Posts Tagged ‘Newmarket’

building complete streets in York Region

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

building complete streets in York Region

When looking at the award winning rapidway on Highway 7 in Richmond Hill and Markham, or Davis Drive in Newmarket, you’ll notice some features that make them different from your average street.

Wider sidewalks, more accessibility features, large attractive tree planters to provide a buffer between pedestrians and traffic, and bike lanes where possible, are all part of York Region’s urban design philosophy. It’s an approach that will shape the future of our communities and neighbourhoods, and it’s what Urban Planners call a ‘complete street’ – a street designed for everyone.

The complete street transformation is starting to unfold on Yonge Street in Richmond Hill and Newmarket this year. Utilities are being relocated to accommodate the dedicated bus rapid transit lanes in the centre of the road. In time, the same thoughtful and elegant elements will take shape on one of the region’s most important roads for transportation, commerce and entertainment – the perfect place to stop, shop and dine – Yonge Street!

The complete street approach ensures that planners and engineers design and manage public infrastructure that takes in account users of all ages, abilities, and modes of travel.

One of the underpinnings of the complete street approach is to treat roads as destinations. With careful planning, roads can be public spaces with lush greenery and design features that engage people. Streets can be places to go instead of just surfaces to drive on. They should connect to businesses and places where people live, and also to trails, parks and other gathering places in order to help build a sense of community.

Another key consideration is accessibility, because whether you get around in a stroller, wheelchair, on transit, walking, cycling or driving, everyone needs safe and convenient options.

To learn more about complete streets and how they are being implemented across Canada and around the world, visit completestreetsforcanada.ca, or smartgrowthamerica.org.

 

2015 >> Davis Drive – messy to marvelous!

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

2015 >> Davis Drive – messy to marvelous!

Davis Drive has seen remarkable changes in 2015. New vivastations, sidewalks, intersections and paving signaled a new beginning on Davis, allowing Viva yellow to take people where they need to go quickly, connecting to Highway 404, GO service at the Tannery and to Viva and GO at the Eagle Street bus terminal.

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’ve captured some of the pivotal moments during the year and compiled them in a video that introduces some of the notable changes to this important street.

Rapid transit is making it easier for people to move about York Region, connecting to the places, people and things that matter. With all the traffic congestion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area [GTHA], rapid transit provides an alternative which is a relaxing and time saving convenience.

So, whether you are travelling across town or across the region, the rapidway is the way to go, and the future is looking bright for Newmarket.

changes unfold along Davis Drive >> next is now!

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

changes unfold on Davis Drive >> next is now

It’s great to see everyone taking advantage of the new rapidway now open on Davis Drive [read the news release]. It is the time of year when people want to move quickly, making their way to the people and places that matter most and Viva yellow is the ticket!

Catching a ride on the new Viva yellow is easy because service runs every 15 minutes and the stations tell you when your next ride will arrive. There will be customer service representatives out all week along the corridor to answer your questions and help you navigate the new system safely.

Winter represents its own set of hazards, so no matter how you get around, it’s important to use caution and stay alert, especially when things are new along Davis Drive. The images that were “next” have become “now” as a reality.

drivers

The red asphalt on the rapidway is for Viva rapid transit vehicles only. If you’re driving, and you notice an empty lane beside you in traffic, take a quick look to make sure you’re not entering the rapidway.

Aside from Viva, you may see other vehicles on the rapidway, like fire and police vehicles and ambulances. That’s by design, because everyone wants emergency vehicles can get to their destinations as quickly as possible. Maintenance vehicles also have access to maintain the rapidway and ensure it’s operating at peak performance.

Also, drivers now have the use of left-turn and U-turn signals at each major intersection. The protected movement through the intersection makes it safe and efficient to get where you’re going quickly. Be sure to stop behind the stop line on the road to trigger the left-turn signal sensors under the pavement.

transit riders and pedestrians

Boarding Viva rapid transit at a vivastation means crossing to the dedicated centre lanes. Push the buttons at any corner to activate the pedestrian signals.

Now, it might be tempting to take a stroll down the rapidway, or cross mid-block to get to the other side, but it’s dangerous and also illegal. The signals at intersections are there for your safety and convenience.

No matter how you’re travelling Davis, we hope you enjoy your new surroundings this holiday season. We encourage you to come out, shop, dine, visit and enjoy. Construction crews are finishing up their work before snow starts to fly this winter. Next is now… come out and see the difference!

 

safe travels on Davis

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

safe travels on Davis

Viva is rolling on Davis Drive and drivers are getting used to new traffic movements, so if you’re walking, it’s important to be aware of everything that’s happening when you cross the street.

