Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

Key international publication identifies GTA’s transportation challenges

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is one of the world’s largest and most reliable sources of comparable statistical, economic and social data. In a publication launched in November 2009 entitled “OECD Territorial Reviews: Toronto, Canada”, several of the GTA’s transportation challenges are collectively identified as a key policy issue. They include traffic congestion problems (70% of commuters use cars), poorly integrated regional transit services, and relatively underdeveloped public transport infrastructure.

To address this key policy issue, one of the publication’s key recommendations is to “tackle transportation challenges by creating incentives for reducing car use, access to additional revenue sources, [and] longer term funding commitments by federal government for investment”.

Here in York Region, we are doing our part to tackle these transportation challenges with such vivaNext initiatives as the rapidways, subways and proposed LRTs. In addition to making it faster and easier to get in and out of the GTA, they will make it up to 40% faster to travel along our Region’s busiest corridors. We believe that such incentives will significantly reduce car use, lead to economic revitalization, help the environment, and maintain the quality of life our residents have come to enjoy.

There is light at the end of the Steeles West subway tunnel!

Friday, November 20th, 2009
An artist rendering of the Steeles West subway station.

An artist rendering of the Steeles West subway station.

Each of the six subway stations that will be built along the Spadina subway extension – a key part of the vivaNext plan – will have a unique design.

Above ground, the most striking feature of the Steeles West Station conceptual design is its very distinctive and futuristic profile. It looks like something right out of ‘The Jetsons’. Below ground, a central light cone will bring daylight all the way down to the platform levels – a solution that’s both illuminating and eco-friendly.

The Steeles West subway station will also feature a commuter parking lot with 1,900 parking spaces plus two bus terminals, including one for YRT and Viva.

Planned service frequency from Downsview Station to Steeles West Station is every two minutes, and from Steeles West Station to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station, every five minutes.

Check out the preliminary design of the new Sheppard West subway station!

Monday, November 16th, 2009

A key part of York Region’s vivaNext plan is the Spadina subway extension. Extending from Downsview Station in Toronto to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station in Vaughan, it will cover a total of 8.6 kilometres and include six stations.

This Tuesday, November 17, 2009, you are invited to attend a Public Open House to view the preliminary design concept for one of these stations – Sheppard West Station. It is the first of two public open houses for Sheppard West Station. The second one, scheduled for Spring 2010, will show detailed architectural concepts.

Sheppard West Subway Station Public Open House
Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: The Crystal Room (2nd Floor)
Montecassino Hotel & Event Venue
3710 Chesswood Drive, Toronto

Ridership across country to soar shows study

Friday, September 18th, 2009
Passengers wait to board Viva.

Passengers wait to board Viva. A new study shows that ridership will greatly increase in the coming decades.

Transit ridership is expected to nearly double in Canada over the next 30 years as the population rises to 42 million, with most of those people living in urban centres.

This is according to a report released recently by the Canadian Urban Transit Association, which represents public transit agencies across the country.

The report, titled Vision 2040, suggests all levels of government must work together to put transit at the centre of community planning and design. This will help create communities that reduce dependency on cars.

“Today, national transit ridership and investment are both at all-time highs,” states the report. “Transit is widely recognized as an important part of the solution to national challenges including economic prosperity, climate change, public health, safety and security.”

When factoring population growth, ridership will increase from 1.76 billion trips in 2007 to 3.28 billion trips in 2040.

To deal with this increase, CUTA says large cities and major metropolitan areas such as York Region and Toronto, must focus on integrating transit services and expanding rapid transit.

It sounds like vivaNext is on the right track with subway extensions that will be the backbone of a seamless transit system. The subway extensions and dedicated lanes will improve travel times throughout the Viva network and help to shape successful urban revitalization.

Read the final report.

Watch the video and see how transit will play a role in the future: Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Transit Vision 2040 Video”.

What do you think of this vision? What do you see as the role of transit in the future?

Metrolinx’s interim report recommends subway over BRT on Yonge

Monday, August 10th, 2009
What a transit sign may look like at the Richmond Hill Centre with connections to a subway, YRT and Viva busses, and GO trains.

