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YRT/Viva Construction Thread (Rapidways, Terminals)

The street is wider but whether it's less hospitable to pedestrians is debatable. The streetscape is hugely improved, the lighting and landscaping are better and the sidewalks are wider (and there are bike lanes) so while it's definitely a longer walk to cross, there is the island in the middle to stage it. It has very clearly facilitated urbanization, though I'm not going to argue that Highway 7 is, say, like Yonge Street through North York Centre. It was a compromise to keep all those lanes instead of taking the bus lanes, for sure. But Highway 7 isn't supposed to be the main street, really, for VMC or Markham Centre or RHC/Langstaff Gateway; each is oriented to centralize OFF of Highway 7, so they can justify keeping it as a "complete street" instead of something less auto-oriented.
 
Yeah, I wouldn't say bus lanes make a road less pedestrian friendly. It's not like those two lanes have constant 60-80 km/h traffic. Those lanes could even be an ersatz pedestrian refuge/buffer against the car lanes. However, there should be no dedicated right turn lanes and all other lanes need to be narrowed to 3.1-3.2 metres.
 
Yeah, I wouldn't say bus lanes make a road less pedestrian friendly. It's not like those two lanes have constant 60-80 km/h traffic. Those lanes could even be an ersatz pedestrian refuge/buffer against the car lanes. However, there should be no dedicated right turn lanes and all other lanes need to be narrowed to 3.1-3.2 metres.
I didn't mean the bus lanes make it less pedestrian friendly, I meant 9 lanes of traffic do, including 2 bus lanes. I totally agree about the width of lanes being an issue, because on such a straight street it makes it so easy to drive fast.
 
The street is wider but whether it's less hospitable to pedestrians is debatable. The streetscape is hugely improved, the lighting and landscaping are better and the sidewalks are wider (and there are bike lanes) so while it's definitely a longer walk to cross, there is the island in the middle to stage it. It has very clearly facilitated urbanization, though I'm not going to argue that Highway 7 is, say, like Yonge Street through North York Centre. It was a compromise to keep all those lanes instead of taking the bus lanes, for sure. But Highway 7 isn't supposed to be the main street, really, for VMC or Markham Centre or RHC/Langstaff Gateway; each is oriented to centralize OFF of Highway 7, so they can justify keeping it as a "complete street" instead of something less auto-oriented.
I definitely agree that all the landscaping/lighting etc. help a lot, but my view is that the width of the street negates that because that many lanes cars travelling at 60km/h is quite loud and personally I'd rather be on a quiet street than a green street.

I drove on Hwy 7 from the 404 to the intersection in the photo from 2014 which was right before construction on the busway started to 2019 and I didn't see much evidence of urbanization. From my perspective it was further suburbanized, as you point out it's nothing like Yonge in North York. There was almost zero walking traffic.

Regarding the idea that Hwy isn't suppose to be a Main Street, then what is the point of building rapid transit on it?
 
I found it much more walkable once the BRT upgrades were complete. My walks typically meant crossing highway 7 or walking along it. They upgraded the sidewalk (green barrier between the road and sidewalk) for parts of the walk. I don't consider crossing highway 7 a daunting task. It is wider and I would usually have to cross it twice an outing but it's only one road that size that I would need to cross.
I appreciate the feedback! I kinda made this argument above, but you don't need to widen a street like that to get better sidewalks.
While it may be no big deal for you to cross it, that may not be true for other slices of the population. The way I think of it is that every second that I'm crossing a street is a second where I'm less safe, so the shorter a cross, the better.
 
One thing they ruined with the bus lanes is the traffic signals and timing. Countless times I see people running the red to make a left turn either because they are impatient or think the light is broken because it doesn't change due to poor programming i.e. waiting 5 minutes for the light to change at 6am when there is no traffic. Also see left turn signals for ghost cars.
 
Making the roadway so wide that pedestrians have to wait for two walk signals (where the main street has the longest green light time, plus the dedicated left turn phases) or run across does not make anything more walkable.

That’s the problem.
That's only technically true. You only need 2 walk signals to cross if you don't start crossing the 2nd part when the "don't cross" signal is flashing. However, literally nobody does that. For 95% of the population, you can cross Highway 7 in 1 phase no problem.
 
That's only technically true. You only need 2 walk signals to cross if you don't start crossing the 2nd part when the "don't cross" signal is flashing. However, literally nobody does that. For 95% of the population, you can cross Highway 7 in 1 phase no problem.
Did they change the signal timing then? When the originally completed all of the work it was impossible to any one to cross the street in one cycle. They only gave about 25 seconds or so for pedestrians to cross Highway 7 at most intersections.

Dan
 
One thing they ruined with the bus lanes is the traffic signals and timing. Countless times I see people running the red to make a left turn either because they are impatient or think the light is broken because it doesn't change due to poor programming i.e. waiting 5 minutes for the light to change at 6am when there is no traffic. Also see left turn signals for ghost cars.
I felt that I consistently hit more than 50% of the red lights from the 404 to South Town Central Blvd. I would joke to myself that the street was called Highway 7 red lights. It was pretty clear that the north/south streets were being favoured, but still the light timing was garbage. I bet drivers have a worse experience post busway installation and will still have a negative view of it, despite being given more road space. My colleagues that took the bus pre/post busway didn't feel much improvement as any savings they got from the dedicated lane seemed to be negated from the increase in time spent at lights.
 
I felt that I consistently hit more than 50% of the red lights from the 404 to South Town Central Blvd. I would joke to myself that the street was called Highway 7 red lights. It was pretty clear that the north/south streets were being favoured, but still the light timing was garbage. I bet drivers have a worse experience post busway installation and will still have a negative view of it, despite being given more road space. My colleagues that took the bus pre/post busway didn't feel much improvement as any savings they got from the dedicated lane seemed to be negated from the increase in time spent at lights.
The advantage of the blue VIVA is in the rush hours around the pinch points <West Beaver Creek I Woodbine >. Those left turn signals do noticeably slow it down.
 
The buildings on Highway 7 are mostly islands surrounded by parking or green space so there will always be limits to what is possible in regards to walkability, in my opinion.
Again, if that's the approach, then why invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a busway that gets stuck at red lights? The development pattern on Hwy 7 isn't purely market driven. Zoning laws control things like parking, and can force a shopping centre to create a large amount of parking due to minimum requirements, or can restrict it because of transit access. The transit planning and city development planning seem to be at odds with each other.
 

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