Transportation headlines, Wednesday, September 14

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

How the heck did we let this happen? Cleveland, then and now (NRDC Switchboard)

Check out this amazing “before and after” photo set that illustrates the damage that building for cars can do to a downtown district. Buildings one day, parking lots today.

Union Square portal to subway designed to blend in (SF Gate)

Here’s an interesting look into what goes into the process of designing a transit station. In this case, the challenge was threading a major station portal into a very busy public space without upsetting the prevailing feng shui — so to speak. I think the important point to take away is that every neighborhood is different, and so stations should be designed, where possible, in a manner that supports the existing community’s vision. San Francisco seems to have struck the right balance in this case.

Metro to consider station/facility name changes (Plus Metro Blog)

Blogger Jung Gatoona has a keen eye. He noticed an item on the Metro Board Executive Management Committee agenda that proposes a number of name changes to Metro Rail stations. Check out his blog to see which ones are being considered. For the record, any changes would require a two-thirds vote by the full Metro Board of Directors.

New York City chooses Alta for wide-ranging bike share (Transportation Nation)

Didn’t think public transportation could get any better in New York? The city’s Department of Transportation has pegged bike-share firm Alta to create a system for the city that would include 10,000 bikes at 600 stations spread from the “Upper West Side to Crown Heights, Brooklyn,” reports Andrea Bernstein. Alta is the company behind the successful programs in Washington D.C., Boston and Melbourne, Australia.

9 replies

  1. Same with London, transit is easy if you make station names more easy to remember.

    “Green Park” is much more recognizable than “intersection of Stratton and Piccadilly.” Both locals and tourists will know that “Green Park Station” is obviously, near Green Park.

    In contrast, only a local Angelino would know “Pico Station” is near Staples Center and the LA Convention Center. Why not make it easier by just naming the station “Staples Center/LA Live/Convention Center” instead?

    • Frank,

      I think you have a good point in that stations named after destinations can be helpful for finding important landmarks. That said, London and L.A. have fairly different geographies, so what’s appropriate in one isn’t necessarily applicable to the other. In particular I’m thinking about London’s street grid — or lack thereof — which would make a Stratton/Piccadilly-named station not very helpful for figuring out where you are. Conversely, L.A. is mostly a grid of long straight thoroughfares, so an intersection name can tell you a lot about where you are within the city, provided you know some basic parameters of the grid.

      From the looks of the list of proposed changes, it seems like Metro is trying to strike a balance between those two approaches.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Carter Rubin
      Contributor, The Source

  2. Some type of code system like they have in Japan is a terrible idea. We want tourist to use public transportation and by making the system that much harder is just not needed. I am fine with changing the station names etc just make sure it makes sense.

  3. I’m hoping the name “Little Tokyo” remains when the open air station gets replaced by the underground station on the Regional Connector.

    It’ll make even more sense than it does now when a subway station entrance opens up next to both Japanese Village Plaza and the Japanese American National Museum.

  4. my local station is Vermont/Sunset. I think it could be renamed Los Feliz/Griffith Park. They just started advertising on the subway call that its the exit for the Kaiser/Childrens Hospital, but they should push the Observatory Shuttle transfer.

    Hollywood/Western should be Thai Town. When you give it a name like that, it gives it a destination. Street intersections don’t conjure up an image of a destination.

  5. Ugh, they only added those coded numbers within the last few years and I wish they hadn’t. It just adds to the dehumanization of culture.

    What’s so hard about remembering actual place names, be they Akihabara, Roppongi or Harajuku?

  6. They should do like Tokyo where every station has a coded number on it as well as a station name:

    That way, if one wants to go from Tokyo station to Yoyogi station, instead of saying or remembering “Marunouchi Line at Tokyo Station, transfer at Shinjuku Station to the Oedo Line and get off at Yoyogi Station,” it can be simplified as “M17 station to M8 station, M8 = E27, E27 to E26.” M= Marunouchi Line, E = Oedo Line.

  7. I agree with station name changes to reflect more of the neighborhood or even landmarks of the area.

    In NY, we had stations named “Times Square,” “Columbus Circle,” and “World Trade Center” which made it easy for transit riders and out-of-towners to go where they don’t normally go to.

    LA Metro can do similar with some of their station names. Pico Station would be better off named LA Convention Center/Staples Center, Hollywood/Highland as Kodak Theater, Wilshire/Western to be Koreatown, or Wilshire/Vermont as Koreatown East.