Here at Smart Commute, we like to think of ourselves as sustainable transportation aficionados. We love working with workplaces in the GTHA to share our knowledge about commuting options, like public transit, carpooling, cycling, walking, teleworking and more. So when there’s something innovative happening in the transportation world to help make getting from A to B more efficient, you can expect that Smart Commute members will get the full scoop.
In early November, workplace champions from Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill workplaces were invited on a VIP tour of the Highway 7 Rapidways. The twenty participants got to ride the bus and experience a new stretch of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes – dedicated lanes, or rapidways, in the centre of the road to allow buses to move out of congested traffic and ultimately help passengers get to their destination on time.
The Highway 7 East rapidways that travel through both Richmond Hill and Markham will connect to the Richmond Hill Centre, a hub featuring businesses, homes, stores, restaurants and more. From the Centre there are connections to Viva, GO Transit, YRT and TTC (including the planned Yonge North subway extension).
Workplace champions also learned about York Region’s innovative left turn bike boxes, now installed at several locations along Highway 7. These bright green bike boxes within the bike lane provide cyclists with a safe way to make left turns at busy intersections (as opposed to crossing several lanes of traffic to get into the left turn lane).
Participants also got a sneak peek of the Atos Markham Pan Am/Parapan Am Centre, which will host water polo, badminton and table tennis during the Games next summer. It’s also a great new addition to the community that will help residents be active long after the Games have ended.
“The Tour gave members of local businesses an excellent opportunity to experience the new Highway 7 bus rapid transit route and ask questions about the existing and planned Viva/York Region Transit system,” says Sarah Hanson, the Smart Commute Workplace Champion for URS Canada Inc., based in Richmond Hill. “The whole experience really showed me how well our local transit facilities are being built to accommodate the growth in the GTA and the planning initiatives being put into place for the upcoming Pan Am Games.”