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TTC unveils new-look subway stations this afternoon

This afternoon TTC chair Adam Giambrone is scheduled to unveil the commission’s multi-million dollar Station Modernization Program. The plan will see nine stations go under the knife for significant renovations.

You may recall the plans (announced way back in November, 2005) to turn three stations on the University line - Osgoode, St. Patrick, and Museum - into theme stations (Museum will feature pillars in the guise of totem poles and sarcophagi, for instance.) As part of the new plan, Pape, Dufferin, Bloor-Yonge, Victoria Park, Kipling, and Islington, will also be getting extreme makeovers.

“Passengers will find the Station Modernization Program dramatically improves station environments, making them brighter, more attractive, and easier to use. Just as importantly, it will make it easier for the TTC to keep these stations cleaner,” Mr. Giambrone said in a press release.

However, some opponents take issue with Mr. Giambrone’s claim the stations will be easier to use. Last week in this space I wrote about the problems with the TTC’s wayfinding systems.

“There’s a lack of a signage system in the TTC,” Joe Clark, an accessibility consultant, told me last week. “There’s nothing that is planned out and systematic and studied.”

As stations are renovated, each will see new signage installed based on the template currently used on the Sheppard Line, which Mr. Clark and others say has faults. For example, they were never subjected to public testing. Even Bob Brent, former chief marketing officer of the TTC and man responsible for the Sheppard signs, holds reservations.

“I think part of the problem is the signs don’t have consumer sensibility,” he told me last week. “Take someone who is completely new to the system and put them in situ and see do these signs work or not?”

— Story by Mark Medley; photo of Adam Giambrone by Peter J. Thompson