diamond geezer

 Saturday, August 27, 2011

The DLR extension to Stratford International is still scheduled to open on Tuesday morning, fingers crossed. They were running a test service yesterday to Beckton and back, with all the next train indicators indicating S'ford Internat'l (another DLR apostrophe crime to rank with the ghastly W'Wich Arsenal). More about the new extension next week, if it happens.

But a new London rail line also means something else of cultural significance - a new tube map is imminent. I've seen it. And blimey, you'll never guess what, the big blue blobs are disappearing! These over-dominant symbols of step-free access have hijacked the original simplicity of Beck's diagram for far too long. Well, good news, they're now in full retreat. Hurrah, and about time too! Except the big blue blobs aren't vanishing completely, sorry, and those that fade away are being replaced by something else. Welcome to the tube map, the big white blob.

Because, it seems, telling us whether there was step-free access from the street to the platform simply wasn't enough. Just because you can manoeuvre your wheelchair or pushchair to the platform doesn't necessarily mean you can get on board the train, does it? Carriages and platforms are all different heights, usually completely at odds, so a supposedly step-free journey can be thwarted at the last second by an inaccessible vertical mismatch. That's what the new tube map symbol is designed to alert us to. A white blob is used if there's merely step free access from the street to the platform. A blue blob highlights the golden scenario of step-free access from the street to the train. If you're a self-powered wheelchair user, blue blobs are now the only way to go.

So what does this look like on the map?

new tube map (fare zone version) August 2011

It means a sprinkling of blue and white blobs everywhere. Most of the blobs that used to be blue are now white, because not many stations have platforms the same height as their trains. Indeed the blue blobs survive in only four locations, all related to stations recently built. Every station on the DLR has a blue blob, because the DLR was carefully planned to be accessible throughout. Every station on the Jubilee line extension (Westminster to Stratford) has a blue blob, as do the new stations on the East London line (Dalston Junction to Shoreditch High Street). And that's it, apart from three stations on the Victoria line which have recently had platform humps installed (Brixton, King's Cross, Tottenham Hale). There are no blue blobs at all in west London, because there isn't a single station in that half of the capital with step-free access from street to the train. Wheelchair users are best off living and working on the eastern side of town, or finding someone who can push them onto and off of every train they ride.

Here's the section of the new map (fare zone version) relating to the Stratford International extension. Every station along this stretch of line is fully accessible, or will be once it opens, even dead-end Stratford International. Stratford itself is a bit of a mixture, with two lines wheel-on-able and two lines not. I don't know about you but I reckon these different colour blobs are over-complicating things. Previously there were two blues at Stratford - that was mucky enough. Now there are contrasting circles, one white one blue, but with a deeper meaning that 99.9% of tube travellers don't need to know. Most of us merely want to get in and out of Stratford station, or change trains, so a much simpler design would better aid our transfer. West Ham's new incarnation is even worse. Formerly it had one blob, now it has three. One of these is due to the newly-opening DLR, but the other two are there to distinguish between the flat Jubilee and the high-up District. Seriously, does anyone think this is a simple and helpful way to depict an interchange? And this is an Olympic-critical transport node, for heaven's sake. Look how straight-forward Mile End is by comparison - that's the symbolic notation the great majority of the population would prefer to see everywhere else. Over-blobbing, alas, just makes a mess of the map.

Yes, it's important that those with limited accessibility get every opportunity to use our capital's transport network. But is the mainstream London tube map the best place to get this information across? Why complicate an already massively complex diagram with not one but two different symbols that most travellers will never use? If you need a step-free map, use TfL's step-free map - that's what it's there for. Admittedly the introduction of big white blobs reduces the overall visual impact of the blue, so that's almost good. But they're still a totally unnecessary and confusing extra that will surely discriminate against spatially challenged passengers. Appearing now on tube maps at Stratford station and on the Beckton branch of the DLR. Appearing soon all over London. One step-free forward, two step-frees back.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Wed 19th - Sun 23rd October
Bloomsbury Festival
It's free to visit the Foundling Museum this weekend.

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards