As Link’s map expands, the already detailed pictograms will become less legible.

Each Link light rail station has a pictogram as a secondary identifier intended for people with limited English language proficiency. However well intentioned, the pictograms are poorly implemented and lack a logical system underlying their construction.

The last time we wrote about pictograms was five years ago when Sound Transit unveiled the pictograms for U-Link and Northgate Link. With nineteen new Link stations projected to open in 2023 and 2024, it is near time to evaluate whether they are fulfilling their purpose and whether other methods are more accessible to all users.

One alternative is station numbering. Each station is assigned a short code consisting of a symbol representing the line and a number representing the station. Countries like China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand use it for aiding visitors unfamiliar with local names and the non-Latin alphabet.

Alphanumeric station codes and line symbols on a Tokyo subway map

The benefit of the standard pictograms used in many airports is that people only need to learn them once. Familiarity and repeating patterns are reassuring. In contrast, each station pictogram is unique and non-obvious. As the system grows, the mental load of memorizing multiple pictograms becomes a burden on the user, beyond ten digits and a few letters.

Unlike pictograms which require a lengthy design process for each station, codes are more straightforward to construct and interpret. Such codes can easily be used as shorthand in various written mediums. It is difficult to describe a pictogram if you cannot communicate in the same language. Even if the person does not know the Latin alphabet, “S10” is less linework to remember than a deer when asking for directions.

Bangkok’s train lines use both approaches. The BTS green lines have Siam as a Central station and uses directional prefixes in its station numbers. The MRT Blue Line simply counts the stations in sequence.

There are two common approaches for station numbering. The simplest would be to start at one end of a line and count to the other end of the line. Prefix the number with the line’s letter or number and you have a station code. This works well if you do not have too many overlapping lines or lines that are not regularly extended on both ends. In Seoul, the 9th station on Line 1 would be numbered 109.

Another approach would be to designate a central hub station, say Westlake, as the zero point and count up in each direction. Each spoke would get a letter, typically corresponding to a cardinal direction. So Northgate, the 5th station north of Westlake, would be N5. SeaTac/Airport, 14 stops (present and future) south of Westlake, would be S14. Notably, Atlanta’s MARTA used this system in the past.

Many of Sound Transit’s answers justifying its decision to number the Link lines instead of using colors or local themed names can be applied in the discussion on secondary station identifiers. It appears that the pictograms only exist to meet a legal requirement rather than being a useful tool for wayfinding and communication.

62 Replies to “An alternative to Link station pictograms”

  1. The pictograms are an oddity and I doubt they’ve helped a single person. I think the law was put in place before the Vancouver Olympics because for some reason the state thought there’d be tons of international tourists making a pit stop in Seattle. Tourists from places most certainly with far more elaborate transit systems than Seattle.

    I’ve also been emailing Sound Transit for YEARS asking them why Tacoma Link doesn’t have pictograms if indeed light rail is required to have them. The latest answer I’ve heard is Tacoma Link will get them when the next expansion is complete, but I think they said that to shut me up.

    The law also doesn’t define what “light rail” means. Does the Seattle Streetcar count? Under some definitions it should. It’s not fundamentally different from Tacoma Link.

    1. Tacoma Link opened in 2003. The 2005 law only applies to new signs but that means new signs for the infill station opened in 2011 should have them. Or maybe the revision was not significant enough.

      The law appears in chapters concerning regional transit authorities (ST) and city transportation authorities (the defunct monorail) so Seattle Streetcar appears to be exempt.

      1. Yes, I reached out to them specifically because they’ve replaced the signage on Tacoma Link and added a station after that law went into effect. No one had an answer as to why they didn’t include pictograms, in fact, everyone I was referred to didn’t seem to know anything about that law. I bet the extension will not have pictograms and I look forward to pestering them again as to why.

  2. Some useful context to inform this thread. Sound Transit is indeed under a mandate from the state legislature to establish pictograms to support wayfinding for non-English patrons. They used the public art program to develop the existing pictograms, which rests on a community-based public engagement approach with local artists and local input.

    This is not to say the current system couldn’t be changed. But it’s important to know the agency didn’t just go out and unilaterally impose the pictograms you see today. Some of the communities with stations have skin in the game with the existing images, and many have 11 years of orientation around them.

