Cedar on the Internet

A pipedream and an exercise in graphic design

Cover Image for A pipedream and an exercise in graphic design
Cedar Makhijani

The inspiration

I recently came upon designer Constantine Konovalov's New Paris Metro Map, and fell in love. Paris is famous for its huge station complexes.

I was super impressed with how cleanly Konovalov's diagram shows complicated interchanges and complexes, such as the monster Châtelet Les Halles, a complex consisting of many (5?) stations, all joined together.

Konovalov's diagram beautifully shows and simplifies Paris' monster Châtelet Les Halles station complex

Konovalov's map is a massive improvement over the official map, which leaves much to be desired. His use of an actual circle to represent the circle around the city formed by lines 2 and 6 is both visually pleasing, but also serves to focus a viewers eyes toward the center of the city. It provides a visual anchor, and elegantly displays a set of circular services as a circle, instead of forcing them into the bounds of unfriendly 45º angles.

The official map leaves much to be desired. It lacks a visual centrepiece, and looks chaotic and unfriendly.

I'm a huge fan of this map, from the style to the way it manipulates geography, while still leaving some accuracy (looking at you, London underground.) The use of only 0, 30, and 60º angles creates smoother edges and curves, and a sense of visual rhythm to the map.

The vision

Inspired by the beauty of Konovalov's map and inspired by the opening of San Francisco's first station complex at Union Square/Powell Station coming this weekend, I set out to create San Francisco in this style. I soon realised that San Francisco does not have enou

gh complexity or lines on the map to warrant a style developed to display complexities, so I took to adding some complexity.

Bringing in some chaos

My map brings San Francisco from 1 subway line and 2 regional rail lines to 7 metro lines (6 rail and 1 busway) and 3 regional rail lines.

A short and nonexhaustive list of what I've done to San Francisco.

  • Muni Metro is now one, fully grade separated metro line, running from Embarcadero to Daly City via SF State and Stonestown (Line 1, green)
  • Geary has finally been given the metro line it deserves. Line 2 runs from 42 Av to Union Square, meeting the P suburban line at Park Presidio, the Van Ness Busway (line 7) at Van Ness, and the Central Subway (line 4), BART suburban trains (line S) and line 1 at a massive Powell–Union Square station complex before diving deep under the Market St subway and terminating at the Transbay Terminal, where it meets Peninsula Regional trains and California High Speed rail.
  • The N Judah becomes a subway, running from a Great Highway station in the westside to Chase Center in the east. Along the way it interchanges with the Sunset line (line 5), the P suburban line, line 1, S suburban trains, the busway, the central line (line 6), Peninsula Regional trains at 22 St, and line 4 at Chase Center. It has a perpendicular interchange (like Toronto's Bloor-Yonge or D.C.'s Metro Center) at Church with line 1, which could very well become the busiest station in the network.
  • BART is extended up 19 Av and Park Presidio to Marin from Millbrae and the airport, taking over the peninsula portion of the route (current BART now terminates at Daly City), forming the P suburban line.
  • Sunset Bl gets a train (29 Sunset riders rejoice!) which travels from the VA Hospital, meets line 2 at Geary and 38 Av, dives under Golden Gate Park (with a station at Fulton–park lovers rejoice!), meets line 3, line 6, stops at Sloat, takes Eucalyptus to Stonestown, then heads down Ocean Av to City College, Balboa Park, McLaren Park and the Van Ness Busway before finally terminating at an interchange with the Third St line (line 4).
  • Van Ness BRT is extended down South Van Ness and Mission St toward Daly City in the south, and onto Lombard and then Hwy 101 to San Rafael in the north (this is one of my more reasonable proposals; GGBHTD and Caltrans, expect to hear from me about this).
  • The Taraval train is back and better than ever, now as a metro. It runs underground from the Zoo (yes, it actually ends at the Zoo now), under Taraval to West Portal, then under Mt Davidson to Glen Park, where it meets S suburban trains and the line 7 busway. It then elevates and runs in the median of 280 and the central freeway (both of which suck, hopefully this can help justify their removal in the eyes of God (Caltrans)). It interchanges with line 1 on Market at a new station on Octavia, and then terminates 1 stop later at Patricia's Green (maybe the housing there can actually built...).
  • Central Subway becomes line 4, which runs elevated and underground along Third St (no more hitting and getting hit by left turning trucks!), then dives underground in Mission Bay, serves UCSF and Chase Center, meets some P suburban trains at King Station. It's also extended north to Washington Square (the tunnels for this already exist!) and terminates at Pier 41. It recieves a realignment to meet P suburban trains at Bayshore station, and then jogs west to terminate at Cow Palace.
  • Over 100 new stations
  • Many new lines

The map!

This is the most fun I've had working on a design project in quite a while, and I'm really happy with the final result.

The final map and legend

If you're even remotely as thrilled with this as I am, stay tuned and follow me on mastodon or the big bad birdsite, as I might get some prints made of this and sell them.


Cover Image for What I'm listening to (3/23)

What I'm listening to (3/23)

Frank Sinatra, ODESZA, BADBADNOTGOOD, Yo La Tengo, Nat "King" Cole, Paul Simon, Jimi Hendrix and Phoebe Bridgers, to name a few. Also The Power Broker and Reply All.

Cedar Makhijani
Cover Image for Bylines


Cedar Makhijani