New York City’s Curbside Haiku, Ignored Pedestrian Safety Program
Back in November 2011 the New York City Department of Transportation introduced a new program aimed at promoting pedestrian safety in the city, but it has largely gone unnoticed. The campaign is called “Curbside Haiku” and it utilizes art and Haikus written and created by artist John Morse. The eight-by-eight inch signs are located at 144 locations throughout the city at locations which have been deemed high-crash locations.
There are twelve different designs and haikus, two of them in Spanish, and they play on classic road signs and hope that they will catch people’s attention and reduce the high occurrence of pedestrian accidents in the City. The campaign is being funded by a state grant from DWI funds according to NBC New York.
First Coast News reported that an estimated 4,000 pedestrians are killed or seriously injured in traffic accidents each year. They spoke with Janette Sadik-Khan, the Transportation Commissioner for NYC, who first announced the campaign.
“The idea is to take a new approach and try some different ways to get the message across to pedestrians that they need to look out when they’re crossing the street,” Sadik-Khan explained. “For far too long we’ve looked at our streets through a 1950’s planning perspective, a windshield perspective. And when you think about the fact that over half of New Yorkers don’t even own a car, we need to really reevaluate and prioritize sustainable modes of transport.”
Some of the signs will feature the image paired with a haiku and as NBC explained, “Others will be equipped with technology to allow New Yorkers to access the safety message via smartphone.”
This is a pedestrian safety campaign that has not been used before and it will be interesting to see how things will progress during the 11 months these signs will be on display in NYC. First Coast News spoke with New Yorkers out on the streets and the general consensus was that the signs were easy to miss and that they did not understand how they would help.
To read more about this program and to view all of the signs check out the NYC Department of Transportation safety education page.
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