    Any effort going forward to adjust slightly or change altogether the current practice should recognize this, and would have to employ a comparable level of engagement. Such effort would first have to answer the question of whether a different method is welcome, and if so, what new method would enhance wayfinding for non-English speaking, non-traditional patrons. Implementation issues would be no less complex, and probably more challenging, than the issues surrounding the many “university” stations a few years ago.

    1. Some context on how the Legislature concluded that pictograms should be mandated would be informative. Was there any community engagement before a bill was introduced?

      1. It was related to the Olympics in Vancouver. There were some legislators who had travelled abroad and seen similar practices in Mexico City, Moscow, etc.

    2. The pictograms are not memorable nor distinctive at a distance. They don’t help with wayfinding.

      Many transit systems in countries that don’t use a Latin alphabet nevertheless use station abbreviations like EW1, NW10, H5 etc. People are comfortable with that whether they have good English skills or not, and the logical progression on maps where the Alpha represents the line and the numericals are in order works a lot better than unique pictograms

    3. Since they’re mandated by the Legislature, that’s that. It would be more useful if there were station art throughout that reflected the pictograms. For example, Capitol Hill is a flag but the station art is a prop plane. Strange. Presumably numbers could be used on maps in addition to the pictograms?

      1. Yes I agree. The art and the pictogram should be reasonably related. It’s confusing to have three unrelated graphical elements that don’t relate to each other — or the station setting.

  3. I agree that the pictograms are rather silly to most people. I’m not sure if anyone relies on them — but a broad canvas to find out seems appropriate.

    It’s not like the pictograms are widely visible at a station either. The electronic signs don’t show them.

    As to making diagrams look cluttered, deciding on a maximum numbers for a station name would seem to be more effective. The pictograms appear to only be the size of one big letter. For example, changing “Shoreline North/185th” to “Shoreline North” would save more room.

  4. Telling a visitor how to get from the airport to Seattle. Now: “Take Link from Airport Station to Westlake Station. In the future: Take the Green Line/Line 1 from IB15 to 4P3.

    1. The names wouldn’t disappear — the pictograms would. I don’t even know the one for Westlake, but A17 to A23 seems a lot easier than drawing out the little pictures.

  5. I can imagine pictograms being most useful for people who can’t even read the local country’s alphabet.

    Even if you totally butcher the pronunciations, simply having some sound for the station name in your head helps a lot.

    I wonder what Asian countries do to help identify their stations for American tourists?

  6. China is Japan’s number one group of tourists, by far. Why is English Tokyo’s second transit map language, and not Mandarin?

    1. Apparently you are not aware of the very ancient panoply of hard feelings between Japan and China, Sam.

    2. For the same reason Chinese train stations probably have English names. English is spoken and taught in practically every country in the world, including China and Japan. In Europe it’s taught in elementary schools. Most Chinese may not know it, but international travelers make it a point to learn some English to get around train stations in any other country, and to do business in Japan, Thailand, and the rest of Asia. Chinese children use pinyin (Chinese Latin alphabet) to learn Chinese characters. When I was in a Russian youth hostel, a Chinese guest checked in. He and the clerk communicated in English. It’s unlikely that a Chinese person would know Russian, or a Russian would know Chinese. But they both learned English in school, I assume.

      Mi dezirus, ke ĉiuj parolus Esperante, sed por nun estas angle. (I wish everyone spoke Esperanto, but for now it’s English.)

      Also, Japanese characters are derived from Chinese, so the place names may be spelled the same in Chinese, or close enough that a Chinese speaker can read the original names.

    3. Long time ago, Sam, I heard somebody say on the radio that the reason English has become the World’s primary one is that it’s excellent for getting work done. Is it really true that in German the verb comes last?

      If so, could have been a martial’ country’s insurance against disobedience. Kind of a waste, though, making them stand (and die) at attention while their orders are being read through the whistle of the grape-shot. O Monte Python, where are you when we need you!

      Mark Dublin

      1. There’s a saying about the sound aesthetics of different languages that goes something like, “Italian is good for lovers, French is good for diplomacy, German is good for military orders, English is good for business, and Russian is good for all of these.” But that’s in the eye of the beholder.

