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MTA Trying Out New Subway Maps

By Jill Colvin | July 8, 2011 6:34pm | Updated on July 8, 2011 11:26pm

MIDTOWN — Admit it: Even you seasoned straphangers need to sneak a peek at a subway map sometimes — and the MTA is quietly developing a new signage system they hope will help.

The new maps, which are now being tested along the 4/5 line and certain R platforms, look similar to the stop-trackers in newer trains, and tell riders what stop they're at and which stops lie ahead.

Nicknamed "strip signs" by the MTA, the maps, which are brightly colored with a matte black background, are being mounted on the columns that run alongside platforms, where the MTA frequently posts track changes.

"Similar to our mid-2010 redesigned service change posters, we're taking a fresh new approach to increase the availability of easy-to-read maps throughout the system," the MTA said in a statement describing the initiative.

The maps are meant to supplement the large, poster-sized diagrams located along many platforms.

"While every station already has a subway map, customers don't always have time to locate the map or sort through all of the information it provides. We're trying out a few ways of doing this as a pilot and we'll decide how to move forward based on customer feedback," the agency said.

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said it's still too early to discuss a potential timeline or estimate the cost of the project, and that a final design hasn't been chosen yet.

"This is a pre-cursor to the pilot," he said.

Officials are currently testing two versions of the maps: (the ones on the R lines are long and narrow, with a large letter logo, while the 4/5 signs are smaller and more square).

The MTA began to roll out the new signs in late May and early June.