The most important thing to do as a pedestrian on Davis Drive is to cross at the traffic signals. It may seem tempting to cross mid-block, or walk or stand in the rapidway lanes, but drivers aren’t expecting to see you there.

Getting to and from the hospital from across Davis has always been a challenge, so the intersection in front of Southlake provides an additional way to cross safely. Crossing near the hospital without using the crosswalk is particularly risky, because drivers coming over the hill may not be able to stop quickly.

The next important thing to remember is to press the walk button on the corner of the intersection – the walk signal only happens if you press the button. If you need a little extra time to cross, you can stop in the middle at Parkside/Longford, Main Street or Southlake and press the walk button again to cross the second half of the road.

With spacious, tree-lined sidewalks and tree planters acting as a buffer between traffic and pedestrians, the new sidewalks on Davis Drive are a safe and attractive place to be. It’s getting dark earlier this time of year though, and soon we’ll see snow falling on roads and sidewalks. It’s important to stay alert and make sure drivers see you as you cross the street on your commute, and as you shop and dine along Davis this season.

 

Viva has arrived on Davis!

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

Viva has arrived on Davis!

Rapid transit is now a reality on Davis Drive! Known as the Viva yellow, buses are now running along the rapidway, picking up and dropping off passengers at Longford, Main and Southlake, before continuing in mixed traffic to make stops at Huron Heights, Leslie and the Highway 404 park and ride facility.

The introduction of the rapidway on Davis will transform the way people get around and revitalize the corridor. Sidewalks, dedicated left-turn signals, and upgraded infrastructure will serve the needs of pedestrians, transit riders, businesses and drivers for generations to come.

Opening the rapidway marks a significant step forward in connecting our urban growth centres and being prepared for the future. The rapidway supports York Region’s growth plan by encouraging the development of attractive and pedestrian-friendly places for people to live, work, shop and play. We know construction was long and disruptive, and we thank you for your support and patience during this journey together.

the Davis Drive rapidway opens this Sunday!

Friday, November 27th, 2015

The Davis Drive rapidway opens this Sunday!

The rapidway along Davis Drive from Yonge Street to the 404 opens for service Sunday.  Viva yellow will start rolling down Davis Drive at 6:52 am, starting at the 404 park and ride lot and travelling westbound, and then every 15 minutes after that!

We excited to launch the service as well as all the amenities that go with it – the wide, pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined boulevards and sleek, modern vivastations, as well as the dedicated centre lanes that will allow riders to enjoy faster and more consistent travel.  New vivastations will open at Parkside/Longford, Main Street, and South Lake Hospital.

Vivastations will be directly accessible from crosswalks at signalled intersections. Pedestrian signals come with an audible tone and visual countdown as additional safety features.

The stations will include arched glass canopies inspired by transportation architecture from historic and modern European examples. The 27-metre glass canopy will offer passengers protection from the elements, and include a nine-metre enclosed and heated waiting area. At the stations, you can enjoy all the existing Viva technologies you love: off-board fare collection, real-time arrivals information, Presto payment and new card readers. Safety and accessibility features include textured surfaces near platform edges, level boarding from the platform to the bus, a public address system for updating riders, security cameras and an emergency call button.

Once the rapidway opens on Sunday, drivers need to be aware of how the street has changed as they make turns on Davis Drive. Red asphalt indicates a bus only lane, so drive with care. Emergency vehicles are permitted to access the rapidways should they need to, but they will have their flashing lights on for safety.

In just a few short days the wait will be over, and we can all celebrate the end of construction and the beginning of rapid transit in Newmarket!

countdown to handover

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

countdown to handover

Taking advantage of every sunny day in Newmarket to advance the work on the Davis Drive rapidway, our teams are working hard to finish all sorts of little details. With much of the construction complete, we’re now focused on testing and adding final touches, to get ready for Viva service, which we call “handover”.

Handover means just what it says – it’s the moment in time when the transit system is handed over to its owner for care and custody, which of course is YRT/Viva. Before handover, the system is the responsibility of the Contractor/Design Builder. Once handover takes place, legal ownership and responsibility is transferred to the owner, and the system becomes the owner’s private property. At this time, the Contractor/Design Builder’s warranty period begins, just the way it happens when a homebuyer takes possession of a new house.

In the case of vivaNext, some elements of the Davis Drive project, like the rapidway, vivastations, sidewalks and planters, will be transferred to the Region. Others, like the sidewalks and streetlights will be transferred to the Town of Newmarket to maintain.

