York Region celebrates Markham's transformation

MARKHAM, ON, Oct. 29, 2015 /CNW/ - Today the Honourable Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation; Wayne Emmerson, Chairman and CEO, The Regional Municipality of York; Jack Collins, Chief Capital Officer, Metrolinx; and Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of the City of Markham and Chairman of York Region's Rapid Transit Corporation board, joined together to celebrate the transformation of Markham, with the completion of the last section of the York Viva Highway 7 East rapidway project.

The Highway 7 East project includes six kilometres of rapidway from Bayview Avenue to Warden Avenue. The rapidway entered service in three stages, with the first segment opened in August 2013 and the last segment, along South Town Centre Boulevard, Cedarland Drive and Warden Avenue in the City of Markham opened in January 2015. Higher-order transit along Highway 7 promotes growth and development in the City of Markham, and supports the priorities of the City of Markham's Strategic Plan, York Region's Centres and Corridors plan, Metrolinx's Regional Transportation Plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), and the Province's Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

"The Ontario government is pleased to see our transit investments and the province's growth plans coming to life in Markham," said Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation. "With continued investments like this, the GTHA will be connected by a transportation infrastructure that is prepared for growth."

The transformation of the Highway 7 corridor provides an important link across York Region," said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. "Having quality transit choices in place will connect urban areas, encourage commuters to take transit and reduce congestion."

"Metrolinx has committed to helping connect the GTHA, working in partnerships to help build transit," said Jack Collins, Chief Capital Officer at Metrolinx. "The York Viva BRT project is one example of Metrolinx's commitment to managing traffic congestion, connecting key travel centres in the region and keeping people moving."

The Highway 7 East rapidway project helped transform Markham with tree-lined sidewalks, fast, convenient rapid transit, and updated utilities. These new features, combined with the City of Markham's development plans, will help the city centre to grow to include places to live, work, shop and dine a short walk or transit ride away.

The Highway 7 East rapidway project is part of the York Viva bus rapid transit (BRT) project which represents a $1.4 billion transit investment from the Government of Ontario, and is part of Metrolinx's Regional Transportation Plan, a 25-year plan for an integrated and sustainable transit and transportation system in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). The project is being implemented by Metrolinx, an agency of the Province of Ontario. Visit metrolinx.com more information.

York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC) is responsible for the planning, design and construction of the full vivaNext rapid transit network and related infrastructure to deliver on the transit priorities set out in the York Region Transportation Master Plan. YRRTC is a wholly-owned subsidiary and share capital corporation of The Regional Municipality of York. The vivaNext plan is a key component of the vision outlined by the Places to Grow Act, which aims to manage growth in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way that enriches communities. For more information, please visit vivanext.com.

SOURCE Metrolinx vivaNext

For further information: Sarah Harris, York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, 905-886-6767 ext. 71380, sarah.harris@york.ca; Alex Burke, Metrolinx, 416-202-5726, alex.burke@metrolinx.com; Jane Almeida, Ministry of Transportation, Minister's office, 416-327-1815; Bob Nichols, Ministry of Transportation, Communications Branch, 416-327-1158

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