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I hope everyone has had a chance to calm down. Please keep in mind moving forward: do not antagonize other members and do not contribute to a thread's decline. Simply report bad behaviour, and the adm

All units to be operated by Southwest (which rules out the 90), will be used on the 20 for now.

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http://www.thestar.c...nsit_fight.html

“Stop me if I talk too fast,” says Gila Martow, interrupting herself to shoot me this warning as I climb into her enormous beige SUV.

We’re in the parking lot of a Thornhill shopping plaza and Martow is about to take me on a tour of the planned dedicated bus lane route she believes will destroy her neighbourhood.

“I have four kids,” she says, explaining the size of her vehicle as we buckle up. “Boy, boy, boy, girl.” Aged 15 to 25.

The route in question is only a small part of the Viva bus rapidway that will stretch across Highway 7, connecting the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre with town centres in Richmond Hill and Markham. Martow and a contingent of local residents who have taken up the cause are not against the rapidway itself, but rather the planned route of the dedicated centre lanes through their neighbourhood — from Highway 7 south down Bathurst St. and west across Centre St.

Martow, 51, an optometrist who ran for council in the last municipal election, calls it a “detour” that will disrupt the flow of traffic, force cars onto residential streets and cost more than it’s worth. She has been comparing it to the controversial St. Clair streetcar project, which prompted struggling businesses along the midtown corridor to launch a lawsuit against the City of Toronto.

She and her supporters want the rapidway to continue along Highway 7 instead of cutting south, and they argue the money would be better spent on the Yonge subway expansion.

As we head east on Centre St. toward the Promenade bus terminal, Martow throws out a scenario she’s been using lately to illustrate her frustration: Joe Bus Rider gets on the rapidway in Markham to head west for work, but is baffled when the driver makes an unexpected turn south into Thornhill.

“I can just picture this poor guy, yelling at the bus driver and saying, ‘What are you doing? What are you getting off the highway for? We’re on Highway 7, what are you doing?’ And the (driver’s) gonna say, ‘Well, we have to go to the Promenade Mall, there’s two old ladies there that want to get on the rapidway.”

Transit officials with YRT-Viva and the local councillor take issue with her position — in particular, the word “detour.”

“That’s a misrepresentation of the facts being tossed about,” Dale Albers, spokesman for YRT-Viva, told me this week when I used the apparently loaded word in an email. “That route has been operational since Viva first launched in 2005 and serves thousands of people every workday just in that stretch alone,” he wrote back. “The alignment is not new, nor a divergence from an existing route — thus not a detour.”

The route plan is based on an environmental assessment that showed the demand for transit — and the projected future demand — is along Centre St., where there is a great deal of development potential. Along the section of Highway 7 the rapidway will bypass in favour of the Thornhill route, there is very little room for intensification and a lower demand for transit, the assessment found. Albers also points out that the rapidway makes similar diversions off Highway 7 through “residential/commercial urban corridors in Markham and Newmarket.”

At the heart of this dispute is a fundamental disagreement over the identity of this little slice of York Region. Is Thornhill-Vaughan a city or a suburb?

“This is a suburb,” Martow says. “We’re getting way ahead of ourselves if we think that in Thornhill, in York Region, people are going to do grocery shopping and take their kid to hockey by bus. Who are we kidding?”

In an effort to get people excited about plans for the new urban streetscape and development that will come with the rapidway, at least one developer called it “the next Yonge Street” and officials have likened it in other ways to a downtown Toronto streetscape. That comparison hasn’t gone over well with some Thornhill residents.

“We don’t want a downtown Toronto,” says Mark Milunsky, a 19-year-old aspiring urban planner. “That’s why we live up here.”

Milunsky, a recent high school graduate, is the newest member of the Beverley Glen Ratepayers Association executive. Together, he and Martow, who is the association’s president, have been pushing to have the route changed. They recently convinced local Progressive Conservative MPP Peter Shurman to voice his support for residents.

But it seems unlikely they will get their way. The project is already funded by the province, with construction on Bathurst and Centre Sts. set to begin in 2015 and last two years.

