Posts Tagged ‘Newmarket’

communication is key

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

VivaNext is committed to providing timely and informative updates on all our construction projects. We have a small team of communicators who work behind the scenes to ensure you get the practical information you need. We strive to keep everyone up-to-date through various print and electronic communication vehicles.

Social media is an important tool that we use to provide information to our vivaNext users/followers. It allows for instant communications and easy access to all of the project news and updates.  It also provides the opportunity to have an engaged conversation in “real-time”. We summarized a number of our communication initiatives and social media channels in a short video for you to see just how dedicated we are to keeping you informed throughout construction.

In this video, you’ll also see a glimpse of the Davis Drive rapidway construction and the progress underway in the Town of Newmarket. While we capture as much as we can on video, it doesn’t always do the work justice. Why not check for yourself and stop by Davis Drive today to see the transformation unfolding and while you’re there Shop Davis to support your local retailers during construction.

Just as we keep the communication flowing to you, we also appreciate your interaction with us. Asking questions, sharing your thoughts, photos and comments, and posting on our social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter not only promotes participation, it also provides us with feedback. We also encourage you to connect with us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

We really enjoy hearing from you and appreciate your input. Let’s continue to keep the channels open and the communications flowing.

 

building up the centres and corridors

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

The most obvious benefit that vivaNext will provide, and one that is already taking shape on Highway 7, is the convenient rapid transit system that we’re constructing across York Region.  But as I’ve described in many previous posts, vivaNext is much more than a transit project; it’s also a key part of the long-term strategy being used by York Region to help our Region respond to and manage growth.  Central to that strategy is the overall vision of Centres and Corridors, which will help concentrate future growth in higher-density, mixed use developments clustered in four new urban nodes, one each in Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill and Vaughan.  Here’s a summary of how this strategy will transform our Region and help it manage growth.

Population increase is happening across the Region, and brings many advantages.  More people means the Region can attract and support new choices in housing, employment, shopping, entertainment, dining and recreation. But as the Region grows, more people also means more traffic, more congestion, and more crowding.  So the strategy that York Region has developed, in collaboration with both the Province and the local municipalities, is to channel much of that growth into newly developed communities clustered in new urban centres along Highway 7 and in Newmarket.  With this strategy, existing neighbourhoods will be protected, along with the way of life that attracted many people to the Region in the first place.

The new communities in the Regional Centres will be mixed use, meaning they will offer residential, employment and recreational options – including a proportion of affordable housing choices. Once these new downtowns are fully established, people will be able to work, live and play without needing to get in a car, enjoying choices for housing, jobs, shopping and dining, all within walking distance.

Linking these emerging downtowns will be major transportation corridors along Highway 7, Yonge Street and Davis Drive, featuring our new vivaNext bus rapid transit rapidways and the Spadina subway extension (and once funding is secured, the Yonge Subway extension).  With convenient access between these new urban neighbourhoods and our expanding rapid transit network, people will be able to travel across the Region and into the rest of the GTA without needing a car, making the Centres an attractive option for people looking for an urban lifestyle.

Obviously, completing York Region’s new downtowns isn’t going to happen overnight, but new developments are already transforming the look and feel along Highway 7, up Yonge Street and across Davis Drive.  And as these new urban areas take shape, we’re working hard to get the transit part of the equation built, one rapidway station at a time – to provide a convenient, fast way for everyone in York Region to get around using transit.

 

what’s next for yonge?

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

 

Did you know that the next phase of rapid transit is coming to Yonge Street? As part of our overall plan to reduce traffic congestion throughout York Region, vivaNext will be building rapidways on one of Canada’s most famous streets, providing fast, reliable, convenient transit and accommodating new intensified development in Richmond Hill and Newmarket.

The Yonge Street rapidway project includes attractive landscaping, wider sidewalks and bike lanes, setting the stage for pedestrian-friendly and mixed-use development and enhancing the area as an attractive destination for residents, businesses and visitors to live, work and visit.

For those of you who joined us at our public meetings in November, you would have seen preliminary project plans and conceptual drawings of the future Yonge Street rapidways.  Here is a brief re-cap of what the plans are:

In Richmond Hill - Yonge Street will be widened to accommodate dedicated rapidway lanes for viva buses in the centre of the road and seven new vivastations. In total the rapidway will extend 6.5 kilometres from Highway 7 to 19th Avenue/Gamble Road. In the heritage area north of Major Mackenzie Drive, viva will continue to drive in mixed traffic as it does today.

