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The Most Incredible Underground Art Exhibit You'll Never See

In 2010, a group of 103 artists staged an exhibition in one of the most obscure locations imaginable: underground New York City.

In 2010, a group of 103 artists staged an exhibition in one of the most obscure locations imaginable: underground New York City. They invited no one to the opening. To this day, the artists, one New York Times reporter, and a few MTA employees who have already boarded up their work, know where this vast underground gallery now know as the Underbelly Project, lives. 18 months in the making, from early 2009 to mid 2010, some of the worlds' most prominent graffiti writers like Swoon, Faile, Ron English, Revok and Lister were invited by curators (and street artists) Workhorse and PAC to make a section of New York's subway tunnels beautiful in their own way.

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Public transportation projects often take decades to fully complete and cost billions. But they empower communities, benefit the environment and reduce traffic congestion—and sometimes they can also last less than a month and cost a few thousand dollars. In Albuquerque, local designer and developer Ben Byrne became city planner du jour recently when he shared his vision for an Albuquerque subway.
Painstakingly crafted with authentic details, his schematic map of the greater Albuquerque area includes six subway lines extending from Coronado Monument to the Hard Rock Pavilion, with clearly-labeled stations and transit hubs that mimic the look of some of the world’s most famous subway maps. Stops like the Sunport, Old Town, Nob Hill and the Tram provide convenient access for tourists, while others help commuters get to work and back.
The map was submitted to social networks for review and became a viral sensation. Enthusiastic Burqueños virtually voted through likes and shares to approve the plan. Concerns were raised about the lack of access to lower income neighborhoods and inquiries were made on completion times. For the indefinite future, the people of Albuquerque can continue debating this project, while they enjoy their subway as wall art—since this construction project is limited to a print run of 18 x 24 posters.
Ben was inspired by his friends’ work at Transit Authority Figures, producing several “fake subway maps” for cities like Austin, Texas and island communities like Martha’s Vineyard. Though Rob and Damia of TAF were not involved in the design of this particular map, Ben credits them with the general look and feel of the design.
I have made my pledge to this project and intend on expanding the possibilities into the physical environment. This subway map is a way to dream about our collective future. My own program, A/WAY, started with our meal-based microgranting Give A/WAY dinners, part of the Sunday Soup network. Ben’s faux map allowed us to collectively dream about how we are all connected and how we want more for our city. We want better public transportation. We want to be better connected.
After the successful completion of his Kickstarter, with Ben’s blessing, we intend to keep this inspiring project alive, and A/WAY will be physically marking off the subway points in each community for future “groundbreaking.” These points will become virtual social network stations where visitors can share their concerns about public transportation in our city. Using Twitter and Textizen, the open source survey platform from Code for America, we hope to open the dialogue to citizens to voice their thoughts about public transportation in Albuquerque.
I encourage you to share and support Phase I of this project—the poster, the only physical manifestation of the "proposed" subway. Pledge your support through Kickstarter to be rewarded with your own poster.

This project will be featured in GOOD's Saturday series Push for Good—our guide to crowdfunding creative progress.

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Public Transportation Systems Are Leaving People With Disabilities Behind

Cities need public transit. But it's important that these systems don't leave people with disabilities stranded.


To use New York City's paratransit service—the on-demand public transportation system for people who can’t use the bus or the subway system—a customer must call one to two days in advance, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. She can request a pickup time or submit an appointment time by which she must reach her destination, but not both. The driver will pick her up anywhere from 30 minutes before to 30 minutes after the agreed-upon time. If anything changes, the customer must call three hours in advance to cancel the trip.

That’s more hassle than most people would put up with to visit a doctor or have dinner at a restaurant or go to the store. And that’s how the system is supposed to work. Before the Americans with Disabilities Act passed more than 20 years ago, there was no guarantee that public transit would serve disabled people at all. The ADA required paratransit service as a supplement to public transportation systems, as well as increased access on regular public transit routes for people with disabilities.

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