        German puts the verb at the end in subordinate clauses. “Ich trinke das Bier, das mein neuer Freund Hansl mir gekauft hat.” (I drink the beer, that my new friend Hansl to-me bought has.) Latin puts the verb at the end, while Irish puts it at the beginning.

        English has evolved to a point that many words are one syllable, it has natural gender, and only a few verb forms. So you can say something with a few syllables in English that requires more syllables in most other languages. That may be useful for business, especially if some speakers are non-native.

        On the other hand, English is a vowel-heavy language; many words are distinguished by only one vowel; dialects differ mainly in their vowels; many words are homonyms; and some are homonyms in some dialects but not others. That makes it harder. And the spelling is morphophonemic rather than phonetic, and foreign words are no longer respelled but just left as is. And many expressions are abitrary idioms that just “sound better” in some context or give a slightly different nuance than alternatives. Do you exit, get off, deboard, or detrain? I think the reason English spelling reforms have gone nowhere is it’s hard to represent so many vowels unambiguously or consistently, especially when they differ between dialects, and when removing silent letters creates too many homonyms.

      2. What I’ve heard is that English is fairly easy to learn, but hard to master. To quote this book review

        The rules are relatively flexible, so — as you’ve likely experienced — we can often understand someone speaking in simple “broken” English. Try that with Russian.

    4. It’s not on the main signage but Tokyo provides versions of their maps translated into Mandarin (Traditional and Simplified characters), Hangul for Korean, Roman script for French, German, Spanish, and Cyrillic for Russian. Digital signs on newer trains also alternate between Japanese kanji, kana, Roman, and other scripts.

  7. We keep talking about tourists getting confused, and ESL’ers getting confused. Let’s remember, 1 out of 4 Americans thinks the sun orbits the earth. Bing it if you don’t believe me. It’s impossible to make a map or transit numbering system that’s even remotely foolproof.

  8. I agree. This makes so much more sense. Another thought:

    The simplest would be to start at one end of a line and count to the other end of the line. Prefix the number with the line’s letter or number and you have a station code. This works well if you do not have too many overlapping lines or lines that are not regularly extended on both ends.

    One way to avoid that is to simply build in enough cushion. You don’t have to start at 1. For example, let’s say we start at the north. Assume that there are five stations north of Everett (which is more than enough) and that we build every station in ST3. If my math is correct, that makes UW 17. Capitol Hill is 18, Westlake is 19, etc. The main thing is to have the numbers unique, and that they follow a logical pattern. You can even leave out gaps (for provisional stations). East Link stations can start after the main line (Judkins Park would be somewhere around 50). Ballard would be 70 or even 80 (if we feel like it could be extended to the north). Even with gaps for growth (a lot of which is unlikely to happen) we wouldn’t be up to 100. The numbers wouldn’t tell you what line you are one, but then neither do the pictograms. The main thing it would do is achieve the goal of pictograms much better than the pictograms.

    1. Rather than add to the maps, how about just picking one letter and “turning it into a pictogram” by using a different font, encasing it in a geometric shape or adding some other unique design feature behind the letter?

      If the problem is clutter, turning a pictogram into a number maybe with a letter is that it adds two or three characters where the pictogram is just one. Using numbers adds clutter!

      1. The problem is legibility, not clutter.

        The current station pictograms are visually complex and do not reproduce as well at small sizes as simpler letters and numbers. At the expected reading distance they can be so small they become hard to tell apart.

      2. I don’t find most of them to be illegible.

        I am surprised that they aren’t “framed” though. I think this is part of their visual ineffectiveness. Consider that putting a number on there would assume a “framing” of a circle or a square or a hexagon as part of the concept. Just plastering on a number without framing would be very confusing, especially since the lines will now be numbered.

      3. The pictograms were placed inside a large circle for each station on the original 2009 maps. A long time ago I mocked up a Central Link + East Link map using the old design and things got really cramped.

        I think ST’s designers came to the same conclusion so they removed them from the station marker and placed it with the name.

        Framing symbols will call attention to them but not necessarily improve legibility. In the same footprint, a framed symbol has to be smaller than an unframed symbol because you have to account for the extra space taken up by the frame.

