Neighbourhood Maps Return! Riders Still Somewhat Mystified.

Last September, I reported on the travesty of new “area maps” for the streets around subway stations.  They were so hopelessly inaccurate that an excellent Toronto trivia contest could have been held to spot all of the errors.  In very short order, they vanished.  (It’s amazing how quickly the TTC can move when it’s embarrassed.)

Joe Clark reports that a new area map has just appeared at Christie Station and has posted photos on Flickr.

Have a look.  What is missing?  The TTC routes serving the area!  There’s a nice green line showing the subway, and the stations are marked, but no surface routes.  Yes, riders can look at the big map right next-door to see the local routes, but it wouldn’t hurt to have them on the area maps too.

Also missing-in-action is the alternate entrance at Bathurst/Markham.

The next question for trivia seekers is this:  will the TTC replace the even older generation of local maps which can be found in selected locations around the system?  These missed the first wave of really inaccurate updates, and were not removed in the great purge.  Does the TTC even know they exist, and will they update them with brand new maps?

18 thoughts on “Neighbourhood Maps Return! Riders Still Somewhat Mystified.

  1. The photo of the Christie map, and the talk of the second exits at Donlands and Greenwood have prompted me to ask this question.

    Q: Do there exist, accessible to the public, maps of each of the subway stations and their underground footprint vis à vis the land they are situated under? What I mean is something that shows where the entire platform is under its surroundings. Much like is shown here. It is something I have been curious about.

    Steve: The information exists in the City’s land databases which also include utilities and buildings, but I am not sure how generally available this information is. Needless to say, there are security issues regarding complete maps of public infrastructure. Similarly, there are buildings which have an important public or corporate purpose that are either unlabelled, or have some innocuous name on them. Only if you know what they are do you have any idea of what is inside.


  2. Ever since area maps were first posted they have NEVER been accurate. You really have to be a special kind of person to get it wrong each and every time.


  3. It’s at the point where they should just let enthusiasts from among the public make the maps. They’ll be more accurate and more timely.


  4. Tim — yes, you can find those blueprints/drawings at the Toronto Archives. They’re from the late 50s but they’ll show you the box structures relative to the streets above

    If you’re wondering about Christie, the station box structure extends to just west of Christie and just east of Clinton. Putting a 2nd exit at Christie will be difficult because it will block the parking lot behind the station (which used to be a parkette in the 70s). On the east side of Clinton, new townhouses were built directly over the subway ROW. If I were them, I think I’d sell now, because that’s where Christie’s second exit will most likely go. They can’t put it on Manning Av.

    They missed the Markham St. automatic entrance? That’s because nobody uses it.


  5. What’s the matter with the Markham street entrance? I go through Bathurst Station daily to get to Exhibition Place where I work and have not noticed anything out of the ordinary about it.


  6. If you’re gonna make a good map, at least try to copy from the best. The MTR subway location maps are probably one of the best I’ve seen. They are informative, easy to read, and shows you all entrances and exits (alphanumerically). The only bad thing is that North is not always aligned to the top of the screen. And these maps are more complex than any TTC station map given the density of the area. Why can’t the TTC ever do things right the first time?

    Here is a sample for proof of concept.


  7. @M. Briganti:
    Just west of Christie is Christie Pits park. I think the west side of Christie would be an excellent location for a second exit.


  8. @ M Briganti

    Just because YOU don’t use a particular exit/entrance doesn’t mean no one else does. I use that thing about 3 days a week, minimum. And every time I do, I see a) a line up people waiting to use the token machine, and b) people using the exits as well.

    Snide attitudes like that are what can derail – oh, I slay myself – a debate on public transit.


  9. So this is what we get when Adam Giambrone personally looks over maps before they’re put into place?

    How can this blatant and continued incompetence continue to go unpunished? (Don’t answer that, please.)

    The TTC obviously

    (1) Bought the cheapest maps possible, one that looks like it was intended for on-screen display (“Palm erston Sq”, really?)
    (2) Sprayed random names and labels everywhere, with no meaningful attempt to distinguish street labels from attractions,
    (3) Give no indication of which streets are major and which are minor
    (4) Didn’t show any surface routes
    (5) Didn’t rotate it so that the street grid was facing up

    That’s what I noticed in about two minutes of looking at one photo, and I know nothing about either graphic design or wayfinding.

    Steve: This has the feeling of “holy crap, we haven’t done anything with this for over half a year, quick, do something now” written all over it. So far, there’s no map at Broadview for me to review in detail. At least the notices of subway diversions are gone, if not the glue that stuck them to the walls.


  10. Steve said: “At least the notices of subway diversions are gone, if not the glue that stuck them to the walls.”
    You mean they’ve also finally gotten rid of all those notices about construction diversions for the Bloor-Danforth streetcars as well? Good. I bet Luttrell Loop looks really nice now.


  11. As for the omission of surface routes, I suspect this is intentional. Many of the old maps had long defunct surface routes on them (e.g. Spadina bus).

    Steve: The idea of informational maps is to convey information. Surface routes don’t change that often, and if the TTC treated this sort of thing as regular maintenance rather than one-time projects, they would update all signage in a station whenever they changed the surface network nearby. It’s not like the old days where someone had to actually draw maps and hand-print signs — the images are electronic.


  12. I think that if the TTC really does want decent maps, why not contract out the maps to someone like MapArt who already have extensive maps of the city, wouldn’t be hard for an outfit like that to make a TTC overlay. Route changes would mean only changing the overlay, then putting it over a new map of the city, print a fresh one for each station every year or two. One thing it really requires though, put a date on the map. So that the user can tell how old it is. If the map is 11 months old and there are a bunch of route changes up, then the user can gauge how accurate the map is.


  13. When were the previous area maps installed? The last one with the routes posted at Dundas West Station depicted the 40 Junction Bus as a continuation of the 505 Dundas Streetcar. That error was there for as long as I can remember. (I’ll give then the benefit of the doubt and assume this was a simple mistake and not a hold-over from the days when the Dundas Car went all the way to Runnymede. But given how long the map was up, who knows?)


  14. I think the real issue here is what this says about TTC quality control as a whole.

    Occasional lapses can happen even in the best-run organizations; but normally, when they do, the management is embarrassed and chastened, and works hard to make damn sure they aren’t repeated.

    In the TTC’s case however, this is at least the third time in recent years that they have had exactly the same problem – i.e. produced maps that are pathetic failures – and yet management still won’t make the minimal effort required to fix the problem.

    Given that degree of laziness and incompetence, why should we have any faith that the TTC is making an honest effort to solve some of the more intractable problems which seriously affect the level of service, and value for money, which the TTC provides?


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