What a transit sign may look like at the Richmond Hill Centre with connections to a subway, YRT and Viva busses, and GO trains.

Last Friday, Metrolinx released its interim Benefits Case Analysis (BCA) for the Yonge North Subway extension.

The BCA was developed by Metrolinx in collaboration with the City of Toronto, the Regional Municipality of York and the Toronto Transit Commission. The analysis looked at two subway options, and a bus rapid transit option.

Here are the key findings:

  • The subway options have a far greater positive impact on the environment, economy, land development and community than the BRT.
  • The economic impacts of the subway options are considerable – creating 21,800 person-years of employment.
  • Both subway options provide better service and reliability than the BRT. The BRT is not as reliable as the subway and would likely experience substantial overcrowding in peak hours.
  • The BRT is not considered a long term solution.
  • The BRT is likely limited by technology, and would not have sufficient capacity for the long-term needs of the corridor.

The proposed subway extension will meet up with the rapidways along Hwy. 7, which will soon get under construction. The combination of the rapidways and a connecting subway on Yonge St. creates a viable alternative to driving and will make it much easier for people to travel between York Region and Toronto.

While we would like to see the Yonge Subway extension proceed immediately, we know that projects of this magnitude can’t happen overnight. We will continue to work with all stakeholders and analyze the overall network elements, such as GO electrification impacts, the TTC capacity study at Yonge/Bloor, as well as the Downtown Relief Line.

The benefits of this project are significant and long-term. We will continue to work with all levels of government to ensure the funding is in place to keep this project moving forward.

The executive summary of the interim BCA is available here.

See how our subway system compares to others around the world.

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Like Toronto, most of the great cities around the world have a subway system to connect people to key destinations and get people where they need to go faster, without relying on a personal vehicle. So how does ours compare in terms of vastness and complexity? At fakeisthenewreal.org, we found a really neat and simple linear illustration of 36 different subways systems, from Toronto to Tokyo and beyond, all shown on the same scale.

While cities such as London, Moscow, New York and Seoul all have subway systems that are both vast and complex, the ones in some cities tend to be one or the other. For instance, in San Francisco, Washington DC and Los Angeles, the subway systems are vast but not very complex. On the other hand, in Tokyo, Paris and Madrid, they are complex but not very vast. Then, of course, there are subway systems in some other cities that are neither.

So where does Toronto’s current subway system fit in? Ours is similar to those found in cities such at Athens and Delhi. It’s neither vast nor complex and consists of only a few lines covering a relatively small area.

Fortunately, the vastness of our subway system will dramatically improve with the subway extensions that are part of the vivaNext plan. They include the Spadina subway extension that will extend north-west 8.6 kilometres from Downsview Station in Toronto to the Vaughan Corporate Centre in Vaughan, and the Yonge subway extension that will extend north 6.8 kilometres from Finch Station in Toronto to the Langstaff/Richmond Hill Centre by Highway 7. Both of these subway extensions will further connect with vivaNext’s new east-west Highway 7 rapidway that will extend from Highway 50 in Vaughan to Reesor Road in Markham.

Thanks to all our visitors for a winning four days at the malls.

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

A young girl fishes at our Markville Mall Pond last Friday hoping to win one of our cool summer prizes.

A young girl fishes at our Markville Mall pond last Friday hoping to win one of our cool summer prizes.

This past Thursday through Sunday, vivaNext teams were out in full force at various York Region malls including Markville, Upper Canada and Vaughan Mills. Thousands of visitors stopped by our booths to putt golf balls and fish in our ponds for instant prizes like beach balls, flying discs and magnetic puzzles.

Of course, there was also plenty of great chitchat about vivaNext. People were really excited to learn that we’ll soon be breaking ground on the rapidways, which will make it up to 40% faster to get around York Region’s busiest corridors when completed.

If you missed us at the malls, not to worry because you could still win with vivaNext. If you haven’t entered our Next Best Thing To Summer Contest, you have until this Friday, July 31, 2009, to do so.

