is a step closer to improving rapid transit in Newmarket with the installation of the first vivastation at Longford/Parkside Drive and Davis Drive. The steel canopy structures that comprise the east and westbound platforms are in place and crews will continue to progress over the [...]

November 19, 2014

Tom Taylor Trail re-opens under the Keith Bridge

NEWMARKET, ON, November 19, 2014 – With reconstruction of the Keith Bridge nearing completion, the Tom Taylor Trail has re-opened and has been reinstated back to its original location under the bridge. Highlights: The Keith Bridge in the Town of Newmarket is being reconstructed as part of the York Viva Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project [...]

September 15, 2014

Highway 7 Viva Bus Rapid Transit Service opens in City of Markham

MARKHAM, ON, Sept. 15, 2014 – Today, the Honourable Steven Del Duca, Ontario Minister of Transportation; the Honourable Michael Chan, MPP Markham-Unionville; Bill Fisch, Chairman and CEO, The Regional Municipality of York; and Bruce McCuaig, President and CEO, Metrolinx, officially marked the opening of the next segment of bus rapid transit (rapidway) that will run in the centre median of [...]

September 10, 2014

Construction Teams Invited to Bid on York Viva Bus Rapid Transit Expansion

YORK REGION, ON, Sept. 9, 2014 – Metrolinx has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to three teams pre-qualified to deliver the next phase of the York Viva Bus Rapid Transit (vivaNext) rapidways project in Vaughan and Markham. The expanded vivaNext rapid transit system will make it easy to travel in and around York Region [...]

July 25, 2014

Teams Prequalified For York viva Bus Rapid Transit Expansion

YORK REGION, ON, July 25, 2014 – Metrolinx, The Regional Municipality of York and Infrastructure Ontario have announced the three teams prequalified to design, build and finance the next phase of York Viva Bus Rapid Transit (vivaNext) rapidways in the cities of Vaughan and Markham. Based on a request for qualifications issued in December 2013, [...]

April 24, 2014

Expansion of the CN MacMillan Bridge Underway in the City of Vaughan

VAUGHAN, ON, April 24, 2014 - As part of the York Viva Bus Rapid Transit [vivaNext] rapidway project on Highway 7 West in the City of Vaughan, construction has started on the south side of the Canadian National Railway [CN] MacMillan Bridge, located west of Keele Street. The bridge surface will be widened approximately 8-metres to accommodate [...]

April 22, 2014

Rapid Transit Contract Awarded for Yonge Street in Richmond Hill and Newmarket

RICHMOND HILL, ON, April 22, 2014 - York RapidLINK Constructors has been awarded the $260.5 million contract to design and build the York Viva Bus Rapid Transit (vivaNext) rapidways along Yonge Street in the Towns of Richmond Hill and Newmarket, a project that will create thousands of jobs. The project involves widening Yonge Street within [...]

January 30, 2014

Viva Bus Rapid Transit Project Wins Project of the Year Award from Ontario Public Works Association

MARKHAM, ON, Jan. 30, 2014 - York Region Rapid Transit Corporation today received the Project of the Year Award for the Highway 7 Viva Bus Rapid Transit (rapidway) project in The Town of Richmond Hill from the Ontario Public Works Association (OPWA) for a transportation project valued greater than $50 million. “I am very pleased the vivaNext rapidway project [...]
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