At the very least, this map provides innovative suggestions for Sound Transit station names. N 130th St. is boring, but “Queasy Street” or “Fast Food Boulevard” is unforgettable.

35 Replies to “Springfield’s Subway System is Better Than Ours”

  1. Obviously, the station nearest Fremont needs to be named Stalingrad, with a nice grand staircase that comes from the subway platform and makes its grand entrance at the base of the statue.

      1. Saint Petersburg is a pretty unique city though. If you look up Stalingrad on Google all the first results are movie reviews. Fremont could take that name and the majority of people wouldn’t notice.

        There’s all kinds of neat stuff that could happen at Troll Avenue as well. That would be the perfect place to house all those that got themselves kicked off the STB.

    1. People in Portland need to know that the statue of Lenin in Fremont was really installed as an advertisement for an antique store. I don’t know if the store is still there, behind the statue, but my wife bought me a beautiful brass lamp there as a birthday present many years ago. We looked at the Lenin one, too, but ceiling in our apartment was just too low.

      I think if you look carefully around the back of the statue, you’ll see a hole where the cord used to go. In the chaos resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union, the very large ornate Tiffany-style shade that came with the statue got misplaced. It’s probably a canopy for an espresso stand in Vladivostok now.

      Now, if you want to see something transit-related that traces to Josef Stalin, see if Vladimir Putin will give you a visa into Crimea. Tell him that you want to see the fifty mile long trolleybus system Stalin installed between Yalta, on the coast, and the capital of Crimea, Simferopol, over the Yaila Mountains. It’s possible that the present conflict is really about possession of some of those brand new Skoda buses with cute blonde tour guides. will convince any trolleybus driver that this line could be worth fighting for. Too bad there aren’t any heroic memorials along I-90 between South Bellevue and Ellensburg for the young women to point out.

      Also, Budapest has a wonderful park on at least one streetcar line featuring the most ridiculous statuary art that the Russians left behind. It definitely adds to the artistic experience for people who were forced at gunpoint to pretend to show reverence for those monuments to the same kind of taste as the creation in Fremont. Maybe eventually they’ll all be equipped with cords and shades with fringes. Or given large trays for cigarette ashes to hold as part of some heroic gesture.

      The Stalinists really were completely super-conventional about art. Like Hitler with his display of “decadent art” that somehow included the most talented artists who had to flee for their lives, Stalin loved exactly the kind of bronze junk now gathering dust in Fremont and Snohomish. The most noted poet of the Russian revolution, Vladimir Mayakovsky, pleaded not to have a statue for a memorial, because it would be proof that he was really dead. After he shot himself in a suicide that could have been assisted-guess what was the first thing Stalin did in his memory?

      Moscow, Fremont… at least many generations of pigeons are almost as grateful as they are for the rafters of Tukwila International Station.

      Mark Dublin

      1. During the Communist era, Hungarian artists congregated in the town of Szentendre, which was the last stop on one of the subway lines from Budapest. While most of Budapest was drab and Commie-grey, Szentendre was a lively, friendly and very colorful community. Budapest also had a very large collection of public statuary which often tended to be abstract or absurdist in nature. I haven’t been back to Budapest since the fall of communism, so I don’t know if the public art and Szentendre have disappeared, but it was always interesting to visit Budapest before the fall of the Iron Curtain.

        Budapest’s Communist era trolley buses also lacked a feature that was standard on most other trolleys in the world–there was no rope on the trolley poles. If the trolley poles dewired on a curve or at a switch the driver had to climb up on the back of the bus and reattach the poles using a short stick.

      2. Those Eastern Bloc trolleybuses also lacked ground-leak detectors (i.e. those alarms which detect if an electrical fault has made the chassis of the bus live). It was common enough for them to in fact be live that passengers would jump on and off, taking care to never rest one foot on both ground and the bus.

  2. If Springfield’s subway system is so great, why don’t we ever see any characters taking it?

  3. To be fair, the statement “_________’s Subway System is Better Than Ours” where you fill in the blank with just about any city in the world with an actual subway and this statement is still true. Ours is too short to really be much of a comparison, and will be for some time yet.

    There must be some city out there with a system less sufficient than ours currently is though (discounting bus only cities or ones without any transit).

    Any candidates?

    1. I’d rather live in great city with a bad light rail system than a bad city with a great light rail system.

    2. Rio de Janeiro. Sure, they have a metro, but severely inadequate for the 6 million or so that live there.

    3. Ottawa’s shuttle stub is pretty worthless, in an otherwise reasonably transit-enabled city.

      You’d have to wander pretty far to find a system with actual grade separation, yet serving a smaller percentage of urban point-A-to-point-Bs than ours, though. To a Mediterranean archipelago, perhaps?

      Of course, you’d still find yourself in a genuinely urban environment, with the incidental bonus of being on a Mediterranean archipelago.


      Sam, there may be economically less robust cities with good subways, and there certainly are cities in less democratic parts in the world with good subways, but there are no badly-functioning cities with good subways. The one is intrinsic to the other.

      Meanwhile, pretty natural setting and the protestations of [ad hom] like you aside, Seattle is quite the physical and cultural bastion of mediocrity. And you live in Bellevue. That’s even worse.

    4. Actually, there’s very little about Springfield’s subway map that looks very efficient. The light blue line looks pretty straighforward, but most of the other lines appear to be wandering around the region without much connectivity to other lines. Also, notice how difficult a trip from the airport to anywhere else would be.

      1. It’s odd how the black line and the silver line run into another line without there being a transfer station there.

      2. Wasn’t Springfield turned into a transfer station after Bart’s father was elected mayor? He sure turned out to be duplicitous.

      1. Really? We’re comparing a real-life subway system to the fictional creation of a cartoon starring a yellow-headed juvenile delinquent and something vaguely transit-related is deemed a hijacking and off-topic? I’m not exactly Sam’s biggest defender but come on, folks.

        (Oh, and to the three people who will read this before it’s nuked: I’ve tried e-mailing STB before; no replies.)

      2. That address has worked fine for me, including when I asked about the STB perspective about the new TriMet fare system. Since Puget Sound already went through all the stuff with the ORCA card, it seems to me the people here would have a good perspective on that subject.

        Not only did STB respond, but their responses helped me encourage our local transportation issues newspaper columnist to write a few articles about the whole issue of fare changes and just what could be expected to happen here.

  4. [ot]

    About Springfield’s subways being safer: how do we know that that big kid that’s always beating up Bart isn’t closing in on him at this very moment, when he’s distracted reading the map? Also liked the program’s take on their monorail project. Maybe reason our attempt didn’t work out was that we had no plans to give drivers a Superman cape, like Homer had.


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