Sacramento Crayon Map

sacramento crayon with straight d line


[Housekeeping: I spent most of October writing a big ugly piece about the Nostalgia Critic and his review of The Wall because it irritated me just that much. Please read and validate my suffering. First part is here, there’s a link to the next part at the bottom.]

Here’s crayon of the old, surprisingly extensive interurban system that used to radiate out of Sacramento. More geographically accurate in the center around Sac itself, deliberately compressed and distorted up toward Chico and down toward SF and the Central Valley. This is probably one of the most distorted transit maps of the Bay Area ever made (although a bunch of really old streetcar maps of Oakland (e.g.) do the same thing IIRC, so it’s not like there isn’t precedent).

Given how the upper and lower portions of the map still manage (I think) to be legible even though the stations are spaced very closely together, this one’s made me seriously think about how I use space in my maps and what I can do to use space more efficiently.

Should probably also note that interurban flag stops don’t necessarily carry a negative low-ridership connotation with me because whenever I go to Philly I take the NHSL, whose entire route is flag stops, and that’s the sole reason it can legitimately call itself a high speed line.

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California HSR Strip Map

california hsr strip map

Gavin Newsom can bite me.

Hello. This is the first map I’ve managed to get done in a while that wasn’t stillborn. Mea culpa.

This is a crayoney strip map of the California HSR project. We might see the central spine completed before climate change fries the Central Valley, but I’m not holding my breath. The interchange info comes from a ton of crayon maps that exist only in computer and Google Earth sketches.

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Philadelphia Subway Crayon

philadelphia subway

Something something Rocky’s house from here.

Goodness. I speculate I’ll be gone for two months and then I post two maps in two weeks. Anyway, here’s crayon of the Philly subway, a network which always seemed infuriatingly half-finished for some reason. This is based off the old A Merritt Taylor long-term rapid transit plan from 1913, but which the loops removed and what’s left tweaked to facilitate crosstown service because loops are dumb and grids are good. Also the Ridge Spur was folded into the Chestnut Hill trunk lines because the Ridge Spur is dumb too.

Pretty much the only viable parts of this thing here are the BSL extensions to Roosevelt Boulevard—although probably not to the point of completely absorbing that fancy Frankford-Neshaminy bus service—and maybe the Navy Yard. We can talk about converting the Chestnut Hill lines to rapid transit once they get rapid transit level frequencies.

Oh yes: the new frequency map SEPTA’s rolling out now looks pretty good. Some of the curves, especially the more sweeping ones, look kind of funny, but it’s still substantially better than the map they’ve been using.

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St Petersburg Metro, Soviet Style

st petersburg metro soviet style

I have a friend in Minsk, who has a friend in Pinsk, whose friend in Omsk has friend in Tomsk has friend in Akmolinsk…

Felt like doing something in the style of that really neat 1980 Moscow Metro map where all the lines are ramrod-straight, so why not see what happens with Russia’s other really complex metro system? Fun fact, the lines on the Moscow map form a star in the middle, yada yada communist symbolism. This one I think just looks cool.

Not super into the angled station labels on the M4 but the design language is unforgiving toward horizonal route lines so here we are. Oh well.

And yes, it’s in English. Pretend there’s a transliteration convention at work or something.

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Baltimore Metro, Again

baltimore metro map 2

I’m afraid he’s not, Mrs. Fishpaw. Dexter’s truancy problem is *way* out of hand!

I cannot articulate in enough detail precisely how badly Baltimore screwed up building its Metro/LRT system. The original plan from the 1960s is incredible. We can quibble about some of the details, but it had good bones and would have made getting around the city without a car substantially easier. Instead we have:

  • An underutilized Metro line shuttling between Downtown and Owings Mills that sorely needs expansion and integration if it wants to be actually useful, but (1) the extension to Johns Hopkins Hospital put the kibosh on any extension that doesn’t go northeast and give the line a wide U-shape that is decidedly not good, and (2) the ridership numbers for any northeast expansion doesn’t seem to pencil.
  • A light rail line that runs along a very strong north-south corridor but skirts or outright avoids pretty much everywhere worth going to in that corridor; e.g. Towson, JHU, Penn Station (which got a piddly shuttle for its troubles), the Inner Harbor, and Federal Hill, but is just close enough to the ideal alignment that fixing it wouldn’t be worth it.
  • On top of all the usual crap you encounter in a master-planed US rapid transit system w/r/t terrible headways and overreliance on enormous park-and-ride lots.

This is a salvage job in part meant to correct as many of these errors as possible. Notes:

  • The skeleton of this thing is based off the Baltimore RER map I did four years (!) ago.
  • The A line is the Metro Subway (what a name) plus a possible alignment for the Green Line (I’ve not seen one yet that’s good, but this one at least is straight, right along US-1). The E line is more or less the Red Line with a few twists and turns changed around on the east side. The F is original, running on Charles Street in town, York Road in the north, and Hanover Street and MD-2 in the south (the commercial strip between Brooklyn and Glen Burnie is appealing). Together they’re a bastardized version of the original 1960s plan. Not ideal, but better than what’s there now.
  • The 101 and 102 are the WB&A interurban to Washington and Annapolis, whose alignment the light rail took over. The 103 is the laughable Yellow Line, with its bizarre hook-shaped route and reverse branching with the existing light rail in the city center. Most stops along the interurban are flag stops because that’s the way it is on the Norristown High-Speed Line west of Philly, and this intermittent user of the NHSL thinks that’s a really good idea given the stop density.
  • The B/C/D, the single least justifiable part of this thing, are basically the old N line in the first map. It’s basically a complicated shuttle service for cruise ship passengers, people alighting from Eastern Shore ferry services at Tide Point, and industrial workers at Wagners and Hawkins Points. Together with the 101/102/103 they run along Howard Street where the light rail is, only along a grade-separated alignment, because having all those new light rail systems run on a dedicated ROW in the suburbs but on-street in the city center was a very, very stupid idea.
  • So that’s, what, six services running like 48 tph all together in a four-track express-local configuration (only way to not have lousy headways) on a crap alignment west of downtown whose main utility is in connecting the city’s three regional/intercity rail terminals (and, occasionally, the airport). Nice.
  • The people mover is there so the 103 can run to Columbia without reversing in and out awkwardly at BWI.
  • Had to play fast and loose with Baltimore City’s municipal borders at the southeast corner because otherwise it’d look more awkward down there than it already does.

