Lengthening of TransLink station names

Get station names back to short and sweet (Greater Greater Washington, via Human Transit)

Inspired by the ridiculous name lengths of some stations in the USA (and in Washington in particular), I decided to do a similar analysis of metro Vancouver SkyTrain stations.

Signage for Joyce-Collingwood Station. Taken by flickr@sillygwailo, and used in accordance with his Creative Commons license.

TransLink’s SkyTrain system currently has 47 stations. (As per my practice, and only recently done by TransLink itself, Broadway/Commercial is considered one station.) The number of characters as used in official station names (ie. what’s actually showing on maps and on platforms) ranges from 5 (Braid) to 25 (Main Street-Science World and Production Way-University). The median number of characters is 11.

What gets interesting is the average by SkyTrain line, as shown in the table below. I think the addition of a descriptor (usually of the neighbourhood to which the station is attached, if that’s not already the name of the station) to the usual street name for a station has contributed to the lengthening of station names. Only three Expo Line stations (Stadium, Main, and Joyce) have had their descriptors added after the line opened. The Millennium and Canada Line stations have had their descriptors included from day one.

SkyTrain Line # of Stations Average # Characters
All Lines 47 12.7
Expo 20 11.6
Millennium 14 12.6
Canada 16 14.2

I don’t have an issue with the neighourhood descriptors per se, but sometimes the link is tenuous at best, such as with Stadium-Chinatown, Sperling-Burnaby Lake, or Production Way-University. The places mentioned in the first two are a short walk from the station, but the latter requires a bus ride up a mountain to reach Simon Fraser University.

Unlike the poster at GGW suggesting the elimination of hyphenated station names in DC, I think they are OK, as long as it’s reasonable, and certainly not corporately named. For my part, I’d like to see Patterson-Central Park. What descriptors would you add to the current SkyTrain station names? Or what would you drop?

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