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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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May 17, 2016

Viva Bus Rapid Transit Wins Business Support Award from Canadian Urban Transit Association

MARKHAM, May 17, 2016 – York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC) has been recognized for communications excellence by the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA). During CUTA’s annual meeting in Halifax, YRRTC won the National Corporate Leadership Award for its business support communications campaign during the construction of Viva dedicated bus rapid transit lanes along Davis Drive in [...]

April 7, 2016

Construction Continues on Viva Bus Rapid Transit Projects in York Region

MARKHAM, April 7, 2016 – With the arrival of spring, vivaNext is ramping up construction activity on the York Viva Bus Rapid Transit (vivaNext) rapidways in York Region. Utility companies, construction equipment and crews will be present this year in the City of Vaughan along Highway 7 West, Bathurst Street and Centre Street, in the Town [...]

December 22, 2015

York Viva Bus Rapid Transit Construction – Year in Review

The vision of rapid transit is becoming a reality across York Region MARKHAM, December 22, 2015 – This year, significant progress was made on the implementation of the York Region Viva Bus Rapid Transit [vivaNext]. The Davis Drive rapidway in Newmarket opened in November. This new “Yellow” Viva route travels within dedicated median transit lanes [...]

November 27, 2015

Viva Bus Rapid Transit Service Opens in the Town of Newmarket

NEWMARKET, November 27, 2015 – Ontario, Metrolinx and The Regional Municipality of York announce Sunday’s opening of 2.6 kilometres of bus rapid transit [rapidway] along Davis Drive in the Town of Newmarket, and a park and ride facility at Davis Drive and Highway 404. Service of the new “Yellow” Viva route will begin on Davis [...]

October 29, 2015

York Region Celebrates Markham’s Transformation

MARKHAM, October 29, 2015 – Today the Honourable Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation; Wayne Emmerson, Chairman and CEO, The Regional Municipality of York; Jack Collins, Chief Capital Officer, Metrolinx; and Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of the City of Markham and Chairman of York Region’s Rapid Transit Corporation board, joined together to celebrate the transformation of Markham, [...]

September 28, 2015

York Viva Bus Rapid Transit Expansion reaches major milestone in York Region

VAUGHAN, September 28, 2015 – Metrolinx and York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC) today announced the award of a $333.2 million contract to EDCO to design, build and finance the next phase of the dedicated York Viva Bus Rapid Transit rapidways along the Highway 7 corridor in the City of Vaughan and Town of Richmond [...]

September 18, 2015

Final Paving Begins on Davis Drive as Rapidway Prepares to Open

NEWMARKET, September 16, 2015 – Final paving will begin on Davis Drive in Newmarket next week and will continue intermittently over the next several weeks. The first phase of paving will take place from just west of Yonge Street to just east of Main Street. Once the paving is completed on the west end of [...]

July 21, 2015

New transit facility open for service in York Region

RICHMOND HILL, ON, July 21, 2015 – Today, the Honourable Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Costas Menegakis, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Member of Parliament for Richmond Hill; the Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and MPP for Richmond Hill; [...]

June 2, 2015

Viva Bus Rapid Transit Wins Communications Award from Canadian Urban Transit Association

MARKHAM, June 2, 2015 – York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC) won a national award today from the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) for their public relations strategy to commission dedicated bus rapid transit (BRT) lanes (rapidways) as part of the York Viva BRT project being funded by Metrolinx. CUTA’s National Transit Corporate Recognition Award, [...]