What is this — a café? A library? A corner store?
Unless you regularly travel by transit to Langara College or the Alliance Française, you’re forgiven for not recognising this as the 49th and Langara Skytrain station. This photo was taken from the west side of Cambie Street looking east on 49th Avenue.
And unless you’re standing in front and looking directly at the entrance, there’s no way to identify this as an essential part of urban infrastructure.
Why is Translink so bad at signage? The last time we travelled by Skytrain from Waterfront Station to the airport, we wondered why, unlike every other subway system on the planet, Translink didn’t have big prominent station names on the walls of the stations. One station looks pretty much like another, and when you look out the window at a station platform upon arrival, there’s no obvious signage to tell you where you are.
This past week I looked again and figured out that it’s not actually a lack of signs. It turns out that Translink has placed them at the very top of the wall, just below the ceiling of the station, where most people on the train can’t see them. Unless you’re sitting in one the very few window seats the sign is nowhere near being in your line of sight; if you’re standing, it is literally impossible to see them.
Perhaps it’s time for some guerrilla action. If you’re a fan of Stephen Quinn‘s CBC Early Edition you’ll have heard about local transit user (and YouTuber) Uytae Lee, who stepped up and designed new bus stop signage. As he puts it, the existing signs “…tell you what buses come here, and when they come, but don’t tell you where they’re going.”
Check them out: