No, Raleigh is not getting a subway system.
“That’s the most common question I get when people see the maps,” said Nicholas Sailer, 25, who designed a hypothetical subway map for the City of Oaks.
Sailer’s map, inspired by New York City’s subway system, features transit lines connecting Raleigh neighborhoods. The blue line runs parallel to the Interstate 440 Beltline from New Hope Commons to Aviation Parkway. The yellow and orange lines snake through downtown.
Sailer, who founded visual agency Praxis in Raleigh six months ago, wanted to create a grid that shows the city’s layout.
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“The way people view their city has a lot to do with what image they have of it,” Sailer said. “A shared understanding of a city’s geography can help people understand the relationship between communities and neighborhoods.”
After graduating from N.C. State University’s College of Design in 2013, Sailer moved to New York City to intern at several creative studios and companies. Like many New Yorkers, he regularly rode the subway.
To navigate the five boroughs, Sailer studied the web of colorful lines displayed on large maps posted in nearly every subway station. The maps were “beautiful and understandable,” he said.
About a year later, Sailer returned to Raleigh but found himself missing the Big Apple and the “sexiness of an underground subway.” His nostalgia, coupled with an interest in public transportation and experience in design, led him to create a map of Raleigh.
“Maps are an amazing way of communicating that sometimes get overlooked,” said Sailer, who previously co-founded and worked as a chief creative officer for Betabox, a mobile prototyping lab.
During the design process, Sailer studied Google maps of Raleigh and factored in popular neighborhoods, prominent landmarks and future population growth.
Aided by a $1,000 grant from the Awesome Foundation, a global philanthropic network that awards grants through local chapters, he began selling the maps last spring. Restaurants, bars and shops can order a copy online for free. Individuals can buy a map for $29.99.
Though Sailer decided to create the maps for fun, he hopes they will spark interest in public transportation systems. Sailer is an advocate of the Wake County Transit Plan, which residents will vote on Nov. 8. The plan, which would be funded by a half-cent sales tax hike, would increase bus service.
In a rapidly growing county, Sailer believes a fast, efficient system of public transit is necessary. Raleigh could benefit from such a system, he said.
“Thinking and approaching public transit in an imaginative way might make it happen,” Sailer said.
Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler
See the map
To check out or buy a copy of the subway map, go to http://bit.ly/2eKVpRH.