You’re probably asking yourself, what’s the meaning behind these subway maps? And who exactly is Metro Posters?

Hi. I’m Mike. I’m a freelance web designer from Rochester, NY. If you clicked on “About us” thinking this was some big corporate operation, you should know it’s mostly just me, with the support of my friends and family. I created this website and designed most of the stuff on it.

My short story is:
I’m a total design nerd, and I ❤️ cities. So naturally I design fantasy subway maps in my free time.

If you want the long story, read on…

I grew up on Long Island and as a teenager would frequently hop on the LIRR or NYC subway to “hang out” in “the city” with “friends”. No idea why those things deserve “quotes” but it seems appropriate to me. Point is, thanks to public transportation 🚃🚃🚃🚃, I had the freedom to travel and explore my world – even though I didn’t have a car at that point in my life. In hindsight it was that freedom 🇺🇸 and those experiences during my car-less years that molded me into the ___(insert adjective)___ person I am today.

When I moved to Rochester to attend design school, I no longer had the same freedom. Rochester’s bus-only transit system 🚍🚏barely reached my college campus in the suburbs, and even when a bus did come around, it would take me around mall parking lots and loop-de-loops for an hour before even getting close to where I wanted to be. 

😕 “Eh, no thanks,” I said. “I’ll drive.”

But then I learned that little old Rochester, a city of less than 250,000, actually HAD a SUBWAY for nearly 30 years back in the early 1900s. 🤯 It’s true. I’ll spare you the details – suffice to say that subway was replaced with a highway 🚘 🚖 🚔 🚘 and is no longer around today. You should Wiki it.

That incredible bit of information about this little city on Lake Ontario that punched above its weight class in the early 1900s led me to design my first fake-not-fake subway map, for Rochester. And it inspired a new generation.

Suddenly I found myself giving interviews to local news media and national publications, and being invited to speak to live audiences about urban planning and transportation issues. Mind you, my only formal education is in art & design. But very hesitantly, I began speaking up… 

Yeah, that’s me giving a TEDx talk. 🤦‍♂️ 

Boosted by my new platform and a swell of local interest in mass transit, I organized a group of people who rolled up their sleeves and got to work helping Rochester to reimagine how transportation in their city should work. Can you imagine “millennials” and “Boomers” working alongside each other? Well that’s what happened.

The group became known as Reconnect Rochester, a non-profit that champions transportation choices (ie. 🏃🏼🚲 🚎🚃🚠 etc.) with the aim of making it easier for everyone—regardless of physical or economic ability—to get around.

10 years later, thanks to the tireless advocacy of Reconnect Rochester and others, Rochester has completely redesigned its public transit system. In 2020 we’ll have 10 new high-frequency routes and 20 streamlined local routes (no more Loop-de-Loops), all with much more consistent schedules 7-days a week, plus investments in new multimodal connection hubs featuring bus shelters, signage, bike share, and other ride sharing options. 🎉 🥂

No, Rochester isn’t rebuilding its subway.

And No, I’m not trying to bring a real subway system to any of the cities I’ve designed maps for. Today I enjoy visiting and exploring cities outside of my home state. And these new subway maps are just for fun. 🙃

But hey, if someone were to get inspired and started to dig a tunnel under some street somewhere, that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, in my mind.

Metro Posters