On August 19th, a big step was taken towards the transformation of transportation in York Region, as transit service commenced for the first segment of dedicated bus lanes and stations on Highway 7 between Bayview Avenue and East Beaver Creek in Richmond Hill and Markham, Ontario.
This new 2.7-km stretch is part of vivaNext, a $1.4B program implemented by the York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC). The program is funded by Metrolinx, an agency of the government of Ontario, as part of its strategy for a seamless rapid transit network across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The program includes the construction of median rapid transit lanes called “rapidways” and stations on key corridors in York Region, including Highway 7, Yonge Street, and Davis Drive; connecting the main urban centres of Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, and Newmarket.
The rapidways are comprised of two lanes – one in each direction – running down the middle of the street. Roads were widened so bike lanes and wider, landscaped pedestrian boulevards could be added without taking any lanes away from cars. The modern stations include enhanced passenger information, security and ticketing features, and are fully accessible. The Highway 7 rapidways will be extended next year to Warden Avenue, and construction is also well underway on Davis Drive in Newmarket and Highway 7 in Vaughan. All vivaNext segments across York Region will be open by 2019.
MMM was engaged as Owner’s Engineer (OE) by the YRRTC for vivaNext in 2006 following the firm’s role in the same capacity for the QuickStart program, which resulted in the curbside Viva service currently operating on Highway 7 and Yonge Street. In 2011, MMM was awarded the OE role for vivaNext for an additional 10 years, until the completion of the funded program.
MMM’s OE role includes program and project management, strategic planning and compliance, contract and document management, design coordination and review, construction oversight, value engineering, and oversight of a significant environmental program. The firm is proud to be part of a project that is significantly improving transportation, and serving as a stimulus for urban transformation and economic development in York Region.
More information on vivaNext is available at http://www.vivanext.com/.