You could win cool summer gear in one of our daily prize draws plus our Grand Prize of a handy iPod touch® so you can get up-to-date vivaNext construction and project information wirelessly. Good luck to all our entrants!

Metrolinx committed to breaking ground on vivaNext rapidways this fall.

Thursday, July 16th, 2009
Metrolinx President and CEO Rob Prichard takes questions from reporters after the public session of the July 13 meeting

Metrolinx President and CEO Robert Prichard takes questions from reporters after the public session of the July 13 meeting.

Metrolinx, the body created by the Government of Ontario to develop and implement an integrated transportation plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, is committed to working with Viva toward a fall 2009 construction start date for the rapidways project. During their July 13th public board meeting, Metrolinx President and CEO Robert Prichard said, “Progress is going very well indeed. We want to break ground this fall and we are working hard to do so.” During the meeting, Metrolinx General Manager of Investment Strategy and Projects John Howe presented our renderings of the Davis Drive rapidway to show how it will look in the future. They generated a lot of excitement amongst those in attendance.

If you would like to see the renderings presented at the meeting for yourself click here or visit vivaNext.com, where you’ll also find a link to the Metrolinx website in case you are also interested in viewing the meeting agenda.

Win a daily prize plus an iPod touch® Grand Prize

Monday, July 6th, 2009


We’re sure you’ll agree that summer’s the best. But we think vivaNext is the next best thing. How come? Because vivaNext will make it easier and faster for you to get to your favourite summer activities. Makes sense, huh?

To spread this great news, we’re running a contest called – you’ve guessed it – the Next Best Thing To Summer Contest. It starts today and runs through until July 31, 2009.
Each day, we’ll be giving away cool summer gear like water bottles, Canada’s Wonderland® passes, movie tickets, laptop bags and YRT\Viva two-zone passes. Then, at the very end, to top it all off, one lucky person will win the handy iPod touch® Grand prize, which will make it easy for him or her to get up-to-date vivaNext construction and project information wirelessly.

To enter, all you have to do is go to our website and use our interactive story to show us what your picture perfect summer looks like. It’s fun and it’s easy. You simply fill in the blanks of our story by choosing from a menu of drag-and-drop pictures. Each time you do, you’re guaranteed to giggle as each picture moves and makes a funny noise. For instance, if you choose theme parks as one of your favourite things to do in summer, when the picture is in the right spot, the roller coaster rides through a loop and the people in it scream.

But be sure to hurry because our Next Best Thing To Summer Contest ends July 31, 2009.

Good luck!

Study shows you should expect to spend longer commuting

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Traffic slowly moving along Highway 7.

Traffic slowly moving along Highway 7 in York Region.

If you think that your commute is taking longer, you’d be right and the bad news is that you’re not alone.

A recent survey conducted jointly by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the City of Toronto and the Regions of York, Durham and Peel confirms that average speeds on highways and roads all around the GTA are decreasing. On average, a trip now takes 11% to 21% longer than the exact same trip in 2002.

While this figure applies to the entire GTA, one of the worst long sections of highway is travelled by many York Region residents every day. The section travelling southbound along Hwy. 404 from 16th Ave. to Hwy. 401 during the morning rush hour is the slowest long stretch of highway in the GTA. Motorists see an average speed of 31km/h along this stretch during the morning peak period. Driving along Hwy. 404 during peak hours takes 3.5 times longer than during times when you are able to drive at the posted speed limit.

But York Region roads are not just congested by drivers heading in to and out of Toronto. The study looked at Highway 7 all the way from Durham to Peel Region, an 88 km stretch, and found that three of the five slowest sections were in York Region.

Average speeds on Hwy. 7 through York Region are often almost half of the posted speed limit and not just during rush hours. The study found that driving on Hwy. 7 in the middle of the day is almost as slow as driving it during the morning rush.

The simple solution as we see it is to get more people out of those cars that are causing the increase in congestion and get them on fast, convenient transit.

Do you agree that traffic is getting worse? What are some solutions?