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These Maps Demystify the Layouts of NYC Subway Stations

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[Images via CityLab.]

Navigating subway stations can be confusing, and that's only confounded by the fact that in most of them, cell service is a joke. But New York-based architect Candy Chan has launched Project Subway NYC in an attempt to make the vacuous underground spaces more navigable, CityLab reports. Chan has started creating maps that visualize the stations in space and also chart their exists and where they lead to on the street. Although the idea sounds simple, its one that isn't actualized in the MTA's subway map that represents all subway stations as a little black dot, even if their entrances and exits are blocks apart. Chan was inspired by Hong Kong's subway system that gives each exit an individual label, like Exit A, making it easier for people to make travel plans. "Now imagine telling someone to meet you at an entrance to New York's Times Square station," CityLab points out, "Good luck with that."

Chan is taking the route only an architect would to build the project. Instead of using the MTA's blueprints, she's photographing the stations and scrupulously counting tiles and stairs to create the spatial estimates that she bases her drawings on. After a rigorous process of sketching, double-checking, and digital rendering, she ends up with a the intricate 3D map. So far, Chan has mapped the stations at Columbus Circle, Times Square, Herald Square, Madison Square, and Union Square. Should Chan's signs become a fixture in the subways, they'll help straphangers find their way to the correct exits, and more quickly—and that sounds like a win/win for subway riders of all stripes.
· A Nerd's-Eye View of New York's Most Complex Subway Stations [CityLab]
· Project Subway NYC [official]
· Cool Map Thing archives [Curbed]