excerpt of map showing Redmond and Overlake area

The need for social distancing has limited Metro’s in-person efforts to inform riders about the North Eastside restructure that it put into service on Saturday but with many of us staying at home, that means more time to read all about it.

For those who are visual learners, I present to you the Greater Eastside Transit Map. My goal is to introduce new and upcoming transit offerings on the Eastside through an engaging and appealing graphic that represents service levels, routing, as well as areas served by the on-demand Community Ride service in a format that is simple to read. Major transit projects like East Link light rail and Stride BRT on I-405 and SR 522 are shown to give people a preview of the near future. The map builds on the design established four years ago by my Seattle Transit Map while incorporating a brighter tone and more streamlined look.

The Eastside map was created in partnership with the Greater Redmond Transportation Management Association (GRTMA), who advocates for better biking, walking and transit in Redmond. They plan to print brochures that include the map.

42 Replies to “Greater Eastside Transit Map”

  1. Excellent map as usual, Oran. Take care of yourself and stay in contact with your contacts. At whatever level, you’ll be needed in Government when next there is such a thing. Taking no positive bets there’ll be an election this year. Especially Federal.

    For transit-politics, design, construction, and operations- there’s one thing STB can really help with: Steady source of technical references with as many section-drawings as possible. So we’ll have enough information for getting into action when conditions permit.

    Mark Dublin

  2. Beautiful work–so clean.
    Is dropping the “th” from street names a regular practice in cartography? In this case, I wonder if first-time users will interpret “8 St” as a Sound Transit route 8?

    1. Dropping the ordinals is fairly common on street name signs when there is limited space. You can find examples of that all over Seattle (the older signs on signal posts, which probably have been replaced now), Bellevue, and unincorporated King County.

      On transit maps, NYC does this throughout, going so far to apply it to subway station names. I like the brevity and consistency for this map so I applied it here.

      First-time users are likely more familiar with “St” for street from signs, maps, and addresses than “Sound Transit” which isn’t really mentioned on the map and most route numbers appear in color blocks that look very different from street labels.

  3. Overall, great map!

    A few nitpicky suggestions:
    1) Hourly and half-hourly routes look the same. Can the hourly routes be made thinner, similar to the peak-only routes, but colored blue?
    2) A slider where you can toggle between different day/time blocks and automatically adjust the line thicknesses would be helpful. The existing map conveys which routes run at all on weekends, but doesn’t say how frequently they run, except for weekdays. On the eastside, this is a big deal, as most of the routes that are frequent on weekdays are not frequent on weekends. Similar for the evenings.
    3) When a route runs in a one-way loop (e.g. 245 in Factoria, 221 in Education Hill), it would be nice to see some chevrons indicating the direction of travel.

    1. 1) I went through the timetables and made hourly (more like worse than half-hourly) routes thinner. That simple fix really shows the difference. Thanks.
      2) This is quite a bit more involved to implement but worth exploring.
      3) Right now I’m using arrows on the street name itself. I’m adding arrows within the line for the thicker lines.

  4. Great map. I like the little waves for the water, and the green dots for parkland.

    I’m not sure if I like the white background any more than the the brown one (found on the Seattle Transit Map). Perhaps something in between might be ideal.

    The Seattle map has a couple “close-up” inserts, for downtown and the U-District. Something similar might make sense for this map, although I’m not sure where. Maybe downtown Redmond and downtown Bellevue.

    1. A sidebar feature with a complete listing of all the routes that pass through certain important transit centers might be handy and it would provide more certainty about transfers. For instance, a sidebar that lists all the routes that stop at Totem Lake TC, Redmond TC. Kirkland TC.

      1. I have added a Transit Hubs sidebar listing routes at transit centers and key park & rides.

        Another use I realized for this is you can quickly find out which route runs between two hubs without looking at the map itself.

    2. Since this is a digital map, I could add “close-up” detail that appears when you zoom in enough. I came up with that idea for the Seattle map but haven’t implemented it because it’s a lot of work to draw it in a way that seamlessly transitions between zoom levels.

      1. I could add “close-up” detail that appears when you zoom in enough.

        I personally don’t like that. One of the (many) reasons I like your map is that when I zoom, everything gets bigger. If I have misplaced my glassed — or just don’t want to bother with them — I can still read it.

        I think the sidebar transit hubs does the job (really well). In general the East Side buses are very focused on transit hubs, as opposed to major corridors (unlike the UW or downtown Seattle). I wouldn’t worry about anything more — I would consider this feature request fulfilled.

      2. Thanks Ross. Based on your feedback, if I do implement this, I would add it as a separate toggle. So when you zoom in, there will be a label making readers aware of more detail and then they would click to add it on to the map or have it pop up.

  5. Another great map. The panning behavior is a bit weird, because it’s so skinny; maybe have a grey, land/water outline map that continues around this map for a bit?

    For folks who don’t know, it might be nice to add some indication of where the Downtown Redmond Link vs East Link future terminals are.

    Thanks for this!

  6. A map of Greater Seattle covers an area much bigger than Seattle. A map of the Greater Eastside looks like a map of the Eastside. Why the word greater?

    Sam. World-Renowned Cartographer.

    1. Maybe we’re misinterpreting it. Maybe this’s the “Greater Eastside Transit Map,” as opposed to the “Worse Eastside Transit Maps” put out by other mapmakers.

