Posts Tagged ‘York Region’

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!

 

bringing a rapid transit plan to life

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

bringing a rapid transit plan to life

Crews are finishing up paving on Davis Drive, which means we’re getting closer to opening the rapidway. As much as we’re looking forward to celebrating this milestone, it’s important to know that this is only one [very exciting] step in a plan for a connected transit system.

Over the past few years there’s been a lot of media coverage of transit needs across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area [GTHA]. We’re proud that York Region is actively working to meet those needs by bringing rapid transit to our region. In 2002, the Region produced the York Region Transportation Master Plan and the follow-up Rapid Transit Plan, committing the Region to a blueprint of multiple transportation initiatives to be built over the next 30 years.

With the Rapid Transit Plan approved, we got to work. In 2005 the Viva team launched “QuickStart,” the first phase of Viva service, offering enhanced features that made transit more comfortable and convenient, and put the customer first. With this service upgrade, Viva changed the way people in York Region thought of transit. The public appreciated the enhanced features and frequencies, and it wasn’t long before ridership began increasing steadily.

But while “QuickStart” was a major success and an important first step in encouraging people to try transit, designing the vivaNext rapid transit system was the Region’s long-term vision. Ontario municipalities are mandated to plan sustainable, more intensive land-use as part of the provincial government policy, and rapid transit is a key component in achieving that goal.  Anticipating this, the York Region Transportation Master Plan directed that future growth in York Region would be concentrated in new downtown urban centres in Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill and Vaughan. By building more intensively in these areas there would be less pressure for growth in other neighbourhoods.

The urban centres would be connected by transportation “corridors,” making it easier for people to get around the region, and providing transportation options with regular transit service. The vivaNext rapidways are currently being built along these corridors, creating connections across York Region and into the rest of the GTHA.

Much of the new development around vivastations is compact and mixed-use, providing housing, employment, retail, dining, services and recreation – all within walking distance of transit. Developments include welcoming public spaces, attractive landscaping and other amenities that contribute to the centres becoming dynamic destinations.

Our vision for the future is well on its way to becoming reality: a rapidway has been built on Highway 7 East; Davis Drive is opening soon; the first section of rapidway in Vaughan will open on Highway 7 West in 2016; the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension is under construction; utility work is underway for the Yonge Street rapidway north of Highway 7, and design work continues for the planned Yonge Subway Extension.

So when the rapidway on Davis Drive opens for service this winter, we can celebrate the progress of transit infrastructure in York Region, not to mention the end of major construction!

 

Highway 7 East >> how we got here together

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Highway 7 East >> how we got here together

Before 2011, rapid transit projects were part a vision for York Region. To help set the stage for future growth, transit infrastructure was planned for York Region’s key towns and cities. Highway 7 East was the first to be built, and since construction began in 2011, has undergone a complete transformation.

At the west end, the rapidway has a remarkable [and accessible] two-story station taking pedestrians from Bayview down to Highway 7. And in the east the rapidway enters Markham Centre – a new development with a mix of commercial and residential development, including a new York U campus and a sports centre home to the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games in Markham.

The transformation may be most dramatic in the east end of Highway 7 near Warden, where originally the road didn’t have any sidewalks or bike lanes, trees were scarce and transit was mixed with other traffic. Now, there are dedicated lanes for Viva, tree-lined sidewalks and defined bike lanes, welcoming transit riders, pedestrians and cyclists to the street. To see the dramatic transformation of Highway 7 at the intersection of Town Centre Boulevard, check out this timelapse video.

In the years to come, Highway 7 will continue to develop with a mix of residential, commercial and office buildings. It will be the place to be for shopping, dining, working and living. The vision of quick, comfortable transit close to where people live work, shop and play is now a reality.

 

bragging rights

Friday, October 16th, 2015

bragging rights

Well. We hate to brag, but we think those in the Highway 7 area would like to know – Roads and Bridges magazine has included the Highway 7 East rapidway project as #2 in their “Top 10 Roads” list for 2015.

The Highway 7 East project was recognized as a multi-modal “complete street” throughway, with the trade magazine noting the transit operations technology, the red-pigmented pavement, bike lanes and sidewalk landscaping.

Our office is located along the Highway 7 East rapidway, so we have to agree that the rapidway project has transformed Highway 7. West of Warden, the street has changed from being a highway with gravel shoulders, to being an attractive and safe place to walk, cycle, drive or ride Viva. The project included updated utilities, and has helped set the stage for the new developments along this important road.

Roads and Bridges voted the Highway 7 East rapidway project the second-best project in North America, and although it will always be number one in our books, we’re pleased to see it recognized by others in the industry.

 

paving in stages to get it done right

Friday, October 9th, 2015

paving in stages to get it done right

As much as it has a huge impact on our day-to-day quality of life, it’s probably safe to say that roadway design is not very top-of-mind for most of us.  This is probably true, even for the part of the road that we all directly interact with every time we get in a vehicle: the asphalt paving that covers the surface.

Yet for anyone impatient for the last stages to be finished along the newly widened Davis Drive in Newmarket, it’s helpful to understand the paving process overall, and why this final stage of each rapidway project seems to take such a long time to complete.

Most roads in Canada are paved with the familiar black asphalt, which is a mix of a binding ingredient and gravel.  Asphalt is popular because it’s relatively inexpensive to install compared to concrete, wears well, and can be restored many times before the road needs to be completely rebuilt.  Given the cost and disruption involved with repairing or rebuilding a road, it’s critically important that you get the asphalt “mix” right, and put the asphalt down properly in the first place.

The first fact to understand is that not all asphalt paving is the same.  The wear and tear on a road will depend on the volume of traffic it gets, including how many vehicles are trucks or cars, and how fast they’re going.  Whether the traffic is generally driving straight, or is turning, or stopping and starting as is the case at a busy intersection, will affect the wear.  So asphalt mixes vary, depending on how durable it needs to be to stand up to the traffic it will carry. Different mixes have different installation requirements, including how long they take to cure before they can take heavy traffic.

The other important consideration with asphalt is that proper installation makes all the difference to how well it will wear.  There are a number of steps that have to be taken to ensure the durability of the asphalt, in addition to getting the mix right:

  • First, the gravel base that the top layers go over has to be in excellent condition. It needs to be perfectly smooth, level and compact, or else the top asphalt can crack and pothole more quickly.
  • The air temperature needs to be within a certain range: too hot or too cold, and the asphalt won’t last as long.
  • It needs to be installed in wide swathes extending across lanes, to avoid having too many joints.
  • It needs to be carefully tied in at side streets, to make sure the entire roadway is smooth and level.
  • The asphalt at intersections, which get extra heavy wear from vehicles braking, accelerating and turning, needs to be especially carefully installed.

The distinctive red asphalt on our vivaNext rapidways and intersections has its own requirements, and has to be laid down last, in a single layer, once the blacktop is completely set.

Working out a construction schedule that allows us to meet all these requirements before the weather gets too cold, requires that access to the roadway is completely restricted for short periods, within small segments.  Our team is working closely with the community to minimize the disruption as much as possible, although we know this stage is going to be challenging for everyone.

Getting the final stages done right has a direct impact on the long term performance of the road and the new rapid transit system.  As much as we want to be finished as soon as possible, speeding up the process simply is not an option. By building to the highest standards now, we’ll have a high quality road that will perform well for years to come.