Sunday, July 4, 2010

Making a Subway Map VII

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

I grabbed a day off on Thursday that got me several extra hours to work on the diagram. Jamaica's done, and New Jersey is done, so that takes care of all the transit lines. Woo! I've got the mainline railroads, and then several cleanup steps that I'll be telling you about.

First: ouch. While I was running at Wednesday dawn I noticed around mile 2.5 that my left heel was hurting a little. I kept going anyway to finish 3 miles. Once I get into the zone I really don't feel like stopping. It takes a little effort not to run. Maybe it's a primitive brain thing. The legs just keep going. Of course sometimes I have to stop. A shoelace goes untied, or I have to let a car pass at an intersection. But I don't want to. Anyway the heel didn't hurt much.

I went to work. There's an eight-tenths mile walk to the station, various stairways, and standing up on the subway— my choice, usually, to help make up for sitting down most of my workday. The heel hurt a little but not bad. It didn't hurt at all when I was sitting and keeping weight off it. But it was worse when I walked to get lunch, and even worse than that when I walked to the house. Hm. Maybe skip the run tomorrow.

Thursday morning: no go. Now it really hurt. I could have worked from home, but I've got a lot of days off coming, and no meetings that day. So I did a few hours on the diagram and a few hours on another project. I was on my feet as little as possible.

Friday: better. I went to work. It hurt but not so much. Good.

Saturday: almost better. The heel only hurt a little. So I ran. No additional pain. I even thought the heel was feeling better when I got it warmed up. Stupid. I came back at 05:30, flopped on the Couch of Sleep, woke up again at 07:30. Stood up. AAAAAARRGGH. Much worse than Thursday.

I want something that hurts when I injure it, not hours later. Isn't that how it should work?

I have spent this weekend walking slowly and not often. Oy.

There. That was very bloggy, wasn't it? OK, enough of that.

Let's see. Last time I had just started thinking about Jamaica, and I had some half baked idea about sending the Queens Boulevard line into a diagonal, to reduce how far it went to the right. It turned out that didn't quite work.

Here's the sketch, and a partly finished version of it as of late morning Thursday.

It was looking a little crowded to me. I had started pushing the subways to the right in the diagram above, to fit in names. The Broadway El (brown line, bottom) looked squeezed too.

I kept the version above, and then re-drew the diagram, straightening out the Queens Boulevard line, and letting it go farther to the right. I wasn't sure which way I was going to go, but I needed to see both versions to decide.

The first stage re-draw, which I'm sorry I did not keep for you, bent after 71st Ave station. I used the bend to separate the blue and orange lines nicely. This version still had problems, mostly related to the 90 degree bend in the orange line at Jamaica. The station names have to be on the inside of that bend, because the names of the blue and brown also have to be on the inside, because of the railroad. And many of the stations have long names.

This one below is the alternate after some further fiddling around. This is dated an hour and a half later than the one just above.

I liked this better. I think it's easier to read, and way lines come together at Jamaica station looks good too. It also happens to be more like the old diagram. Maybe I went through this same process last time. I don't remember. Anyway I abandoned the previous version and continued from this one.

As I was doing this I made a change back at Long Island City. I mentioned last time the small alignment problem with the 63rd St tunnel line. It's the orange line coming in left center in the excerpts below. Because of the grey railroad right below it, I had the blue line turn to run over the orange, as you see in the first image here.

The alternative, as I mentioned, was to put a little reverse curve into the orange, but I didn't like it. I had forgotten that way over to the right, past 71st Ave station (see above), I needed these blue and orange lines to separate to express and local and then separate to different branches. If the blue line crossed the orange near Queens Plaza, it would have to cross it again somewhere past 71st Ave. I'd rather leave it on one side than have it cross twice. So I put in the reverse curve after all, Thursday morning. Middle image below.

Then I didn't like that either. Too many curves. On the right, I put the orange and blue express parallel to the yellow and orange local. Isn't that easier to read? What trouble I make for myself.

I stopped around here on Thursday, and picked it up again Saturday. And wah la, here it is after a productive Saturday morning.

Yes, the Rockaway Line and the JFK Airtrain too. Done done done.

Geometry. The Rockaway Line, if continued upward, would cross the Broadway El at the right place (as it once did). Notice the parallelism of the Lefferts Blvd and 121st St stations and their equal distance from the railroad between them. The Airtrain has a nice convergence with the blue subway near Jamaica (deliberately not precisely lined up) and a nice convergence with itself at Federal Circle. The subway and railroad at Far Rockaway are lined up to suggest that they used to run through.

Then I changed one more thing. As I was working on New Jersey, I thought Newark Penn Station and Jamaica should get the big grey box like Grand Central, Penn Station, Atlantic Terminal, and Hoboken. The grey box shows that there are a lot of tracks and platforms, and Newark Penn and Jamaica are terminals for some trains and major change points. I made it so. There was some minor shifting of railroads to the right.

Here it is, and this time you can see it at 200% scale.

I don't want anyone to take the grey lines too literally but check this. I have accurately shown the Atlantic Branch (from bottom left) as running to the middle of Jamaica station and then diverging to the first branch to the lower right and to the main line. For historical reasons I have the Montauk Branch (center left, crossing near 121st st station) running to the south side of Jamaica station and then curving to the other branch to south shore points. Does anyone get this stuff unless I mention it?

That's enough for now. I will discuss New Jersey next time. Here's the whole map.

It's going to be really really hot this coming week, and the room where I work on this is not air conditioned. I probably won't do much on the diagram. I can still write about New Jersey and some general issues I've been thinking about.

I might even skip a week and write about something else. I have a story idea. See what happens.

Continued: Making a Subway Map VIII.