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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Baltimore RER Line 1 Strip Map

baltimore rer line 1 strip map

Hopefully unaffected by any lapse in federal funding.

This is a thing based off that Baltimore RER crayon map I did a long time ago, which I wanted to update for a long time because (a) the crayon I have in mind for the Baltimore-Washington area looks substantially different now and (b) the design language I used for the original maps still holds up really well.

(It is interesting how the format distorts the system being mapped, though. The Bel Air branch runs northeast from Baltimore but the way it joins up with the mainline means it looks like it goes vaguely west.)

The system as I currently envision it has four lines; I don’t really plan on doing similar maps for the others just yet, let alone a full map of the region, but I won’t say it’ll never happen.

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Hankyu Takarazuka Line Strip Map

hankyu takarazuka main line strip map

…and that’s what I did on my Thanksgiving long weekend.

Well, I mean, the series would be incomplete if I hadn’t done this one, too.

These are fun. Might do another one with a different system at some point.

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Hankyu Kobe Line Strip Map

hankyu kobe main line strip map


A companion map for the last thing. Not really a whole lot to say beyond that.

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Hankyu Kyoto Line Strip Map

hankyu kyoto main line strip map

Always the summers are slipping away…

A quick one I ripped out over the weekend.

I don’t plan on redoing the big Osaka map from three years ago anytime soon, largely because I firmly believe I could live a long, full, happy life if I never did a Big Map ever again, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped thinking about it altogether.

Hence, a strip map for the Hankyu Kyoto Line, which I picked because it interchanges with quite a few other systems in the Kansai region (and it holds particular nostalgic value for me because I spent a lot of time on it the first time I visited Japan back in 2010). Also the area has quite a few railway networks with redundant station numbering systems (there are, for instance, “K” lines on the JR West urban network, the Osaka Metro, the Kyoto Subway, the Kobe Subway, and the Kintetsu Railway) and I needed a way to differentiate between them, and using the railroad’s logo seemed like an interesting way to do that.

A hobbyhorse of mine is numbering all the different services that operate on Japanese commuter rail lines, because if you can make sense of that impenetrable system of semi-expresses and expresses and rapids and whatnot you’re a smarter person than I. It’s a work-in-progress still, but hopefully it’ll come together into something that makes sense.

One could, theoretically, do a strip map like this for the entire Hankyu-Nose railway network, but it’d be unwieldy and only worth it for the novelty and guess what I don’t have the brainpower to do right now.

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Ottawa-Gatineau Rapid Transit

ottawa rail map

Whaddaya think?

A crayon map for Canada’s capital. Notes:

  • The route of the Confederation Line here is not quite what’s actually getting built. It’s faithful to the actual route (albeit slightly extended) from the west up to Cleary station, whereupon it takes a slightly more southern route along Richmond Rd and Wellington Rd until it hits Bayview. (The meatspace route is during this time is followed by the Macdonald Line.) The Confederation Line deviates again east of Montréal Gloucester, where it follows St Joseph Blvd through Orléans while the Gréber Line takes over the actual route on the Queensway.
  • I switched the Trillium Line over to the suburban rail network because it uses suburban rail rolling stock and better justifies my running a parallel LRT line along Bank Street…where it probably should have gone to begin with.
  • Most of the more explicitly crayon-ey aspects of the O-Train network (the Gatineau and River Lines and the extensions to the Confederation Line) are just existing Transitway and Rapibus lines converted to light rail…which was frustrating when the Tranitway parallels an infinitely better north-south or east-west alignment (cf., again, Bank Street).
  • The design language is ganked from the Barcelona Metro…and is the sort of thing which, as I’ve learned, lends itself well to messiness. Uh oh.
  • Thanks to Richard Archambault for help with the French!
  • My kingdom for a translucent holographic SVG layer. 😉

I’m not sure when I’m gonna do another map poll, because this one was a pain to draw and I’m gonna be busy till the end of the year, but hopefully there’ll be another one in the next few months.

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