  9. Can we speak of two more things that Sound Transit can do to improve signage?

    First: Get rid of scrolling. It’s hard to read. You can’t read it at a glance. Come up with names that fit the matrix.

    Second: Banish the use of the word “Station” on any matrix display or signage. It’s an unnecessary junk word. We already know that trains stop at stations, and that the terminus is a station. Westlake, UW, Airport, Mt. Baker etc. tell us all that we need to know.

    1. I agree, especially about the second point. It is crazy to have the word “station” when all the stops are stations.

    2. Agreed, especially the second point. Thankfully it does appear that they’ve dropped “station” from the signage on the new Siemens trains, hopefully that includes the audio announcements.

  10. A few of my in-laws can neither read nor write. And when I say that I mean they can not read a single character in any written language of any sort. It is unclear how “codes” would work for them.

    Such situations are not that uncommon for older people in certain parts of the world, particularly for women coming from places where educating women is not common, or is actively discouraged.

    I assume it is not the intent, but this post smacks of cultural elitism.

    1. Not being able to communicate in English and illiteracy are two related but distinct problems. Pictograms can help with the latter as used in India for political parties and Mexico City on its Metro for domestic use but I don’t know how they would work in the first case.

      People have been drawing long before writing was invented so marks like “A1”, even if they can’t read it as letter A and digit 1, are simple enough to remember or reproduce. Even to this day, people draw things they don’t understand. I can’t say for certain as only people like your in-laws can provide insight based on their experience.

      1. Yeah, writing the digits “2” and “3” is a lot easier than drawing a moose for Roosevelt, which frankly looks a lot like the Othello deer. Of course you can mess it up, but it seems like the pictogram approach is way more likely to end up with confusion.

        If you doubt this idea, try writing the 14 basic consonant characters of the Korean (Hanful) alphabet ( I have no experience with it, whatsoever. There are 14 characters, not 10, but I think I could do fairly well, with a little cheat sheet.

        Now draw all of the pictograms that we have, as well as those we are about to build. Quite a bit harder, huh?

        We aren’t talking about symbols for the bathroom, or other universally accepted, quite sensible pictograms. Those make sense (as Oran pointed out). Even if you have never seen them before you can take a guess as to what they mean. With our system we have that (symbols for bus and train) that are great, and do a good job.

        But the station pictograms are arbitrary. Most of them aren’t even a decent mnemonic for the station. Frankly, I have no idea what half of them ever are. Is there a chart somewhere?

      2. Yes, I will have to do it to get nam phrik phao, because Thai export labels have an annoying habit of giving an ambiguous generic translation like “Thai chili paste” or “seasoning sauce” so you can’t tell which one is the ingredient you’re looking for. Fortunately the lady at Mekong Rainier Market spoke Thai and showed me which one says “nam phrik phao” in Thai. I’ll have to copy it down and take it with me next time I want it. The letters look mostly like English u’s, n’s, upside-down M’s, and Greek/Cyrillic g’s.

    2. Any chance, Lazarus, that “roving” passenger assistants all up and down the line, would be best approach to the problem? Works elsewhere.

      In Gothenburg, the uniforms of Fare Inspectors themselves carry sew-on badges saying, “If you have a question, please ask me. Since by law every Swede has to follow secondary school with a hitch in the military, these people’s presence will deter a lot of mischief too.

      Should also be long-overdue both here and places like Portland. Am I right that Portland Maine should have them too?

      Mark Dublin

  11. I’m going to stake out the position here that pictograms are fine, as long as they’re cool like the ones on the Mexico City Metro.

  12. Here’s what I see is the problem. Our designers may be “Working Out of Grade.” This isn’t work for charts and graphs people, but artists. The human viewing-receptors are only partly optical. We can’t even see in the dark, but leopards cannot only see but smell, hear, and taste (us) too.

    We also early on start associating things things like streetcars, not only the bell, but the mini-earthquake set in steel on wheels. That woman pedestrian back in Gothenburg just barely slowed her step behind her stroller.

    So this is what I think Sound Transit and all-else regional should adopt. In at least one Community College, a program on Design For Civic Art. With kindergarten teachers able to discern a ‘North-Shore interurban car from a cucumber when they saw one.