In Newmarket – dedicated bus rapid transit lanes will run along 2.4 kilometres of Yonge Street from just south of Mulock Drive to meet up with the vivaNext rapidways already under construction along Davis Drive. The Yonge Street rapidway will be home to three new vivastations at Mulock Drive, Eagle Street and Davis Drive.

While crews are out on site conducting advanced studies and property surveys along this corridor to help prepare for construction, the next step for this project is to award the Design-Build Contract. From there we will be busy working with the contractor to create construction plans, complete preliminary engineering studies, refine the design and establish timelines for various phases of construction for this project. The contract is expected to be awarded soon, so stay tuned for details.

join the discussions in vaughan?

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Congestion in the GTHA is at an all-time high, with an additional 2.5 million people and one million more cars expected in the next 20 years, the problems will only get worse. We can no longer postpone building the kind of transit network that offers residents and commuters better transportation choices, eases congestion, connects them with jobs and travelling efficiently in all directions.

New transit lines connect most neighbourhoods and business districts, putting commuters within a short walk of rapid transit.  The vivaNext project is a part of this overreaching transit network that will connect not only local but regional service once completed.

York Region Transit [YRT] conventional routes cater to local communities in all York Region municipalities and also include GO Shuttles and Express services.  These routes stop frequently at the curbside of the road. Viva connects Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Aurora and Newmarket and also links York Region with Toronto and its subway system, GO Transit and the Region of Peel. It operates along major corridors much like an above-ground subway, for faster service.  Once Viva service is running in its own rapidway, service will be even faster.

Transit planning takes time and includes: consultation with the users, route planning, bus scheduling and stop identification.

This year, YRT is holding stakeholder engagement meetings to discuss transit routes and overall service to prepare for the opening of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension [TYSSE] in the City of Vaughan. The Subway is scheduled to open in 2016 and we want to be ready.

YRT\Viva is looking for your input at their public information meetings.   We encourage you to come out to these events and learn how transit development will affect you in your daily commute and provide your input in what service and routes you want.

The vivaNext team will be there also, so join us for an in-depth look at different elements of vivaNext projects, plans, designs and ongoing activities or visit vivanext.com.

winter work to make our spring schedule

Friday, January 31st, 2014

With its cold temperatures, snow and ice, winter is not the ideal construction season for roadwork in general, which is why most vivaNext construction is focused on other tasks for the next few months.  But to make sure we’re ready to get going on roadwork as soon as it’s warm enough next Spring, our crews and those of various utility companies are keeping busy this winter doing a range of activities.  Here’s what you can expect to see going on out there this winter.

A key task for all the vivaNext corridors is widening the roads so we can keep the existing number of travel lanes, plus make room for the rapidways and stations in the median.  But before we can get going on construction to make the roadways wider, we need to remove and relocate all the utilities that previously ran beside the curb of the existing roadways.  This step, which involves relocating a wide range of services including gas, hydro, telecommunications, water, and sanitary and storm sewer systems, requires painstaking coordination between contractors for our project as well as the utility companies and their crews.  With contractors needing to be spaced from one another by both time and distance, and there being a logical sequence in which the services get relocated, this is a hugely time-consuming process that will be ongoing throughout the winter in various locations.

The specific activities vary from corridor to corridor, involving different utilities and work at different stages of completion. Where hydro service is above ground, hydro relocations involve crews restringing the wires on the new poles once they’ve been installed in their new locations, and then removing the old poles.  Once the service is relocated on the new poles, crews then create the connections from the new service to individual addresses.

There’s also gas work underway in several areas along the vivaNext corridors, which involves relocating gas mains underground, and then attaching individual addresses to the new service.

And working in close coordination with the underground gas work are crews from the telecommunications companies, who are relocating their services into underground joint-use duct banks that the telecoms use. Constructing the duct banks involves much more work than simply stringing wires on poles, but the benefit is that with fewer poles along the side of the road there’s more potential to beautify the streetscape, which is an important objective for our project.

Finally, the last part of this complicated dance of roadside work involves our own crews who are busy relocating sanitary sewers and storm sewer systems and watermains.

All of this work is carefully planned out one step at a time and coordinated between our builder and the utility companies, then carried out in conditions that involve extra challenges due to the need to keep the ground warm enough to work in.  But it will be worth it, since the heavy road widening and construction is best done in the warmer weather.  And once it comes, we’ll be ready to go, widening the roads so that the rapidway stations can be installed.

