Short term pain, long term gain in York Region transit project

Businesses, commuters face a couple years of construction headaches

York Region Transit’s latest project calls for a modern and rapid transit system to be integrated into the streets of York Region.

VivaNext is YRT’s current project that will have dedicated bus lanes run in Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill and Vaughn.

A 2.7 km stretch from Highway 404 to Bayview Avenue officially opened on Sunday August 18. While that part of the overall project opened four months ahead of schedule, commuters and businesses along Highway 7 still face traffic headaches as construction continues with the widening of roadbeds and dedicated bus lanes.

Tim Keung, one of the owners of the Golf Lounge, located on East Beaver Creek just off of Highway 7 does see long-term benefits, despite the short term pain.

“I’m hoping it will help improve the flow of food traffic to the area,” Keung said. “Although right now, the congested traffic and construction takes people way too long to go through that short stretch of road.”

Wesley Kwok, a local resident of the area sees a lot of merit in the construction but understands the frustration commuters have.

“For someone like me who takes the bus to school, or people who take the bus to work, bus lanes like these could make the trip a lot smoother,” Kwok said.

“It is quite frustrating though when a normal five minute drive turns into 15, 20 minutes or more sometimes.”

Construction is projected to complete in 2016.