“I appreciate the suburban dream, but the reality is — look around, this a very urban place,” says Alan Shefman, councillor for Vaughan Ward 5, which includes Thornhill. “I guess people really hang on the mythology of the suburbs, but I’m very practical and very pragmatic when it comes to where we live here, and this isn’t suburbs. This is an urban municipality.”

Though Shefman has no official say in the plans for Centre St. because it is a regional road, he supports the rapidway route.

Here’s some context: Shefman and Martow are political foes. Martow ran against him and lost in the 2010 election. He believes she has taken up this cause for political gain; she says it’s because she cares about her community.

Martow has been highly critical of Shefman for supporting the project when, according to her, nearly all local residents are against it. Shefman says he’s spoken to many residents who have voiced their support.

Martow is not against development of the area altogether — in fact, she agrees that Centre St. needs a facelift — but her concern is that the rapidway, which will be transformed into light rail in decades to come, will pave the way for density not suitable for the neighbourhood.

“If there is a rapidway being built down here to look like Highway 7, the OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) will say, ‘Whoo, future light rail? Almost a subway? Rapidway? Sounds really rapid. Yeah, build! Thirty storeys, 40 storeys!’”

For his part, Shefman says he is adamant about limiting density along the large chunk of Centre St. between Dufferin St. and New Westminster Dr. The councillor’s vision for the street is something similar to Disera Dr., a new and well-designed promenade adjacent to the contentious bus route that features, among other things, a Marble Slab Creamery. It has quickly become a popular strolling destination for locals.

But here’s an interesting thing: when asked about her own vision for Centre St., Martow’s answer is the same — Disera. In fact, she drives there to show me the street, raving about how great it is. “We’re so thrilled with it even though it’s one block — they say two blocks but it’s really only one block — we walk up and down here all summer long going to Marble Slab.”

Same street. Same vision. Different ideas on how to get there.

EDIT: I actually talked to Gila Martow on Twitter. She did raise some good points, such as lack of good transit service in the Thornhill Woods area, poor planning policies in York Region, and balancing whether direct service is more important or service connecting major nodes. She most certainly did not come out as "uninformed", as what this article seemed to portray at first.

However, her argument of claiming Thornhill Woods deserves Viva service more than Thornhill Centre was flawed. I brought up how routes 23 and 87 already serve the community and serves the rapidway corridor anyway, and how YRT should be fixing/improving local services in addition to building this rapidway. She also brought up the claim the Thornhill Woods area is a family neighbourhood and they would love to hop on the rapidway to get to their "hockey games, grocery shopping, and other shopping". Unfortunately looking at how the community is designed there are no direct pedestrian paths connecting the community and Highway 7 except for Thornhill Woods Drive itself...I can't imagine them (or most residents there) walking from their local street (if any), and down Thornhill Woods just to ride Viva if it were to go there.

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http://www.thestar.c...nsit_fight.html

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EDIT: I actually talked to Gila Martow on Twitter. She did raise some good points, such as lack of good transit service in the Thornhill Woods area, poor planning policies in York Region, and balancing whether direct service is more important or service connecting major nodes. She most certainly did not come out as "uninformed", as what this article seemed to portray at first.

However, her argument of claiming Thornhill Woods deserves Viva service more than Thornhill Centre was flawed. I brought up how routes 23 and 87 already serve the community and serves the rapidway corridor anyway, and how YRT should be fixing/improving local services in addition to building this rapidway. She also brought up the claim the Thornhill Woods area is a family neighbourhood and they would love to hop on the rapidway to get to their "hockey games, grocery shopping, and other shopping". Unfortunately looking at how the community is designed there are no direct pedestrian paths connecting the community and Highway 7 except for Thornhill Woods Drive itself...I can't imagine them (or most residents there) walking from their local street (if any), and down Thornhill Woods just to ride Viva if it were to go there.

Purple has been serving the Promenade Terminal since day 1. The article also mentioned Marble Slab Creamery which my mom owns and I presently work. ;):P

My mom and I agree the bus lanes would be an improvement.

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http://www.thestar.c...nsit_fight.html

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EDIT: I actually talked to Gila Martow on Twitter. She did raise some good points, such as lack of good transit service in the Thornhill Woods area, poor planning policies in York Region, and balancing whether direct service is more important or service connecting major nodes. She most certainly did not come out as "uninformed", as what this article seemed to portray at first.

