Flutterby™! : The way is not clear

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The way is not clear

2010-03-05 14:48:27.333109+00 by petronius 5 comments

Slate is doing an interesting series on signs that direct people from one place to another. One discusses London's attempt to do for walking maps what the famous 1933 Underground Map did for transit systems. This installment deals with the bad signage at and around New York's Penn Station. One element is a slide show of how you would find your way (or not) from the subway to the Amtrack platforms, and how a workable system breaks down with the lack of one sign. I remember being in London many years ago, and how impressed I was with a system where every point where you could change directions had a sign explaining the consequences. (go left and you can get to Baker Street, go right and you can get to Oxford Circus)

The London installment also makes an interesting point: watch the actual users. The Legible London set up prototype maps of how to walk to various places, but the designers left out the index to create a cleaner look. But the pedestrians couldn't take time to scan the entire map looking for just one spot, so they gave up.

[ related topics: Invention and Design Maps and Mapping New York Public Transportation ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-09 19:42:23.580769+00 by: Dan Lyke

I was trying to get *out*!

#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-09 16:21:18.595918+00 by: other_todd

Remember, Dan, in Boston we disdain clear signage, because if you need to know where you are, you don't belong here.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-07 02:23:11.183977+00 by: Dan Lyke

Remembering the recently departed Brad L. Graham, I'm not sure a "St. Louis stay straight" could possibly have been correct...

#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-06 20:32:48.766474+00 by: petronius

If you drive down Interstate 55 from Chicago to St. Louis, as you get closer to the Mississippi you come to a major junction where you can turn north to Alton, IL, or south to other places in Illinois. However, the one city name not on the cluster of signs is St. Louis. Yet if you stay straight you will end up smack in downtown, just blocks from the Gateway arch. Many people need to know about Alton, but most of the people on this road are going to St. Louis. I have never understood why a "St. Louis Stay Straight" sign isn't put up to reassure first timers they haven't gone astray amongst the cornfields.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-06 17:44:50.146056+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oooh! Cool article. Having recently (Tuesday) driven through Boston's "Big Dig", and having spent some time without an in-car GPS device (bought one Wednesday morning when I was buying replacement bulbs, because it was on-sale and because tranquility in the car was greatly improved by a third party voice which, in dulcet tones, said "turn around as soon as possible"), the signage issue is close to the fore.