Look for a F(underpass) near you

A New York City pedestrian underpass is getting a makeover and a new name: F(underpass).

The news broke that the New York City Department of Small Business Services had awarded a $75,000 grant to the Atlantic Avenue BID to transform the dark, empty stretch of Atlantic Avenue beneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway into a funderpass. (Or, as it’s sometimes spelled, F(underpass).)

The details of the funderpass — a collaboration between the BID, Planning Corps, and the Design Trust for Public Space — are still being hashed out. It could include colorful artwork by Groundswell and a bicycle pump, and will bridge the space between the shops of Atlantic Avenue and the brand-new park space beyond.

These sorts of pedestrian underpasses are often dreary affairs: the lighting often isn’t very good, they can attract graffiti, and they may be noisy if the overhead noise is loud or consistent enough. This all is not very inviting to pedestrians. So including artwork and help for bicyclists might bring some vibrancy and perhaps even connect two spaces.

Here is what I wonder: once these improvements are made, how much work would it take to maintain it and who will do it? This could just be the details that need to be worked out but this is an important question as an improvement like this should be sustainable.

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