Photo by Robert Fernandez
And the story behind this compelling image, shot on the fence of the municipal parking lot on Avenue Z, is: The New York City Department of Transportation invested $25,000 into haikus and stick-figure illustrations, such as the one you see above (sans haiku), in an attempt to curb increased pedestrian fatalities and “prod the city’s plugged-in throngs to put down their smartphones and pay more attention” [when they cross the street].
The $25,000 transportation grant from the state was comprised of accrued fines generated from DWI arrests. DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who is also a strong proponent of bike lanes and pedestrian plazas, touted the initiative as a “way to surprise people on the streets of New York.”
Surprise! Not everyone is impressed, though.
Queens City Councilman Eric Ulrich, a member of both the City Council’s Public Safety and Transportation committees, told the New York Post that, “I can think of better ways to spend $25,000 of the state’s money — it’s a waste,’’ and his colleague, City Councilman James Vacca, chair of the Transportation Committee concurred: “I think most drivers would feel safer if DOT forgot about the haikus and fixed potholes within three days instead of 10.’’
John Morse, the East Village artist who designed the artwork, told the Post that, he just wants people to “think about the fragility of your body. You’re just a human. You’re nothing against these cars.”
Thanks for the reminder, John.
It makes other failed initiatives that attempted to “prod the city’s plugged-in throngs to put down their smartphones and pay more attention” seem not all that crazy after all.
What do you think of the initiative?