Posts Tagged ‘York Region’

strong foundations

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

click to see the video: strong foundations

If you’ve seen the completed rapidway on Highway 7 East, you’ll know that the roadway has gotten a major facelift. VivaNext is building sleek, modern and welcoming transit stations and streetscapes throughout York Region. But that’s not all. During the construction of each new rapidway, older infrastructure is upgraded to lay a strong foundation for the social and economic development that will accompany a rapid transit network.

York Region’s population is expected to increase by 600,000 by the year 2041. As York Region grows into a more urban destination, it’s important to ensure that we have the infrastructure necessary to support a larger, denser population. Taking the time to replace infrastructure during rapidway construction allows us to support this growth, while also reducing future maintenance and repair costs. As the rapidways are being built, water mains, storm sewers, street lights, and other utilities are also being upgraded, expanded or renewed, and bridges and culverts are being assessed and rebuilt as needed.

The future is promising and by investing in new infrastructure, vivaNext is supporting the prosperity of York Region’s communities well into the future. To see how we’re laying a strong foundation for social and economic growth, watch our video.



make some #connections this summer

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!

It’s that time of year again, as the temperature rises and schools close, we start making plans for the summer. No matter whether you’re planning to take a big vacation or find fun and excitement in York Region, know that Viva is there to make your trips for work, shopping or playing a fast and enjoyable experience.

But on a day like today, we’re concentrating on the fun. Join us at events across York Region this summer in your community.  This July 1, our vivaNext team will be out celebrating Canada Day at the Kanata Summer Festival in Newmarket.

itching for ways to win?

Pick up a scratch ‘n’ win card from our vivaNext team at your next community event. We’ll be handing out vivaNext scratch cards for a chance to win one of 12 PRESTO cards, or one of three iPad Air 2 tablets. Both are perfect for getting you around town or staying connected to the people and places we love most. A PRESTO card is the most convenient way to get around town, connecting YRT/Viva, GO buses and trains, and the TTC with one card! And the iPad Air 2 is equally convenient for business or pleasure with a wide selection of apps to choose from [like this one, perhaps?]. For complete details, visit our website, or go straight to the rules and regulations.

up for a challenge?

For those who enjoy games check out our summer on-line game – another PRESTO card is up for grabs. The highest score wins, so play early and often to better your score. Play the #Connections Summer Game here.

Davis Drive walking tours in Newmarket

Looking for something to do this summer? Show your support for Davis Drive businesses with a short, guided walking tour of the new rapidways under construction. See the progress in action! Best of all, you’ll receive a $10 voucher to use at a participating Davis Drive restaurant on the day of your tour. Space is limited, so please register for a date and time convenient to you.

There is a lot happening around town and we hope to see you out and about this summer. In the meantime, Happy Canada Day everyone!


bus rapid transit is a global phenomenon, up nearly 400% in over 10 years

Monday, June 29th, 2015

BRT system is a global phenomenon

At vivaNext, we’re working hard to build a Bus Rapid Transit [BRT] system. And we’re not alone! Our vision of fast, reliable and convenient BRT service is shared by many cities and regions, all over the world.

Bus Rapid Transit is a global phenomenon that has nearly quadrupled over the last 10 years, growing 383% worldwide from 2004 to 2014, according to data compiled by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.


buses! buses!

Former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, Enrique Peñalosa, said it best with his rally cry: “Buses! Buses! Buses! Buses!” That was his response to a suggestion that some municipalities might benefit from a subway.

Indeed, for many cities and regions, BRT simply makes sense. A BRT system can be built at a fraction of the cost and time of a rail system – in the span of a few years instead of a decade or more – and still provide service that can be just as reliable, fast and frequent as a train.

More cities and regions are turning to BRT as their transportation solution, with 1,849 kilometres of new lines added globally in the last decade. In York Region, our contribution was the six- kilometre stretch of rapidway on Highway 7 East! And that’s just the beginning.


