In last Saturday’s editions of the Thornhill Liberal and the Richmond Hill Liberal, Thornhill resident Judith Witzig was 100% correct in her letter to the editor regarding the controversy over VIVA Rapidways to be built along Centre Street west from Bathurst over to where Highway 7 swings south to meet Centre Street. I wrote about this back in February, and how Thornhill MPP Peter Shurman and the Beverley Glen Ratepayers Association were opposed to this going through their neighbourhood. Never mind that VIVA service along this route has been a fact of life for seven and a half years now.
Ms. Witzig’s words deserve to be repeated, and appear after the break:
A fundamental tenant of a walkable community is that buses and stations/stops need to be where the people are and where they are going.
Viva’s rapidway will connect my marvelously walkable Beverly Glen neighbourhood and our near neighbours south of Centre Street with the growing Vaughan Metropolitan Centre and the Richmond Hill transit hub with its connections to GO buses and trains and transit connections to downtown Toronto.
The rapidway connects us to parts of Richmond Hill and Markham and brings folks to the commercial areas.
The flip side is that this system will eliminate car trips that currently clog Bathurst on their journey to the Promenade, Walmart and the Disera Road restaurants and shops.
Vaughan has spent good money on the Centre Street Plan to transform this to “an active urban space that connects, both physically and mentally to the community – a distinct place”.
This plan proposes a walkable, tree-lined boulevard, one that is absolutely compatible with the rapidway.
But let’s talk about the so-called “$100 million waste of money” the Centre Street “detour” will cause.
Keeping the rapidway on Hwy. 7 would be the waste of money. Buses belong where the people and destinations are. There is nothing, I repeat, nothing, on Hwy. 7 between Hunter’s Point and Dufferin.
There is a gas station at Thornhill Woods Boulevard and Hwy. 7, hardly a draw for transit.
The “$1 million” waste of money would be to route the rapidway on the new Hwy. 7 section between Bathurst and Dufferin.
Bringing the rapidway to where the people are is cost effective.
The province’s Places to Grow and York Region’s Centres and Corridors Strategy confirm the already high density concentration on the area of Centre Street between Bathurst and Dufferin.
The recent approval of a 29-storey tower at the corner of Beverly Glen and Bathurst, (with its companion towers), coupled with the construction on New Westminster Boulevard underscore the need to provide the express transit into and out of our neighbourhood.
My auto-centric neighbours need to get out of the way of one of the best things happening in Vaughan.
Judith Witzig, THORNHILL