So watch out for all the crews who are out there working this winter, and know that their work is an important part of the vivaNext schedule.

watching the transformation unfold

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

As you travelled on and around the busy corridor of Davis Drive last year, you undoubtedly noticed the significant construction activities underway. You may also be wondering what has been completed so far.

A lot of progress was made on the project this year and a number of milestones were achieved, all of which clears the way for the 2014 construction season. 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.

In addition, Parkside Drive was re-aligned with Longford Drive as a full four-way intersection. The re-alignment eliminated one set of traffic lights and improves overall traffic flow in the area.

We captured a number of these accomplishments on video and condensed them into a short clip for your viewing pleasure. The investment in modernizing our roads and revitalizing Newmarket’s infrastructure will go a long way to making sure Davis Drive is built on a solid foundation that will serve the growing needs of Newmarket for many decades to come. We look forward to building on the progress made and advancing the  bus rapid transit project bringing Viva service to Davis Drive. Thank you for your patience as we complete the transformation.

 

keeping you warm out there

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

This has been a really cold winter so far, and there’s still a lot more winter to come.  Fortunately for our viva riders on the newly opened Highway 7 rapidway, keeping you warm was one of our priorities when we designed the new median stations.  Like everything else with vivaNext, a lot of engineering analysis and planning was done to ensure the enclosures provide the right level of comfort in the winter.  Here’s the background.

When we opened the prototype vivaNext station at Enterprise and Warden, we used a well-regarded heater that our original analysis showed would keep things adequately warm.  But at 1000 watts, the heater wasn’t quite powerful enough to provide the level of comfort we wanted to achieve.  So when it came time to design the shelters for the larger rapidway program, we went back to the drawing board.

First, we determined how warm we wanted to make the shelters. Given that most people are only waiting for a few minutes, we didn’t want to make the shelters so warm that people would need to take off their coats.  Bearing this in mind, we decided that the right target would be to heat the shelters to 10 degrees Celsius.

Next, we needed to find a technology that would be energy efficient: with the enclosures’ semi-outdoor design, using traditional space heaters would, in addition to requiring exhaust systems and airflow, be very inefficient. We decided to use radiant heaters, which work by projecting heat energy directly onto the people in the shelter (if you’ve watched your kids play hockey at a rink, you’ll know how effective this kind of heater can be).  Another benefit is that radiant heaters quickly ramp up to full power but can be shut off quickly as well, conserving energy.

Last, we needed to determine how many heaters we’d need to install to achieve our target temperature.  We did a computer simulation of the bus shelter, programming in local weather data to assess the thermal conditions in the shelter for every hour throughout a typical year.  The model took into consideration the concrete and glass design of the shelter, as well as replicating wind speeds and temperatures.

Using all this information, we decided that four heaters, each providing 3000 watts of power, would be sufficient to achieve the 10 degrees target: that’s 12,000 watts per enclosure (a typical electric fireplace is between 750 and 1500 watts). Sensors on the units detect when someone walks into the enclosure, starting the heater; if the sensors don’t detect any other movement, the heaters will shut off after 30 minutes.   And to help keep the warmth in the enclosures, we’ve installed push buttons on the doors so they close automatically, as well as installing winter covers over the ventilation louvers on the doors.

We hope you are pleased with the comfort we’ve been able to design into the shelters, and are happy to make winter a little warmer for our viva riders.

 

managing the vivaNext plan

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

When I first joined the vivaNext team, it was pretty small since we were still at the early stages of our rapid transit program.  Now, with an overall team of nearly 78 at York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC); and many more staff and experts allocated to the projects through the construction contractors, all these people are working on the vivaNext plan which is going flat out, with planning, procurement, design and construction activities underway concurrently.  Here’s the rundown on what we’re doing now, and a preview on some of our other projects you’ll hear more about soon.

The most visible parts of vivaNext – our rapidway construction projects on Highway 7 East and Davis Drive in Newmarket – are definitely a major focus for our team, but they’re only part of what we’ve got going on these days. Moving a major infrastructure project like a rapidway segment forward from the early design stages to the introduction of service requires years of careful planning and oversight, starting with preliminary design and environmental assessments years before construction can start.   The same general work plan is currently being followed for the remainder of the Highway 7 rapidway (opening next year) and along Davis Drive in Newmarket.  Project management for our active construction projects involves a large part of our team, including engineering, property, finance and communications staff.

In addition, we’re in the early stages of pre-construction for the rapidway on either side of the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) on Highway 7, with final design work being completed for the VMC station itself, overtop of the TYSSE concourse for the subway.

