New York is taking a unique approach to raising awareness for pedestrian safety. As part of an art installation, poetry designed to subtly raise pedestrian awareness have been posted throughout the city. The New York Department of Transportation has posted 200 signs combining art and safety, offering up “curbside haikus” to warn pedestrians of potential dangers.
City transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan says, “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.” With approximately 4,000 pedestrians killed or seriously injured in New York each year, some people question whether the 8 x 8 inch signs are going to have any sort of impact. However, criticisms of the signs being overly inconspicuous actually run in accordance with the artist’s goal of having the poems convey a sense of intimacy rather than appearing larger than life.
Because over half of New Yorkers don’t even own a car, Khan says the city needs stop looking at streets through a 1950s planning perspective and “really reevaluate and prioritize sustainable modes of transport.”
The curbside haiku signs will be up for one year, and you can see a video on the unique new safety program below: