Frustrated with the New York City subway in general? Or afraid of L-magaddon, the 2019 shutdown of the L subway line from 8th Avenue to Bedford? You can escape into urban planning fantasy with the website, “Brand New Subway” and build your own system. If building an entire transit system seems daunting have no fear. You can start with the existing system today and go from there. You can fast forward to 2025 with its proposed changes. You can go back to 1972, with the map by Massimo Vignelli. There’s a 1936 map that can’t be selected yet, but we assume is coming. Or you can start completely from scratch.
The game was developed by Jason Wright, a Crown Heights resident and electrical engineer by trade. Like many gamers, he tells amny, he grew up on Sim City and has also played more recent transit games like Mini Metro, which we covered on Untapped Cities earlier this year. Wright built the game for the contest “The Power Broker” – the winner will win the “Robert Moses Cup” and $2,000.
This is how Brand New Subway works. After you select your base map (or start from scratch), click on one of the transit lines in the right bar. This include the MTA lines, the Air Train, the Staten Island Railway, forthcoming lines like the Second Avenue Subway (T line), and proposed lines like the Brooklyn Queens Connector streetcar (BQX) and Triboro X. There are also old lines available that don’t run anymore, if you select “Show Additional Lines” like the K (formerly the double-lettered AA line), and the 8, 10, 11, 12 lines.
For example, our office is based in Crown Heights. We usually bike around Brooklyn, but sometimes it would be nice not to take a 45+ minute bus ride to Williamsburg and Greenpoint area. It would be really great if the S shuttle was extended just one stop to Bedford-Nostrand Av G stop, after which we could connect to the L. Here’s what it would look like:
We also revised the layout of the LaGuardia AirTrain plan, which has been rather maligned. The current plan is to connect to LaGuardia from the LIRR at Mets-Willets Point on the Port Washington line and the 7 stop at Mets-Willets and go to LaGuardia. Given the hub at Jackson Heights, it would have made more sense to begin the AirTrain there, something Benjamin Kabak from Second Avenue Subways also mentions in his analysis. We drew this first using the existing Air Train line (first image below), which would connect it to JFK Airport, but Wright showed us that the LGA Air Train is its own option when you select Show Addition Lines. The second image below shows this possibility.
The game evaluates our system with a grade riding and estimates ridership, but Wright is continuing to work on making the data end even more accurate.