At an earlier stage, but already demanding dedicated project teams, is the Yonge Street rapidways in Richmond Hill and Newmarket, and the rapidways that will be built along this major commuter line.

And because a rapid transit network needs more than new lanes, stations and streetscaping, we’ve also got a number of dedicated facilities to plan and build, which will provide the future vivaNext system with more capacity for passengers, bus maintenance, and commuter parking.  All of those components are currently under active development, requiring the involvement of project teams with property, design, engineering and financial expertise.  Our currently funded projects add up to a total program value of $3.2 billion, which will see us build 37 km of bus rapidways with 38 stations, an 8.6 km subway extension with six stations, an operations facilities, two bus terminals and multiple park ‘n ride facilities over the next five years in York Region.

Last but definitely not least, lots of activity is underway to secure funding for future segments starting with the extension to the Yonge Subway, which is the missing link needed to fully connect the vivaNext system to the broader GTHA transit network.

Everyone at YRRTC works on multiple projects, which allows us to share our knowledge across the program, identify what’s worked well in the past, and ensure that we build on success.   Collectively we’ve already amassed a lot of expertise, making design and construction refinements to future projects that reflect what we’ve learned so far.

We all work hard, but the enthusiasm we pick up from the community is so motivating, it’s hard to imagine doing anything more satisfying.  We know that with just a few kilometers of rapidway open along the Highway 7 East rapidway, transit travel times have already been reduced and traffic flows improved.  So we’re all looking forward to the major improvements that we’ll all get to enjoy, when the whole system is open in a few years from now.

Stay tuned for regular updates throughout 2014, it promises to be a significant year for transit.

 

spending quality time with your loved ones

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

This holiday season we hope you have the opportunity to gather together, to share, reflect and renew the love and laughter that makes quality time with family and friends precious and meaningful.  York Region has a lot of great sites and events that you can explore on YRT\Viva transit lines over the holidays, from skating at the Markham Civic Centre outdoor rink, First Night Celebration in the Town of Richmond Hill, to the Winter Wonderland at the Riverwalk Commons in Newmarket.

Here at vivaNext, we are also taking this time to rest, relax and rejuvenate so come January we will be ready to jump into work.  The New Year will bring with it the continuation of construction on Davis Drive in Newmarket with road widening, utility relocation and paving.  The Highway 7 transformation in the City of Markham is continuing with utility relocation, boulevard streetscaping and paving. Work will also ramp up on the west side of Highway 7 into The City of Vaughan with retaining wall construction and utility relocations. And on Yonge Street in Richmond Hill and Newmarket, preparation for construction will start to take place.

Until then, please enjoy the season with those near and dear.  See you in the New Year.

as the cold wind blows…

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Seems like just yesterday vivaNext was ramping up construction activities at the first sign of warmer temperatures and while the warmer weather was here this year, a lot of progress was made along the vivaNext corridors. We captured our developments and put together a short video to share the progress of the transformation for each corridor.

Building on our successes, we will keep the progress moving even as we wind down for the return of Old Man Winter. Although the weather specialists forecast a cold winter season, our vivaNext construction projects will continue as the snow flies and the cold wind blows.  Here’s a snapshot of what we’re going to be working on this winter along the vivaNext corridors and how we’ll manage to keep construction moving along even when the temperatures plunge.

In Newmarket, crews will continue storm sewer installation, utility relocations and underground ductbank [gathers together and encases telecommunication wires] installation along Davis Drive. The south side of western creek culvert near Niagara Street will be also be widened over the next several months.

In Markham, utility relocations will continue on South Town Centre Boulevard, Cedarland Drive and Warden Avenue. Some construction work will also continue on Highway 7 East in the centre median.

Along the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre [VMC] corridor, hydro, gas and telecommunications installations and relocations will continue. Work will also begin on the CN Bridge. Preliminary construction activity also continues in Vaughan along Highway 7 West from Helen Street to Edgeley Boulevard and from east of Bowes Road to Yonge Street, including parts of Bathurst Street and Centre Street.

On Yonge Street, surveying, geotechnical testing and utility locates will take place in Richmond Hill and Newmarket. In early 2014, the design-build contract of the Yonge Street rapidway will be awarded. Once the contract is awarded, rapidway construction will begin.

While construction continues outside, inside our contractors are preparing for a busy spring. They are finalizing designs, plans and schedules for next year so when the warm weather returns construction crews can hit the ground running.

To see the progress we’re making over the winter, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. You can also sign up for email notices at vivanext.com to keep you updated on the construction underway in your area.