17 April 2009

The Evolution Of The TriMet MAX Map 2: MAE West

2034.Through the middle of the 1990s planning and construction activity actively worked to extend MAX west from its origin to serve Washington County.

Noting that, properly, the initialism was MAE, rather than MAX, a certain wag during the time (it was in Jonathan Nicholas' Oregonian column, if I recall correctly) opined that it should be called MAE West.

Ahh, lost opportunity.

Anyway, after a couple of years work by Bore-Regard and furious track laying to downtown Hillsboro, what we called at the time Westside MAX opened in 1997-1998. Mapping such an extended line to fit within the confines of the typically small paper publications TriMet produced for customer edification required a different approach. A map at the proper proportion, given the meanderings and the spacings between stations, would be difficult if not impossible to straitjacket to within the confines of a pocket schedule. Abstraction was called for ... and what abstraction (clicky to embiggen, or better, go to the Picasa Web album page for this one and use the zoom tool to get a real good look):



The simplification took no prisoners. The meandering route has been straightened, all stations sit in nice intervals, all spaced out evenly, happily. The only concession to scale is in the interval between the Washington Park station and the Goose Hollow/SW Jefferson station.

This is reducing something to its schematic parts and making it work. For instance, as is well known, the distance between the Washington Park station and the Sunset TC station is no short walk. However, on this line, it's enough to show that one follows the other directly to see that it works and works well for the application.

The only concessions to geographic awareness is the North arrow and the position of the Willamette River, and the quadrilateral in the middle which approximates Fareless Square. The line parallels the river before turning sharply to cross it, which, in this simplified way, is as it should be.

Since there was still, effectively, only one line, there were no colored stripes. That was to come later, with the debut of Airport MAX ... to be known as the Red Line.

But I get ahead of myself. Next time.

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2 comments:

Isaac Laquedem said...

I'm astounded and gratified, at second hand, that you remember the wag in Jonathan Nicholas's column who coined MAE West -- he's an acquaintance who occasionally appears in my blog under the name "Knower of All Things."

Isaac

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

How amazing is that?

The thing about my mind is that the most clever witticisms I hear tend to stick with me.

The well-turned remark is one of the most beautiful things in prose.

My regards to the author of that thought.