Sunday, June 20, 2010

Making a Subway Map V

[ I started writing about the new version of my subway map in progress here in Making a Subway Map I in May. ]

This week I worked on north Brooklyn, and I even made a start on Long Island City.

I got stuck for a few days at East New York. This is a problem area where three lines cross. Whatever solution I adopted would affect the diagram for some distance around it.

Here are some old variations. When I started the diagram, the three stations had three different names for the station at the crossing: Broadway Junction, Eastern Parkway, and Broadway - East New York. That made it even harder, since I had to allow space for three names.

That's October 1998, November 2001, and March 2009. As you can see, all three stations are now called Broadway Junction. That helps.

You'll notice the dip I added to the Broadway El (brown) line, and the straightening of the Eastern District line (grey). I think that was to bring the three stations closer together. There's still extra space along the brown line between Chauncey St and Eastern Parkway / Broadway Junction, solely to let me get the name in. For the same reason the distance between the Broadway Junction and Atlantic Ave stations on the grey line is a little more than I'd like, since they are really very close.

Here's what I started with. It's something like March 2009. The grey line comes down vertically, but the dip and the extra space in the brown line is eliminated.

This wasn't right though. The name on the brown line for Alabama Ave is really crowded, and it's not clear what the name of the blue line station is at Broadway Junction.

I had to think about this for a while. The solution came to me while I was out running. I used to think about story ideas while I was walking or running, and now I was thinking about graphic problems.

The key idea was to turn the grey line to a diagonal across the junction. This happens to be what it really does, but I was doing it because it makes the diagram work better.

However it had implications that carried all the way to downtown Brooklyn. The blue line and the railroad had to shift down and to the right. That forced Atlantic Terminal to be horizontal instead of diagonal, and the red and green lines would also be moved around, and so would the black line. There are a lot of changes here!

I like how the light green and dark blue lines now separate symmetrically (lower left of this image). And now there is equal spacing between light green, blue, and red-green. The whole thing is more pleasing in many small ways.

Once again, the new version is slightly larger than the old. The outer ends of the grey and red lines are farther out. The general trend here is to give the outer sections a little more space, to resolve some crowding and what I considered lack of clarity. I made only small changes to Manhattan, but I've been stuck a few times now on fixing things in the other boroughs.

The worst is coming. I'll show you the very unfinished solution to the mess of lines in Long Island City. The amount of branching and merging here, in the real system, is ridiculous.

What I have so far is better than the old diagram, and yet it's got some serious problems. I'm posting this to show you what can happen.

I have tried to open up enough space to clarify things and to get the station names in. I am happy with some of this.

It shows much more clearly how the express and local tracks on Queens Boulevard connect to Manhattan (the yellow, orange, and blue lines around Queens Plaza station). There really is a separate path for the local trains from 36th St to Northern Blvd, but I never showed it before. It's there now as a device to clarify the routings. I think the names for 36th St and Steinway St look crowded, but that might be all right.

The purple line might look crazy but it really does bend around like what you see here.

I set up the light green line so that if it ever does run beyond Court Square again to Queens Plaza, I have a chance of adding the line for it.

But I don't know what to do to the right of Queens Plaza. The location of the purple line at lower right makes the most sense, but it would cross the Queens Boulevard line too far to the right. You can see some test lines there that push it up and left. Wait and see how I will fix this. I don't know yet myself.

Continued: Making a Subway Map VI.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - you are having a serious hobby there...

    I enjoyed reading about your progress and although I'm not even close to New York (I'm a Dane living in Denmark) I learned something from all your work.

    Now, what made you start all this in the beginning? How does the official operator(s) respond to your work? What about the New-Yorkers?

    Anyways - keep it up....

    Thomas - Denmark