Because the formal handover is such a significant development, especially on a major infrastructure project like the vivaNext rapidway, it’s important to ensure that everything is in perfect working order. The various steps involved in opening for service vary. Here are some examples:

  • Fare equipment is tested to ensure the ticket vending machine [TVM] prints properly.
  • Traffic signals are programmed and permanent signals are turned on. Each phase is then tested individually, and all the push buttons are tested to make sure they work.
  • Streetlights are inspected to ensure all the wiring is according to the drawings, the bases are level and the power connections are all correct. The teams go out at night and actually turn on the lights to ensure that all the lamps come on and nothing is flickering. Lighting is an important safety feature for both pedestrians and vehicles.

During testing every single detail of the rapidway is inspected through a visual walk-down. Then a list of the things that still need to be finished or perfected is created with items graded from most serious to least serious. These items will be fixed either prior to the system opening or post opening under the warranty.

Although we are officially handing over the Davis Drive rapidway to York Region, YRT, and the Town of Newmarket, in many ways we are handing it over to you – at the end of the day, the ultimate owners of the rapidways are the public of York Region. VivaNext wants to provide a reliable, efficient rapid transit system and beautiful streetscape for our valuable transit customers. With every new piece of rapidway delivered, we are building a better system that we can all be proud of.

accessible stations >> everyone is welcome

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

accessible stations >> everyone is welcome

With the Davis Drive rapidway opening for service soon, we want everyone to feel welcome, and to find it an easy, convenient experience. Whether they have mobility issues or other physical limitations, are pushing a baby stroller, bringing their bike, or pulling a shopping buggy, we want everyone to feel that this transit service is for them.

We consulted with the CNIB and York Region’s Accessibility Committee during the design process, so our vivastations meet local and Provincial accessibility requirements. We also took into consideration our aging population, who appreciate being able to get around easily without a car. So we designed stations for everyone to use, and included these features:

  • Heated, enclosed areas in the centre of the vivastation with doors on each end and a wheelchair-turning radius inside. Radiant heaters are temperature and motion-activated.
  • Benches in the heated enclosure and outside under the glass canopy. Benches are wood, which doesn’t get as cold as metal in the winter, and they have grab bars for those who would like a little support getting up and down.
  • Fare payment machines that are easy to use, with screens that are angled for people of different heights, and have clear, bright graphics and large buttons.
  • Informative digital screens [Variable Message Sign or VMS] installed overhead in the centre of each canopy showing when the next bus will arrive, and arrival times are ‘real-time’ which means they’re updated constantly, based on the location of each bus.
  • Even platforms without trip hazards or changes to grade, and handrails and shallow inclines on the pedestrian ramps approaching platforms.
  • Tactile surfaces on station platforms, including textured tiles in a contrasting colour at the platform edge and directional tiles where the bus stops – helpful for those with impaired vision.
  • Public Address system that can be heard clearly from one end of the station to the other.
  • Illuminated map boards to make it easy for everyone to plan their route.

Vivastations are designed for all transit riders – including those who just haven’t used Viva before. Since this is the first east-west Viva route in Newmarket, it might be unfamiliar to some, but rest assured that it will be easy and comfortable to get onboard Viva on Davis Drive. In the first few weeks, Viva staff will be there in person to answer questions, and after that the YRT.ca website and their call centre [toll free: 1-866-668-3978] will help everyone make their connections. From one end of Newmarket to the other, and to other transit like Viva, YRT and GO Transit – it’s about connections, made with comfort and convenience.

 

Davis Drive happenings

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Davis Drive happenings

With fall winding down and the imminent opening of the rapidway, it’s a good time to reflect on some of the activities that have taken place in Newmarket during the year. Not surprisingly, Newmarket residents have played a big part, participating in the events held on Davis Drive.

construction walking tours

This summer, we had a series of walking tours hosted by your Community Liaison team. We had great weather and attendance at each session, with people coming from far and wide to learn more about the intent of the project and the progress we had made, and to enjoy a $10 voucher for a local restaurant on Davis.

Tour participants learned about the features of the rapidway, some of the changes that drivers, transit riders and pedestrians will see. They also were given an introduction to York Region’s vision and growth strategy for Davis Drive.

#mydavisdrive selfie contest

Another great initiative was our #mydavisdrive selfie contest. Business support is a big part of the rapidway project, as we know that long-term construction can be disruptive for business owners. To encourage people to rekindle their love of shopping and dining on Davis, with the help of the Town of Newmarket and Chamber of Commerce, we put together a fun and easy contest to enter and win!

Over the span of five weeks, we had almost 200 entries from people who chose to stop, shop and dine on Davis Drive, supporting the businesses that are the life of the community. With random draws, we gave away five weekly $100 prizes and three grand prizes of $500, $750 and $1,000 Davis Drive shopping sprees.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the tours and the contest for supporting Davis Drive through one of the busiest construction seasons in Newmarket.  Your patience and support has been much appreciated and we look forward to the end of construction season. See you on the rapidway this winter!

 

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.