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Yonge Street rapidway - Richmond Hill: Rapidway opens to buses, December 20

VivaNext - Yonge - Richmond Hill - header.jpg

Metrolinx and York Region are the project to build a rapidway — bus-only lanes in the centre of the roadway — along Yonge Street in Richmond Hill between 19th Avenue / Gamble Road and Highway 7.

Starting Sunday, December 20, York Region Transit buses along the Viva blue route operate along the newest stretch of rapidway through Richmond Hill.

The new 6.5-kilometre rapidway extends along Yonge Street in two segments:

  • between 19th Avenue / Gamble Road and Levendale Drive; and
  • between Major Mackenzie Drive and Highway 7.

Between the two segments, buses operate in mixed traffic through the ‘heritage section’ in downtown Richmond Hill, serving passengers at Crosby vivastation. The rapidway opening tomorrow includes seven new vivastations:

  • 19th / Gamble;
  • Bernard;
  • Elgin Mills;
  • Major Mackenzie;
  • Weldrick;
  • 16th / Carrville;
  • Bantry / Scott.


In the south end, the rapidway connects to YRT’s Bernard and Richmond Hill Centre terminals and GO Transit trains at Langstaff GO Station. It will also connect to a future subway, extending the TTC’s Line 1 between the Richmond Hill / Langstaff Gateway Urban Growth Centre at Yonge Street and Highway 7 and Finch Station. To the north, Viva buses connect to a bus terminal, GO train station and rapidways in Newmarket.


Crews have been busy during this final year of major construction: from new, wider boulevards to building the centre-lane vivastations to final paving. As you enter the corridor at Yonge Street and Garden Avenue, you’ll see the gateway to the City of Richmond Hill, with large planters and decorative walls.


The Major Mackenzie vivastation is located on Yonge Street, about 200 metres south of Major Mackenzie Drive, on the north side of Hopkins Street / Elmwood Avenue. This location, south of the intersection, results from property constraints and limitations around the Major Mackenzie intersection.

Crews have installed and activated new traffic signals at the Yonge and Hopkins / Elmwood intersection to accommodate the Major Mackenzie vivastation and pedestrian movements around that station. The signals allow south- and northbound vehicles to turn left and northbound vehicles to U-turn. East=west through-traffic on Hopkins and Elmwood can continue.

The vivastation will be mirrored [meaning the platforms stand across from each other], and northbound and southbound Viva buses will stop on the north side of Hopkins / Elmwood. The vivastation name will remain as “Major Mackenzie”, to allow for future place-making and to align with YRT / Viva operations.

Opening the Yonge Street rapidway through Richmond Hill marks the end of construction of the first phase of the Viva bus rapidway network. The first phase includes 33.7 kilometres of dedicated bus lanes and 38 stations along York Region’s busiest roadways. According to a Government of Ontario news release, “The rapid transit project has delivered millions of dollars in assets in York Region, including rapidway vivastations and lanes, boulevard work, underground infrastructure and streetscape features. These projects are more than just transit, they are complete street rebuilds, replacing and updating utilities and infrastructure, like water mains and bridges, adding bus lanes, and building new tree-lined sidewalks, traffic lanes and dedicated bike lanes.”


The York Viva bus rapid transit project represents a $1.4 billion (2009 dollars) transit investment from Ontario and is part of Metrolinx’s Regional Transportation Plan, a 25-year guideline for an integrated and sustainable transit and transportation system in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC) is responsible for the planning, designing and building 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.

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