I've been vocal about my signage-related transit issues since May of this year. I could go on at length about the system's flaws, but, in short: the signs are bad. After I wrote a Slog post saying as much, Sound Transit promised me via Twitter that they would fix their wayfinding problem. And yet here we are, smack in the middle of dour October, and they haven't done a thing about it.
Luckily for us, one citizen took time out of their difficult and challenging life to right one of the many wrongs about the light rail signage system: its elevator button label thingies. Citizen, let me count the ways I love thee.
First, I like the way you're working with what you got. "S" is for "street" and not "station" or "'S' floor, whatever that is," or anything else. Without this very accurate label, I just have to trust that the top button is going to take me above ground, but not too far above ground or to some other place in the station. And what the fuck is with the star? Sometimes I want to go to the street. Sometimes I want to go to the trains. Both of them are my go-to places, and so both kinda deserve the star. The word "street" tells me right where I'm headed, and that soothes me.
*Small Update:* One of my colleagues has informed me that the star indicates an exit, a fact known only to the monks of elevator button translation.
I also appreciate the "Middle" label. Though the word "Middle" isn't as precise as I'd like, after you've been through the station a few times you'll understand that "Middle" is that weird little area above the trains but below the entrance. It's certainly better than using "M" for "Mezzanine."
Mezzanine, which kinda rhymes with Byzantine, which means "all fucked up like a maze," which too closely describes the labyrinthine underworld Sound Transit is forcing everyone to navigate.
Three cheers for that question mark where "B" is. I've never touched that button, nor will I. (Except, I suppose now that I am writing an article I must do it for Journalism. I'll head to the station and update this post once I know where "B" truly takes me. My hunch right now is that it will take me to "bones.")
The B floor, so far as I can tell, is a secret level you can only access with a special key. No matter how many times you push the button while other people are trying to get where they need to go, the elevator won't stop there. I've put in a call to Sound Transit, and I'll update this post once I hear back.
"Trains" is the perfect label. "P" for "Platform" is so dumb. So dumb! Normally the "P" stands for "Parking," but there's no parking. And intuitively, it's weird to descend to a platform, so even if you know that "platform" means "where the trains are," you question whether you should push the "P." And you don't want to be questioning yourself in a crowded elevator when people are trying to catch the dang train.
In sum, I approve these labels. To all my OCD crafters with label makers: I call upon you to help Sound Transit out the way this vandal has helped them out.
A spokesperson for Sound Transit told me that “B” means "back of house/maintenance level."
The spokesperson assured me that Sound Transit was "in the process of ordering standard elevator labels now," but added that they didn't yet have an installation date.