Nice Tunnel, Shame About The Screens

TORONTO, ONTARIO: July 30 2015 -  Media and special guests get a first look at the tunnel to Billy Bishop Airport  in Toronto, Ontario, Thursday July 30, 2015. The new link to the island airport officially opens to the public today. (Tyler Anderson / National Post)  (For Toronto story by Richard Warnica) //NATIONAL POST STAFF PHOTO
PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL POST

If you fly into Toronto via the little island airport just off downtown, it’s great in just about every way.

Handy. Great view coming in and leaving. Fun carrier in Porter Airlines.

But the island airport was always accessible only by what has to be among the shortest ferry rides in existence. The handy airport was defeated by a pokey old service you might have to wait 15 minutes for to get OFF the island and into the city.

That all changed recently, with the opening of a pedestrian tunnel that negates the need for that _)*()&*!! ferry. The tunnel looks great, but as Jeff Wismer of Toronto’s Big Digital asked in a tweet, some of the signage down there is a great lesson in what not to do.

The escalator screens – borrowing on a decade-old idea launched in London’s Tube stops – are great. No issue.

It’s the big tiled displays along the walkway.

1 – As Jeff notes, too high. Who’s looking up 10 feet?

2 – More to the point, who’s looking up and to the sides. You are going somewhere – TO a flight or INTO the city. People are looking ahead. The screens should be in the middle, suspended, where they might actually have an audience and service a purpose. Yes, they’d make the tunnel feel a little more constructed and enclosed, but …

If the content is just ambient (doubt it), even along the walls those screens should be lower. There are lots of airports – like JFK – that have eye-level screens along the moving walkways. So it’s not like it’s never been seen or done.

So … GREAT to finally have a way to walk to and from the island terminal. But the signage in that newly minted tunnel could already use a common sense rethink.