See you in like two months.

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SF/NorCal Crayon Updated Sketch

sf bay area map new service patterns

Here’s something that’s been brewing in my head for a long time (mostly thanks to the Greater Marin’s critique but also thanks to some recent developments in official crayon of the area): what would be the service patterns on my old 2016 San Francisco Bay Area crayon map if the North Bay lines were more…integrated to the wider network? So, because I’m unlikely to redraw that map anytime soon, here’s a sketch of what I tentatively came up with. Notes, with the full knowledge that this will seem very inside-baseball to anyone not familiar with the original 2016 map:

  • Two of the three lines from Vallejo (31, 32, 33) run down the East Bay because I dimly recall something about that being where most commuters from Vallejo work.
  • Of the four lines on the SMART corridor (41 through 44), only the long-distance one (44) runs over a new Richmond-San Rafael bridge for several reasons: (1) Sending lines 41 and 42 over the bridge constitutes a substantial detour for anyone using them to get to SF, and they’re honestly unrealistic enough as it is, (2) I like to pretend that local service (e.g. line 43) between San Rafael and Tiburon a la the old Marin interurbans pencils in some small capacity in this world, and (3) the stretch of track between Richmond and Oakland is stuffed enough as it is (eight services now instead of four previously). The idea for train tracks on the 580 bridge comes mainly from Matthew Lewis and Brian Stokle.
  • That said, I did send the RE26 regional line, which previously stopped at the Sausalito ferry terminal, over the bridge to Richmond and Oakland, so it wasn’t isolated from the rest of the state regional network anymore.
  • This isn’t shown here, but the BART C line, which on the 2016 map ran to Vista del Mar on SF’s oceanfront, now runs over the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin, where it runs as an express service complementing the interurbans (lines 51 through 53) to San Rafael and Novato, like on the old 1960s BART maps. The Geary subway that exists in my head is now four-track, with BART running express on the inner tracks that branches off to the Presidio and Marin, and Muni running local on the outer tracks that run to Vista del Mar. I’ve got a whole separate map brewing of a citywide Muni subway network, but God only knows when I’ll get to it.
  • Line 24 (the ACE corridor) has been extended to Sacramento and given a complementary service, line 27, that runs to Merced, reflecting the current twinkle-in-pols’-eye expansion plans for the ACE network, as shown on CalUrbanist’s Bay Area 2030 map. (The Valley Link in this world really would be a BART extension to Livermore hooking up with lines 13, 24, and 27, if only because a three-seat ride from Stockton to SF via BART is ridiculous.)
  • As lines 11 through 14 were absorbed by various North Bay services, the remaining SF Peninsula lines, 15 through 17, were renumbered 11 through 13 and otherwise left unchanged. I’m seriously considering hooking them up with lines 41 through 43 at Tiburon via an underwater tunnel. I only balk because that tunnel would be roughly twice the length of the Transbay Tube…but oh, the idea of a one-seat ride from Marin to Santa Cruz through downtown SF is so very appealing.

Just a thought, till the day when it’s no longer a thought and becomes instead an actual map, whenever that would be.

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Amsterdam Metro Map

amsterdam metro

Beware of falling Zwarte Piets.

Here’s a map of the Amsterdam Metro, released when all of us transit map people were seized with an urge to draw the Amsterdam Metro. I genuinely dislike mapping the Amsterdam Metro. Here’s why:

  • Thanks to only ever being half-finished because of a stupid decision to tie Metro construction to an urban renewal project that would have bulldozed half the city, the Amsterdam Metro is structured oddly, with one half of the network set at a diagonal to the other half. This means it looks like two networks poorly stitched together.
  • The mainline rail network around Amsterdam looks like a partially collapsed square, and any attempt to give the map some structure necessarily involves propping up the square’s eastern half with plywood and staples. This is a lot of fun when 75% of the Metro network runs parallel to the railroad.
  • It genuinely feels like Lines 50, 51, 53, and 54 should meet at a nice neat plus-intersection around Van der Madeweg and Duivendrecht stations, but they don’t, and that means the unwary mapmaker has to throw in a few kinks and jogs to make sure everything lines up the way they do in real life.
  • The main restriction I imposed on myself was to try and be as accurate as possible to the way I perceived the Metro network spatially. This primarily meant 90-degree angles on the western half of Line 50, no curves at all between Nieuwmarkt and Spaklerweg, and a Line 52 that ran straight up and down (guess which line opened after my visit). This, too, wreaked organizational havoc, because that meant I couldn’t indulge my natural inclination to make the Line 51/53/54 trunk follow the railway all the way to Centraal.

The point is the Amsterdam Metro is a very simple network that is a literal pain to draw a good map of. This was the best I could do, take it for what it’s worth.

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