Apparently this city has really poor handwriting. 🙂
Just kidding. But it does have an awfully confusing footprint! This article from Slate.com talks all about how disorganized London is, and how professional “wayfinders” (yes, that is the correct term) are working to make the city more friendly.
One of the main tools to do this is by creating a new system of signage. The goal is to create maps that have recognizable landmarks (like the outlines of buildings) that will help the average–and clueless–pedestrian navigate around the city. To do this they’ve branded a new type of sign, it’s tall and mostly black and yellow. One thing that I really appreciate (but Alex didn’t, at first) is that the maps are not oriented in the traditional North-is-always-up manner. Instead, the maps are oriented so that whatever direction you’re facing as you look at the map is at the top. It’s much easier, especially in a city that doesn’t have a handy mountain range to orient yourself by!
Whilst (hee!) out and about over the weekend, Alex and I stumbled across one of these new Legible London maps. As you can see from the pictures, there are different maps on each side of the sign.
(I just noticed that the lady in this picture is giving Alex a really dirty look! I guess we were being quite touristy!)
There’s also a handy “You Are Here” point, with a circle showing the radius of a 5 minute walk. I think is really handy because so often tourists become dependent on the Tube, and will take the Piccadilly Line from Holborn to Covent Garden, for example, even though they are only about an 8-minute walk apart from one another! I think that taking the buses in London really is the way to travel, because it eliminates reliance on the tube. It’s amazing how close different neighborhoods really are, and if you spend all your time (and money!) going up and down into and out of the tube, you never really realize how walkable London is!
Speaking of which, I think I need to get some new shoes! We’ve walked mine to shreds!