    Not say the kid did NOT become a sought-for Society-chef. But there are levels of the human mind that constantly refresh their carriers’ imaginations, all in transit’s favor. Could some generous billionaire at least commission one elephant doing ballet pirouettes on top of a tornado and garage it ’til Tacoma Link hits Steilacoum?

    Mark Dublin

  13. This makes a good case for station numbers. If we follow the Atlanta model, Westlake would be something like “Metro Center”. Capitol Hill would be N1, University Street would be S1, etc. For East Link from Westlake it would go S1, S2, S3 for International District, then switch to E4 for Judkins Park, E5 for Mercer Island, etc. Atlanta had two lines, North-South and Northwest-South, so the northwest branch had N1, N2, N3, then switched to NW4, NW5, etc. And we’d have to reserve numbers for Graham, BAR, and 130th.

    Seattle’s address numbering starts from origin lines; e.g., Yesler Way, Denny Way, Queen Anne Ave N, so the numbers tell you how far you are from the origin. in contrast, other cities like London, St Petersburg, and San Francisco, start wherever the street starts, so the number doesn’t tell you anything. Although in San Francisco some streets start from Market Street, so that tells you something, except Market Street is diagonal so it doesn’t tell you much. And if a street crosses Market, it can’t just change directional, it has to change to an ad hoc different name like “New Montgomery” or “South Van Ness”.

    So I’m not a fan of starting at one end of the line. Especially since our lines are expanding in all directions. And it’s not very useful to have 1 at Tacoma Mall and then downtown Seattle is like 21-25. Oh, and the lines may be reconnected to different branches later.

    1. I’d agree that the former Atlanta numbering system would be the way to go. (MARTA walked away from the station numbering, by the way. I think it was due to confusion.)

      The devil is in the details though. All of the lines will have numbers framed in a circle. Stride is already S1, S2 and S3. Sounder is N and S. The DSTT exits are now all numbered and framed in a square. The Kirkland – Issaquah line stations would need distinguishing from East Link. East Link numbering would begin at ID and not Westlake, adding confusion.

      I get how the numbering is attractive — but I think it introduces lots more confusion because of the widespread use of numbers and letters already.

    2. I’m not a fan of starting at one end of the line. Especially since our lines are expanding in all directions.

      As I wrote up above, you just leave enough cushion. If counting north to south, UW could be 21, as there is no way we’ll have 20 stations to the north of it. You can leave gaps (for places like Graham Street Station). For East Link, Judkins Park could start at 50. Ballard would be 70 or even 80 (if we feel like it could be extended to the north). Even with gaps for growth (a lot of which is unlikely to happen) we wouldn’t be up to 100. Even if we did, that would be OK.

      The numbers wouldn’t tell you what line you are one, but then neither do the pictograms. The main thing it would do is give a very simple, easy to communicate label for the station.

      You would change the lines to letters. This makes more sense. There is no pattern whatsoever with the lines, whereas the station numbers would have a pattern, even if there are gaps (there may never be a station 1, for example).

      That would mean UW would be station 21, served by both the A and B line (main line and East Link). This is fairly simple, and not that much different than, say, freeway exits. They are numbered based on mileage. If someone says “get off at exit 275” it is pretty straight forward. There may be no exit 274 or 276. But if you’ve seen exit 250, then 255, then 273, you know you are getting close.

      People who used to program in Basic (back in the late 70s) would be familiar with the concept. You used to have to number each line of code. It would be a pain to renumber the code, so you left gaps in case you wanted to add more code. This was before subroutines (everything had goto statements).

      1. Systems like Singapore and Bangkok reserve numbers for planned future infill stations. ST has the ST3 plan as a basis so Everett can be station 1.

        As for East Link and West Seattle Link (pre-downtown tunnel), you could continue the numbering sequence from the trunk and prefix with the branch number so whether you are in Federal Way or Redmond you can tell how many stations you are from Everett.

        The freeway example is a good one. It is similar to how highways are numbered. Most of the state highways around here begin with 5 (509, 520, 522) because they are “branches” of the main highway I-5. And people don’t have to know the ins and outs of the system to make it work for them. They just use the numbers. The names might still exist but people may find it more convenient to call them by their numbers depending on context. 520 bridge, Evergreen Point floating bridge, Governor Albert D Rosellini bridge all refer to the same bridge.