  7. Minor suggestion: I think the combined 230 and 231 could be a little bit thicker. At that point, it is just as frequent as the adjacent 255 (every 15 minutes) but it is a lot thinner. Unlike some combined routes (that randomly share a section), these are designed to provide good combined frequency on that stretch.

    1. Fair point that 230+231 should be thicker if not the same as 255. So I borrowed a technique from Spokane and underlaid a thick frequent green line along the corridor. I wanted to keep the distinction between a combined frequent and a standalone frequent route.

  8. This is awesome Oran — (one minor suggestion – the 271 doesn’t serve Eastgate Way on weekends).

    Also curious what tool you use to draw this? Adobe Illustrator or something else?

  9. The map seems a little incomplete. Cutting out the Snoqualmie Valley and cutting off the map at Coal Creek are odd decisions to me. How Eastside is too Eastside, and how South is not Eastside enough?

    1. These are questions with no definitive answer.

      Early drafts included more of the Snoqualmie Valley and it was cut as I had not yet decided where the map legend would go. I might restore some of that now.

      I felt the distortions needed to fit Snoqualmie and North Bend was far too much. If wanted to be radical, I would make room for them by nudging all of Issaquah up and compressing the Sammamish area. Worth a try.

      The map probably could show Kennydale but there is no room to show anything south of that without making it look crammed in. The sparseness of the transit network in the far east and south are natural cutoff points.

      1. I personally feel that cutting off North Bend and Snoqualmie Valley from the map is fine. Transit is sparse enough there that it just doesn’t really matter. There is a “to North Bend” label on the 208 in Issaquah, which seems sufficient.

  10. This is #*%ing fantastic, as usual. I really don’t know why Metro hasn’t adopted your maps yet.

    It seems to me like the common segment of the 230/231 should be green, based on your definition of frequent. It does have 15-minute or better service 6am-6pm weekdays, except for one missing outbound trip in the vicinity of 6:30 am.

  11. Thank you for the map. I like it! Suggestion … Identify the Sammamish River Trail and the Cross Kirkland Corridor Trail, or whatever it’s called. Yes, I know one day it will be a train line, but until that time, it will be a walking and biking trail. And the GRTMA does say it’s an advocate for better biking and walking. So it seems odd not to mention popular and protected biking and walking trails.

    1. Trail connections are multimodal transfers like to Link, the ferries, and Amtrak. They’re non-motorized highways we want to emphasize. At the same time a map can only do so much. It may be feasible on some maps but not others, depending on how busy the map is, how dense the transit network is in the area, and what percent of the target audience finds trails relevant.

      1. This map is … “Presented by Greater Redmond Transportation Management Association. GRTMA is an advocate for better biking, walking, & transit in Redmond.”

        But let’s not label or mark the Sammamish River Trail in Redmond?

        Mike, I know your shtick is to be the comment section contrarian, and you often make good points, but not this time.

      2. “In partnership with” is not the same as “Done for, and containing nothing outside the scope of”. I assumed it was a general-use map like the Seattle map, and it covers most of the Eastside, not just Redmond’s direct neighbors. You’re right to point out “walking” in the statement, but at the same time this is a “Transit” map”, not a “GRTMA map”. If The Mountaineers sponsor or contribute to Oran’s Seattle map, that doesn’t mean it has to show Seattle’s rock-climbing facilities or the trails to the Cascades, it just needs to be a good transit map.

        Mike, Sam fact-checker.

    2. Thank you for adding those labels! Urban and suburban trails are so rare and endangered, I think it’s important to remind people of their existence.

  12. Oran, let me put the question this way – energized, I admit, by several officials telling me over a few minutes’ time somewhat officiously that reason for choosing 14 rather than 15 minutes is “Because it’s part of 2020.” Even now that 2020 is supposed to be done with. One person also needed to know what a “headway” is.

    If you’re assigning line-color by headways, doesn’t this time-distance mean that at least at some level, somebody has to add an additional color to their “pallet” of ink for their pens? Not going to tease anybody with full decimal readout of 60 minutes divided by fourteen. Still shuddering at yesterday’s sight of it.

    And know instinctively it’ll be assigned a really ugly color, with a worse pattern, let alone its doomed associations in Irish legend. Trust your sense of both magic and Topic. Your Comment, your Call. Great work.

    Mark Dublin

  13. I’m a huge fan of this map! Thank you

    I agree with others that the width of the lines don’t make as much sense to me as the Seattle map.

    As someone who doesn’t consider infrequent transit to be a valid option, I appreciate how with the Seattle map I can with relative ease mentally filter out and disregard anything thin.

    Again, this is a great map, thank you so much. Is there a donation button somewhere where we can tip the mapmaker?

    1. You’re welcome! I am oranv on PayPal and Venmo.

      I think you will like the newly thinned very infrequent route lines. Even I was surprised at the difference that makes on the map, like the 241 is an all-around better option to get to Factoria from BTC than the 246.

  14. I really enjoy these maps, thank you Oran. The best part is the way you work in so many details, such as the unobtrusive indicator of Weekday/Saturday/Sunday service. Happy to see GRTMA adopting it.

    The thick lines very clearly show the frequent transit network that has grown on the Eastside. Makes me think back to riding the old 225 from Eastgate to Overlake to get to work – a weird bidirectional peak route on which I was usually the only rider in the reverse peak direction. Progress!

    1. The indicator for “no Sunday service” was a pretty late addition but the 535 (and few others) really forced me to come up with one. I tried various striped backgrounds and shades of blue but that interfered with the route number.

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