Emily Badger is a former staff writer at CityLab. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific Standard, GOOD, The Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area.
Baltimore gets an edible fantasy transit system.
There are upwards of 140 Subway sandwich shops in the Baltimore metropolitan region, which is a whole lot more than there are actual subway transit stops (which, as you may recall from that early Subway wallpaper, provided the original inspiration for the franchise). Baltimore today has just one partially underground subway line running from Owings Mills to the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Otherwise, the city primarily gets around by car, bus and light rail.
You can image, though, how the ubiquitous sandwich shop might get a transit enthusiast thinking. And so we bring you, thanks to Baltimore resident Chris Nelson, this dream map of a subway system for the region if all its Subway restaurants were actual transit stops:
Nelson runs a well-known site in the city, burgersub.org, that's been plotting regional homicides in the area since 2005 on Google Maps. The Subway/subway project was a bit of a departure. "As far as my thinking," Nelson tells us in an email, "well I like to imagine what my city would be like if I were running all the planning decisions."
His above map was made to resemble this hopeful subway system sketched by the Greater Baltimore Committee as part of its vision for the city in the year 2030. To model something similar in the nexus of sandwich shops, Nelson used every Subway in Baltimore City, and all but two in Baltimore County (the other two, he says, are located in a rural northern part of the county where it obviously wouldn't make sense to run a subway line). There are also some Subways thrown in from Anne Arundel and Howard counties.
You may notice that some of the Subways on Nelson's map are listed by the company as "coming soon." But they're all the same for Nelson's purposes – the point is that the sandwich chain serves pretty much everyone... unlike, too often, public transit.