        After the Ballard tunnel opens, instead of starting from one, you count backwards (northbound) from a common station and prefix the line so there would not be confusion. The JR West rail system around Osaka does something like that.

      2. Since Westlake is a major hub and is shared by most lines, it would do well to be station zero (or station 1?).

        Kirkland/Issaquah would have a different identifier since they will be on a different line, so they can just count off of Bellevue TC. Also K/I is far enough out I don’t think we need to plan around it; it can probably be numbered separately like T-Link

  14. Currently, some customers use their bus stop ID numbers for real time info and trip planning. There would be some overlap with an outright numbering system.

    The MARTA-style approach makes the most sense… though as an aviation enthusiast like myself, I wouldn’t mind a three-letter code for each station like for airports.

  15. It was a long time ago, but I remember when Portland started assigning symbols like birds, animals, and snow-flakes to its every station. Put a good feeling in my mind.

    Trouble was that first effect was a spate of arguments as to what kind of animal was actually being depicted. Is it an otter, or a weasel (definitely my own favorite!)

    Since display-space inside the rail-car will be at an increasing premium, my remedy is an increased in – person passenger assistance. Don’t know about now, but years ago, homeless people in Vancouver BC really did earn some money giving station passengers exactly this kind of help.

    This remedy for inequity might serve all our transit agencies very well. Though what will work a lot better is to put these people on the payroll, ending Homelessness by means of Salary-Fullness.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Portland’s symbols were sectors. It would be like symbols for northwest Seattle, northeast Seattle, east Seattle, etc. I liked Portland’s symbols and was sad to see them go. Metro does something of the same with its xx, 1xx, 2xx, and 3xx numbering.

  16. Duncan M on Twitter had an interesting observation on the pictograms. ST is repeating the University [Street; of Washington; District] station naming confusion with the pictograms.

    There are 2 birds (Columbia City and Rainier Beach). There are 2 boats (Pioneer Square and Tukwila). Soon, there will be 2 deer (Othello and Roosevelt).

    1. Why don’t we start naming stations after people who have earned the right to be admired forever? Also can’t think of a better way of telling children about these people, and what they’ve done for us.

      Carl Christian Schurz- Anti-slavery Union Army general, Interior Secretary, Senator. Newton Knight of Louisiana, real life protagonist in the movie called “The Free State of Jones.”

      But also, considering their numbers, our present “Say Their Names” project should collect subjects by the dozens of thousands: Mostly Black people who shouldered Springfields on their country’s orders. At a time when people of another skin color could not get out of the Army fast enough.

      Check the tombstone plaques at the little Union Army cemetery a very short walk from the end of KCM Route 10’s 15th Capital Hill terminal. LWTC and the rest should definitely incorporate the molds and furnaces. And best of all for STB, a lot of ridership by students seeking bronze-work and in search of Examples.

      I’m not sure if either KCM or ST would accept donations from the NRA in return for these recognitions. But here’s a fool-proof way to put an end to the Cry-Babying about honoring anybody’s grey-uniformed Traditionaire’s.

      Accept monument-space donations from Confederate roots. But just have the Parks Commission place all these Grey Ghosts directly in front of the barrel of a “Napoleon” manned by Union Army cannoneers.

      And really important: Be sure that the figure touching the “fire” to the “Hole!” is not only Black, but named with their own placque. And, hey, where does it say a First-Hill streetcar CAN’T be named “Desire?” “Hey Stelllllllahhhh! Get on and stop blockin’ the door!”

      Mark Dublin

      1. “Why don’t we start naming stations after people who have earned the right to be admired forever?”

        Next Stop, Comment Section Sam Station

      2. Or, we can do what King County did and pick a generic name, like King or Sam, and then change who it is reference do depending on how community values change over time.

        Next stop, King Sam station.

  17. The sample sign I see at the head of this posting….in same locations, could signs like this be converted to video and animated? And also, exactly like a TV screen, show real-time videos and pictures of what they’re describing.