However, her argument of claiming Thornhill Woods deserves Viva service more than Thornhill Centre was flawed. I brought up how routes 23 and 87 already serve the community and serves the rapidway corridor anyway, and how YRT should be fixing/improving local services in addition to building this rapidway. She also brought up the claim the Thornhill Woods area is a family neighbourhood and they would love to hop on the rapidway to get to their "hockey games, grocery shopping, and other shopping". Unfortunately looking at how the community is designed there are no direct pedestrian paths connecting the community and Highway 7 except for Thornhill Woods Drive itself...I can't imagine them (or most residents there) walking from their local street (if any), and down Thornhill Woods just to ride Viva if it were to go there.

thats the problem with most places in york region, it wasnt bulit around transit it was bulit around cars sadly, transit was and still is an afterthought (which isnt exclusive to just YRT) and rediclously overpriced for the service as is, people who complign about how high TTC fares are quickly shut up when i inform them how much more the average YRT user pays in comparison to service provided.....

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thats the problem with most places in york region, it wasnt bulit around transit it was bulit around cars sadly, transit was and still is an afterthought (which isnt exclusive to just YRT) and rediclously overpriced for the service as is, people who complign about how high TTC fares are quickly shut up when i inform them how much more the average YRT user pays in comparison to service provided.....

Kinda sad how quickly York Region is growing, and how subpar transit service is in much of it...

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thats the problem with most places in york region, it wasnt bulit around transit it was bulit around cars sadly, transit was and still is an afterthought (which isnt exclusive to just YRT) and rediclously overpriced for the service as is, people who complign about how high TTC fares are quickly shut up when i inform them how much more the average YRT user pays in comparison to service provided.....

Oh come now, that's a bit rich isn't it? We both know TTC riders couldn't give a tinkers damn about any other transit system they're not on or don't have to use, and never quickly shut up for any reason!
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Two no idling signs have been put up, one on each side of Church Street outside the hospital. That might explain why I've seen a phenomenal increase in buses laying over on Bur Oak instead.

Ummm, those have been there for a while now. I would guess at least 6 months, Mr. GRT man.

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I only posted cause it hasn't been posted yet, though I guess that explains where yrt304 got his avatar from.

True. They are also at Richmond Hill Centre, although one would never know they existed.. lol.

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5102 has been redone to YRT livery and renumbered 501, currently sitting at North garage.

Pics or it didn't happen ;)

Well they got converted early didn't they...didn't a Future Service plan say were getting converted in 2014 or something?

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Pics or it didn't happen ;)

IMG-20130211-00400.jpg

had pics for a month now.... wasn't allowed to post until #501 was properly allocated...... now that its out in the open..........

yes it has a farebox and presto, and the interior has been completely redone.....

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had pics for a month now.... wasn't allowed to post until #501 was properly allocated...... now that its out in the open..........

The paint scheme actually looks very appealing, did they keep the thicker seats or did they convert?

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Pics or it didn't happen ;)

Well they got converted early didn't they...didn't a Future Service plan say were getting converted in 2014 or something?

They're converting somewhere between 14 and 20 from the last word I heard, and this will clear out 001-014, 9701, 9703, and 9931-9933. They will be replaced by a Nova Artic order for Viva which I think is supposed to be arriving sometime in the next few months (until then, Viva will be in a shortage, as usual; don't find it too unusual that more 60fts are out on normally 40ft runs).

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They're converting somewhere between 14 and 20 from the last word I heard, and this will clear out 001-014, 9701, 9703, and 9931-9933. They will be replaced by a Nova Artic order for Viva which I think is supposed to be arriving sometime in the next few months (until then, Viva will be in a shortage, as usual; don't find it too unusual that more 60fts are out on normally 40ft runs).

The count I was told, was viva is losing 20 buses (which should be what is left UN-refurbished) and would be getting 16 LFX's in return......

New drivers area, and Interior..... Sorry, the pics are sideways....

IMG-20130211-00403.jpg

IMG-20130211-00404.jpg

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