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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #09-027

Contact: Seth Solomonow/Nicole Garcia (212) 839-4850

DOT Commissioner Unveils Traffic Safety Signs Created By NYC Public School Students

New signs enhance safety around schools in five boroughs and teach children about traffic safety

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today joined with school officials and students to unveil a new traffic safety sign designed by New York City public school students at P.S. 6 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, the last in a five-borough series of community-focused, school-safety education projects that teach students about pedestrian and traffic safety on City streets. P.S. 6 is one of five elementary schools where fifth grade students were selected to participate in a unique curriculum developed by DOT’s Office of Safety Education with the nonprofit Groundswell Community Mural Project, taking a close look at street and traffic conditions around schools and creating colorful, one-of-a-kind traffic signs with messages like “Stop/Look,” and “Be Aware/Cuidado” to post at the curbside around their schools. Other participating schools included P.S. 73 in the Bronx, P.S. 4 in Manhattan, P.S. 35 in Staten Island and P.S. 135 in Queens. Currently, two signs are temporarily installed near each of the students’ schools and together represent the combined effort of more than 100 students who contributed to the project to increase safety awareness and prevent accidents.

"Safety is the most important goal of any transportation network, and innovative programs that teach street-smart practices to children are a significant down payment toward preparing and protecting the next generation of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "These five signs reflect the safety awareness of the students who created them, and they will also prompt the increased awareness of the thousands who will see these signs as they walk, drive or bike down these streets."

"This was a wonderful opportunity for the DOT and the Department of Education and my school to develop a partnership that allowed for students to engage in a process of observing, critiquing, planning, collaborating, designing and completing a project that will benefit their community,” said Ellen Carlisle, Principal of P.S. 6. “My students thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to design their traffic sign. The DOT facilitators, along with the Groundswell artist, were wonderful and worked extremely well with the students."

Safety education is a key component in the agency’s aggressive goal of reducing the number of citywide traffic fatalities by 50% by 2030 from the 2007 level, a goal outlined in the DOT’s strategic plan, Sustainable Streets. DOT has already undertaken unprecedented traffic-calming efforts through its Safe Routes to Schools and Safe Streets for Seniors campaigns, which target accident-prone schools and high-accident senior corridors citywide for safety upgrades that range from improved crosswalks and signal timing to improved signs and markings. DOT’s safety education program includes six Safety City facilities that provide street-safety training to students through street-simulation scenarios. Safety City staff also visit senior centers, distribute and fit bicycle helmets as part of its Safety on Wheels program, which promotes bicycle safety; and lead workshops that educate the public on the importance of car seats and correct installation. The division is also responsible for overseeing DOT’s role in leading the Safe Kids New York City coalition, a consortium that brings together health and safety experts, educators, corporations, government agencies and other stakeholders to educate and protect families from unintentional injuries.

For this sign design program, students participated in a 14-session traffic- and pedestrian-safety lesson plan taught by a DOT traffic safety instructor, followed by hands-on sign design workshops led by a Groundswell artist and field trips to DOT’s Sign Shop in Maspeth, Queens. To produce the signs, the students used traditional sign silhouettes in new scenarios and color combinations to convey their personalized safety messages for pedestrians and motorists in their respective areas. DOT installed each school’s two signs, all of which were manufactured at its sign shop, at locations where students identified the need for additional pedestrian safety signage in their school community.

For more information about DOT and its traffic-calming and safety-education initiatives, visit www.nyc.gov/dot. For more information about Groundswell, go to www.groundswellmural.org.

Read the press release (pdf)

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