32 million global BRT riders every day

Around the world, 32 million people ride BRT every day, according to the global database  That’s 5,087 kilometres of BRT lines in 193 cities.

The undisputed global leader of the movement is Latin America with nearly 20 million passengers, followed by Asia with 8.7 million. Brazil is the birthplace of BRT, and the country with the largest network of systems; nearly 12 million passengers a day in 34 cities!

Bus Rapid Transit grew the most in China with construction of 552 new kilometres over the last decade, followed by Brazil with 345 kilometres, and Mexico with 234 kilometres, according to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

Closer to home in North America, BRT is a small but growing phenomenon with one million passengers in 27 cities. The United States was fourth worldwide in terms of growth, with 104 kilometres of new lanes built in the last 10 years.


9.6 million annual riders on Highway 7 East rapidway

Here in York Region, we’re working hard to bring the vivaNext vision to life. Our current plan will include 34 kilometres of rapidway once construction is complete, connecting the communities of Markham, Vaughan, Richmond Hill and Newmarket. That includes the six kilometres already running in Markham. We’re also forging connections with the Spadina Subway Extension, and advancing plans for the Yonge North Subway Extension. In 2014, our Highway 7 East rapidway in Markham had 9.6 million riders, so we’re well on our way.

We’re building rapidways but the true end product is something much greater – mobility. Mobility makes everything possible. Because BRT runs in designated lanes it’s not subject to the whims of traffic. When our rapidways are complete, people will know they can rely on Viva service to get where they need to go – to work, to school, and to life.  As our communities grow and roads get more congested, our rapidway system will be ready to meet the growing demands of our region – part of a global movement moving people forward into the future


working hand-in-hand

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

working hand-in-hand

Sometimes the best way to get through big, complex tasks is to split the workload – divide and conquer. This is especially true with York Region’s transit network, so we work alongside the Transportation Services Department.

With strategic plans in place, the Transportation Services Department plans the overall transportation network, including roads, transit and cycling. They create a Transportation Master Plan, which takes into account many factors, including ideas from residents, population growth and other statistics, provincial mandates like Places to Grow, and environmental protection measures like the Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine. They also build and maintain roads, and through YRT/Viva, operate conventional YRT transit, Mobility Plus and Viva rapid transit.

At vivaNext [York Region Rapid Transit Corporation], we put the rapid transit part of the Transportation Master Plan in place. We work with all levels of government to acquire funding for each new project, whether it’s Bus Rapid Transit rapidways, subways, or transit facilities. We design and build these projects – including details like station locations and designs, sidewalks and lighting.

As the project manager, we set timelines and manage construction contracts. The rapidways are major infrastructure projects requiring careful scheduling and seamless handovers when each project goes into service. At this end point, the operations are handed over to YRT/Viva, and the maintenance is done by either York Region or the local municipality, depending on who owns the road.

At vivaNext we have some projects in place already, more scheduled for the next four years, and a few projects yet to be funded. Along with York Region’s growing population, there’s a growing need for transit. So there’s a lot to do, and we’re working hand-in-hand to get everything done.

If you’re looking for a few videos, you can get a glimpse of the transformation of York Region, see what York Region’s Transportation Services does, or just catch a little excitement.


working in harmony with the weather

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

working in harmony with the weather

As Canadians, we tend to be a little bit obsessed with the weather, and no wonder. With such extreme fluctuations, our climate affects everything we do: our commutes, our weekend plans and our way of life. Watching the Weather Network is one of our national pastimes, right up there with hockey.

At vivaNext, our crews work in all kinds of weather to build a rapid transit system for York Region.

When the sun shines, crews push forward to get the job done. But when the forecast is for thunderstorms, extreme heat or cold, heavy rain or snow, our crew leaders have to assess the situation and decide whether or not to work. Then they make a call, for the safety of their people and the success of the project.

extreme heat

At this time of year, extreme heat poses a major weather hazard. Paving when it’s 35°C can be dangerous for the health of our crews, and plain miserable as well. However, a worker in a trench below ground may find it cool enough to work in extreme heat.


Lightning and thunder are a no-go from a safety perspective. But as we all know, the weather report is a changeable beast. When the forecast is thunderstorms, contractors building vivaNext rapidways have to make tough decisions. They can bring their crews out and then find it’s too stormy to work. Or they can call off work for the day, only to find the storm never comes and a perfectly good working day is lost. The decision comes down to safety.


Crews can pave in light rain for one or two days, but eventually wetness takes a toll. A tarp or cover can be used when pouring concrete in the rain, while waiting for it to cure. The safety of the men and women working on vivaNext projects is a top priority. Rain can make construction sites slippery, muddy and dangerous, and pose undue hazards.

underground weather

The weather underground is another factor. While it may be sunny and warm where we are, temperatures drop below ground.  Digging frozen ground can be a challenge and can damage equipment.

the bottom line

When our crew leaders decide not to work in bad weather, they’re thinking of the safety of the men and women they lead, and the success of the project.

Crews take advantage of Mother Nature by capitalizing on the good weather to drive vivaNext rapidway construction forward and we are happy to report we have had a great start to the construction season this year!

The result will be a transit network York Region will be proud to call its own, a legacy that keeps our communities moving forward into the future.


paving season is always a good news story

Monday, May 25th, 2015

click here to see the paving video!

If it’s spring, it must be paving season! [see the video]

It’s not unusual for us at vivaNext to get very excited about paving season because it is always a good news story. The fact is construction can be dusty and disruptive – but, just like seeing the leaves open up on the trees in spring – the surest sign that the heavy construction is nearing its end is when the paving crews arrive.

Currently, as platform construction continues for the future vivastations along Highway 7 in Vaughan, the next segments of base-layer paving have begun between Edgeley Blvd./Interchange Way to Keele St. This paving will be completed in sections over the next two months and will include closures and detours.

One question you may be asking is why do crews revisit a section once it’s paved? The process happens layer by layer, which is why the crews will come back to the same location more than once. Because Highway 7 has to bear the load of regular traffic and heavy vehicles, we need to start with a solid base layer to make sure the road holds up over time.

To create the red pavement on the rapidways, we use a special pigment that is carefully mixed to achieve the right balance of rich red and rugged durability.

Each step needs to be done in sequence, and takes a certain amount of time. While the paving itself doesn’t take more than a few hours, fresh pavement can’t handle traffic right away. Also, we plan the work outside of busy business traffic times of the week, and the day – for example, crews typically work overnight and on weekends – weather permitting.

To stay informed about the paving activities along Highway 7 in Vaughan this spring and summer, check out our paving page at On you can also find Davis Drive paving and construction info, and sign up for construction updates.


time for some family fun…

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

time for some family fun...

York Region’s Public Works and Emergency Medical Services [EMS] departments are hosting a Family Fun Day this weekend, and we’ll be there too to help recognize the importance of these services, and to have some fun!

We hope you can drop by our booth while you’re there, and be sure you take part in some of the activities, including:

  • Give transit a try and ride Viva through the bus wash facility in Newmarket [we especially recommend this activity!]
  • Tour the facilities at 80 and 90 Bales Drive, and see interesting equipment and vehicles
  • Watch or take part in the bike rodeo and bike helmet demonstrations
  • Food and refreshments at a charity BBQ [11:30 – 2pm]
  • Free garden mulch with a donation, and contests and prizes
  • Meet Pylon Pete, Barkley the Tree and Parry the Paramedic

So let’s enjoy the nice weather, spend quality time with family, and come see some of York Region’s services. We’ll see you there!

For detailed information about York Region’s Family Fun Day, visit


greenery all around us

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

greenery all around us

Most people see the environmental benefits of having greenery around us. Trees and shrubs help to filter the air and water, and provide shade and habitat for animals and birds. But when you look at a tree, shrub or plant, it doesn’t bring to mind the economy. Last year, a report from TD Economics calculated that in Toronto, a single tree returns from $1.35 to $3.20 per every dollar spent on maintaining the “urban forest,” and the returns for Halifax and Vancouver were even higher. It also noted the higher value of real estate in neighbourhoods with mature tree canopies.

There are environmental benefits and economic value, and then there’s the intangible – the way we feel when we’re on a tree-lined street and the satisfaction we get from watching the seasons change. We may not look forward to snow, but you can’t deny it looks nice on tree branches.

If you’ve ever planted a garden, you know that every plant isn’t always successful, especially after a harsh winter. Along the new Highway 7 East rapidway in Markham and Richmond Hill, we’ve planted almost 300 trees and thousands of perennials and grasses. We use soil cell technology to ensure trees have the best chance at survival, and the types of trees and shrubs are selected carefully. Even so, sometimes a few don’t make it through the winter, in which case we replace them under the two-year warranty we have for all of our trees, shrubs and plants.

In the next couple of weeks, our landscaping crews will be out on Highway 7 to help the new greenery on Highway 7 East thrive for many years to come. Whether you’re walking through a forest or travelling Highway 7 East, we hope you connect with nature now that spring is finally, [finally!] here.


how transit and city planning work together

Monday, May 4th, 2015

how transit and city planning work together

An exciting new urban planning report — Make Way for Mid-Rise: How to build more homes in walkable, transit-connected neighbourhoods proposes actions that would help increase density along transit lines in the Greater Toronto Area. The report was released by the Pembina Institute and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association on Monday, May 4.

The nugget of this report is that the range of affordable housing choices for families would increase by building mid-rise, mixed-use buildings along transit lines. The report argues that mid-rise development supports “healthy lifestyles and local economies, since it can help increase walkability and put more people close to transit, while also supporting local business.”

So, should our communities “make way for mid-rise”? If we want our cities to have a better chance of developing the type of population density that supports a healthy neighbourhood with street life, walkability, and good transit, then, yes!

As the populations of York Region and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area increase, it’s the job of government, urban planners, and developers to ensure that the community infrastructure is properly accommodated, and resources like farmland and clean water are protected.

The Make Way for Mid-Rise report presents five ways to support increased density:

  1. Require minimum densities along rapid transit lines
  2. Eliminate minimum parking requirements
  3. Pre-approve mid-rise development along avenues and transit corridors
  4. Require retail planning before mid-rise is built
  5. Make parkland dedication rules more equitable

When transit planning and urban planning work together, the result can be what vivaNext is all about: great cities and great transit, hand in hand.

Take a few moments to check out the report, Make Way for Mid-Rise, and read more about the proposals in the Toronto Star.


earth hour – make it count

Friday, March 27th, 2015

earth hour 2015

It’s that time of year again, when we turn off the lights and other electronics for an hour on Saturday, March 28 at 8:30pm. To raise awareness about climate change, this hour reminds us that with only a small amount of effort we can use less energy. In York Region and Simcoe County last year, Powerstream recorded 48 megawatts in savings – enough to power 1,480 homes for 24 hours.

Aside from Earth Hour, you can be planet-friendly by doing things like using energy-efficient light bulbs, mowing your lawn less, walking or biking and sharing your ride or by taking transit. Viva may be blue, but it is a great green alternative! Every little thing counts, and it all adds up to a healthier environment.

So, York Region… enjoy your candle-lit dinners, your early-spring walks, some quiet time or take a ride on transit. If you’re looking for Earth Hour activities Saturday, check out some of the events happening around the Region, at community centres and local businesses: Powerstream blog about events in Markham and Vaughan, Facebook community page for Earth Hour in Newmarket, Earth Hour 2015 official video.