There are 298 closed entrances to our city's subway network spread across 119 stations in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and The Bronx. Closed subway entrances have an overall negative impact on the neighborhoods they inhabit. The most obvious impact is the creation of bottlenecks inside and outside of stations. This not only results in increased dwell times, delays, and missed trains for riders, but it threatens street safety as crowds swarm to choke points at station entrances. Closed subway entrances also diminish economic opportunity. Vacant storefronts and struggling businesses abound near these closed subway entrances due to deactivated public space.
Accessing Currently Closed Entrances in Subway Stations in North Brooklyn (ACCESS N. BK) seeks to remedy this issue in North Brooklyn. They are a group of urban planners and activists focused on re-opening closed subway entrances at stations in Bed-Stuy, Bushwick and Williamsburg. Decades ago, MTA closed entrances at many subway stations to (1) prevent crime and (2) cut operating costs amidst budget cuts. However, crime has plummeted and the city's population has grown. Ridership is nearing an all-time high, and the neighborhoods of Bed-Stuy, Bushwick and Williamsburg continue to densify. It is now more critical than ever for the these neighborhoods, and the city as a whole, to have better access to public transportation. Re-opening closed subway entrances offers a relatively cheap option to expand access and re-activate public space.
ACCESS N. BK plans to take a creative and light-hearted approach to raising public awareness of the issue. They will be orchestrating a series of events combining street art, theater and technology with old-school community organizing tactics to bring awareness to this issue to the people in the affected communities and beyond.
Follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr and you might just get to see one of their events in action!
Why We Think This is Awesome
We love to see people taking hold of a broken system and trying to fix it themselves, especially when that system is as core to the city as our subways. Taking on the MTA is no easy feat, but the team from ACCESS N. BK has some great ideas on how to bring attention to this issue while having fun in the process. Awesome!
Funded by New York City, NY (August 2015)