Updated September 21 at 3:25 pm: According to Spacing’s contributing editor Steve Munro, the TTC has announced that it will be reviewing, correcting and replacing the new maps. I do not know the details of basic design issues such as a clear identification of entrance locations and inclusion of surface routes, but I hope to get more info as the week goes on.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
If you commute regularly on the TTC subway, you might have noticed the new “station and vicinity” maps that have been placed in the large information panels. I wrote late last year about the badly out-of-date maps the TTC had previously used, specifically highlighting a map in a recent renovation of Spadina Station that still had marked the route 77 Spadina Bus route (which was discontinued with the opening of the new Spadina Streetcar route in 1997).
Well, the TTC has finally began replacing the maps with new editions. Unfortunately, after having a closer look at two stations, St. Andrew and Wilson, these new maps aren’t exactly up to snuff. For one thing, the gray, beige and white colour scheme (with the occasional green or blue) is not aesthetically pleasing.
In the above image — in St. Andrew Station — many things have been brought up to date. The recent renaming of BCE Place to Brookfield Place is reflected, as is the new opera house at Queen and University. Most of the major nearby office towers are illustrated, but strangely enough, so are the locations of Rogers Plus stores.
But some obvious features are missing. St. Andrew is one of the closest stations to the sports venue formerly known as SkyDome, yet that facility, under its old or new name is not shown on the map, nor is the GO Transit bus terminal on “The Esplanade” between Bay and Yonge. Also missing is Simcoe Street’s new extension which finally opened under the railway corridor. Other nearby attractions, such as the large movie complex at Richmond and John (an easy walk from St. Andrew), and the Much Music building at Queen and John are also missing. The legend also includes a wheelchair symbol to indicate accessible subway entrances. While St. Andrew is not an accessible station, the southeast entrance of nearby Osgoode Station has an elevator for disabled patrons, and nearby Union and Queen Stations are also accessible, these important features are not shown on this map.
But most importantly, the connecting surface bus routes are nowhere to be seen, which I think is one of the most vital pieces of information needed to both commuters and visitors. The old maps showed not only lines for the bus and streetcar routes, but also the locations of where they stopped. Neither are shown on these new maps.
I was excited when I heard that the TTC was going to replace their sometimes way outdated station area maps, but these new replacements are sadly disappointing. I am hopeful that the TTC takes this advice when they do the next versions of the maps.
Meanwhile, I present a small selection of maps that other major transit agencies have developed for similar purposes:
Montreal – Bonaventure Station [PDF]
Hong Kong – Mong Kok Station [PDF]
Los Angeles – 7th-Metro Center Station [PDF]
Wilson Station map, no mention of large commerical “big box” centre to the west, nor even the location of the overbuilt, double-deck bus terminal beside it next to the passenger pick-up area. A commenter below picked up on the fact that Faywood Blvd. is marked incorrectly as “Ansford Ave.”, the road the 104 buses use to cut over to go north onto Faywood.