Current status

Environmental assessment: approved, November 29, 2006

Project summary

The purpose of the undertaking is to address public transit improvements in the Highway 7 Corridor extending from Highway 50 to York-Durham Line.


The Regional Municipality of York


Highway 7 Corridor extending from Highway 50 to York-Durham Line



Reference number



Environmental Assessment and Permissions Branch

Project history

Environmental assessment: approved
Date submitted: September 2, 2005
Expiry of public comment period: October 21, 2005
Expiry of public comment period for Ministry Review: August 25, 2006
Decision date: November 29, 2006

Terms of reference: approved
Date submitted: April 2, 2004
Expiry of public comment period: May 14, 2004
Decision date: June 30, 2004

Environmental assessment

The Regional Municipality of York (Region) has completed the Highway 7 Corridor and Vaughan North-South Link Public Transit Improvements Environmental Assessment (EA) which addresses public transit improvements in the Highway 7 Corridor extending from Highway 50 to York-Durham Line. The EA is submitted to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) for formal review as required under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (EAA).

The EA is submitted under section 6.1(2) of the EAA and was prepared in accordance with the Terms of Reference approved by the Minister of the Environment on June 30, 2004.

The purpose of the undertaking as described in the EA is to:

  • provide improved public transit infrastructure and service in the Region’s primary east-west corridor and western north-south corridor capable of producing significant increases in transit ridership both within the corridor and across the network and regional boundary
  • integrate public transit facilities in a manner that improves and enriches streetscapes with new amenities to support the Region’s goals for higher density mixed-use transit-oriented development along the corridor in accordance with approved official plans

Description of the undertaking

The proposed undertaking consists of a 41 kilometre two-lane median transitway on the preferred alignment generally in the Highway 7 Corridor between Highway 50 and the Markham By-Pass through the City of Vaughan, Town of Richmond Hill, and Town of Markham.

The proposed undertaking also includes a median transitway in the Vaughan North-South Link between Highway 7 and York University, with eventual replacement of this transitway with an extension of the Spadina Subway from Steeles Avenue at York University to Highway 7. The proposed transitway will be designed to accommodate both bus and light rail transit vehicle technologies. The proposed undertaking includes stations generally located at major intersections, and a proposed road widening along Highway 7 between Woodbine Avenue and Sciberras Road. The Region is requesting EAA approval to design, construct and implement the proposed undertaking.

Terms of reference

York Region has had the greatest proportional increase in population and employment amongst the four suburban regions of the Greater Toronto Area over the past 10 years. By 2021, York Region’s population is forecast to increase from the current 0.8 million residents to 1.2 million, while employment is estimated to increase from the existing 385,000 jobs to 655,000 by 2021. This population and employment growth will generate a proportional increase in travel demand.

York Region’s Official Plan places a strong emphasis on significantly increasing public transit use to accommodate future transportation needs and support the Plan’s vision of sustaining the natural environment, optimizing economic vitality and ensuring healthy communities. The Region’s 2002 Transportation Master Plan has reaffirmed the need for a significant increase in public transit use to achieve a balanced transportation system.

Premised on the findings of the Transportation Master Plan, the Region in 2001 initiated a Need and Justification study to assess the need for public transit improvements in the Highway 7 Corridor and Vaughan N-S Link. This study enabled York Region to prepare a focused Terms of Reference (ToR) under section 6(2)(c) of the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA). The ToR was approved in June 2003.

Due to a change in legal requirements under the EAA, the Region decided to broaden the scope of its environmental assessment study and submit a new Terms of Reference for approval under section 6(2)(a) of the EAA. The new ToR includes both the rationale and an updated assessment of alternatives to public transit. Study findings and previous input received where it remains relevant are being assembled and addressed for incorporation into the new study process.

Study area

The proposed EA study area for the Public Transit Improvements in the Highway 7 Corridor is generally located along the Highway 7 Corridor within the Regional Municipality of York and is bounded by the York-Peel boundary (Highway 50) to the west and the York-Durham boundary (York-Durham Line) to the east. Public Transit Improvements in the Vaughan North-South Link Corridor (from the Jane Street and Highway 7 area to Steeles Avenue and York University) are also included in this study.