    Would definitely cost ($) and a half. But I think passenger good-will and delay-avoidance would more than pay for the expense, measured by both attracting new passengers and improved service to existing ones. “Picture’s worth a thousand words” is not just theoretically budgetary.

    Mark Dublin

  18. Does anyone have any anecdotes of being in a foreign county, and something about their transit maps or station names or pictograms confused you to the point you either got on the wrong train or bus, or you missed your stop?

    1. In Moscow there’s a joke about a woman tourist who always ends up at metro station “Ulitsa 1905 goda” (Street of Year 1905) because it’s the only name with numbers she can read.

      One guidebook suggested people should memorize the first and last letters of the station name. The problem with that is over half the names end in “-aya”.

      There’s a pair of adjacent stations Izmaylovskii Park and Izmaylovskaya. The real park is at Izmaylovskaya, not Izmaylovskii Park. Izmaylovskii Park station is for a street market by that name.

      The station closest to the Kremlin is called Kitay-Gorod (China-Town). There’s no Chinatown there, and there’s disagreement on whether there ever was a Chinese community there. The neighborhood may have been named after China, or an obsolete word that’s now spelled identical to it. (England has lots of accidental homonyms like that; e.g., Reading, Crewe, the -by suffix.)

    2. Maybe this counts, Sam. First trip to Zurich, on a “stretch my legs” walk around Downtown after stowing my luggage at a hotel, I started walking briskly up-hill. Where everything in Switzerland also is if it’s not in a valley.

      Up one mountain, and then descending through a forest preserve in “a” valley, though I had no cue as to which one. I ended up buying a really delicious dark-chocolate cherry brandy candy-bar at a sidewalk machine.

      A blue and white Zurich streetcar stopped for me, and the driver told me authoritatively that I was about two and a half minutes’ walk back to the exact right hotel. No easily available records regarding sweets- related additions to the death-toll. Like anybody would ever be allowed to walk the streets in any liqueur-deprived stupor.

      Liquor Control Board had best to loosen its nicety-hating grip. As long as I’ve got my little finger pointed forward of my demitasse cup, All The Law and I should have to say to each other is how good that particular coffee is at that moment.

      Compared to other worldwide systems that are having Hell’s own fine time on streetcars the late self-priding Paul N. Weyrich, who I’m pretty sure the Vatican’s got down for sainthood, would appear from the Flames to deliver pestilence on those who deny that streetcars are as necessary as they cost.

      Overture or not, I’m not sure the late Wilhelm Tell would’ve fond much fondness in the tolerant set. But I’m also pretty sure History would bear me out on the question of bikes in street lanes, let alone claims that a Swiss can’t handle grooved rail.

      “Galumph galumph galumph galumph galumph “Hiyo- SILVERRRRRRRRRR! never did get to be that country’s national anthem, but it was sure in the running! Streetcar left me at the doorstep of my hotel, just finishing the last of the cherry brandy in my candy-bar.

      And if weed is legal, pretty good case that as long as I keep my little-finger extended under my pre-paid demitasse, Washington Liquor Control Board can just keep its aim where warranted.

      With the freeways so terminally awful, the Board had best consider that making liqueur The New State Beverage could be vital to the rail construction AKA their own re-appointment. “Yo-delay-dee-HOOOOOO” is a great State song. Sing it accordingly.

      Mark Dublin

  19. AJ, Sam’s onto something regarding the memorials. Especially in the United States of America, the problem Sam’s noticed is really cause for Pause.

    History’s so badly taught in our country, it can take many years after the statue has been created and installed some oversensitive nosey-body discovers what a “Breeding Plantation” delivered to its customers.

    Because somebody’s twelve year old daughter can wait a few years to discover who had the wider choice of mate for her offspring. A young woman or her dog? But do I want to force anyone to “BURY OUR PROUD HISTORY?”

    Just the opposite. Waste that toxic can never go into any known receptacle and just dropped in a hole. It’d poison the water supply worse than Michigan’s recent Republican Governor did to Flint.

    But to remember the service of the men and women who got killed taking down that putrid puppy-land of a nation, it’s worth some sustained research on Transit’s park to honor what a country even this free can do when called upon.

    I just wish Ruth Fisher was still here to open her Board Room for future meetings. A lot would be a whole lot different.

    Mark Dublin

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