The May 2008 version of the subway map.
A brief update of an article first posted here in June: New subway maps dated September 2008 have just been spotted. The latest version is a return to the previous design, with easier-to-read text, and the return of the old station address scheme, where addresses represent the nearest street address on Yonge, University, Bloor and Danforth. The last version, with the sometimes useless (and in at two stations – Castle Frank and St. Andrew, incorrect) station addresses, may eventually become an amusing collector’s item.
Kudos to the TTC for bringing back the map that works.
The original post, dated June 26, 2008, is below.
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The TTC has just begun installing a new 2008 edition of its subway network maps in subway cars. While there has been no expansion of the actual subway since the Sheppard Line opened, the TTC usually updates its subway maps every year or two. Map updates include information on station accessibility, whether paper transfers are required on connecting routes, and the locations of parking and washrooms.
The 2008 map updates are working their way through the system, though there has been very little change to station accessibility since the 2007 issue. In fact, apart from minor changes, the current map scheme, with white station names and circles has remained essentially the same since the opening of the Sheppard Subway in 2002. But the new maps differ considerably from their recent predecessors.
Laurence at 299 bloor call control was the first blogger (as far as I know) to comment on these new maps, and his analysis is spot on. The relatively readable faux-Helvetica has been replaced with a less readable bold font that bleeds with the back-lit illumination.
Even worse, visual clutter is increased by the new addresses on the maps. The TTC did away with just displaying the approximate address numbers along Yonge, Bloor, Danforth and Sheppard (only printing the street name where the subway deviated form one of those four streets), and now has the precise municipal address for each station. Coxwell Station now has a Strathmore Boulevard address, instead of 1568 Danforth Avenue, and Rosedale is now at 7 Crescent Road instead of 1009 Yonge.
This new system is useless when looking for the closest station to an address on Bloor or Danforth. On Yonge, this is especially redundant, as not only are the stations already named for the cross streets, Yonge is also the origin point for addresses east and west of that street. So knowing that Dundas Station is actually at 3 Dundas Street East is not that helpful.
The TTC should go back to the drawing board and strive for a cleaner, less cluttered map.
On another note, while taking pictures of the official subway strip maps, I noticed an older ad for St. John’s Memorial University promoting its distance education program. It isn’t the first time a subway map has been used in this fashion – old Dominion ads in the subway had the map with the “D” symbols showing their stores near subway stop. My favourite was the recent maps in the Montreal Metro for a brand of gum promising extensions to Halifax, Toronto, New York and Miami.
Memorial uses a variation on the iconic subway network maps to make the point that you can access their service from anywhere. But intentionally or unintentionally, the map is a poor copy, including a strange jog to the south on the east end of the Bloor-Danforth Line and Downsview appearing to be farther north than Finch Station. Perhaps the irregularities are to help distinguish itself from the official map, but to the trained eye, look sloppy.