New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the results of the second annual “We’re Walking Here” competition, with PS 94/The David D. Porter School in Queens, PS 19SI/The Curtis School in Staten Island and the Academy of Innovative Technology in Brooklyn earning first, second and third place, respectively, for their public service announcements (PSA) to help promote walking as a safe, healthy and practical way to get around. DOT also announced the expansion of it Bike to School program to five schools—Brooklyn’s El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice, Mott Hall IV Middle School and Academy for Conservation and Environment, Manhattan’s Bea Fuller Rodgers Intermediate School 528 and the Bronx’s Leadership Academy—to highlight the safety and ease of bicycling and incorporating it into a weekday routine. For both programs, participating schools download lesson plans and grade-specific curricula developed by DOT’s Safety Education and Outreach division. This year’s theme for We’re Walking Here is “Let Your Feet Meet the Street!,” and the PSAs can be viewed at nyc.gov/walkingschools.
“New York City’s students are becoming our teachers when it comes to making our streets even safer for walking and biking,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Exciting lesson plans centered on being active today can carry on for a safe and healthy lifetime.”
The first place winner from the We’re Walking Here competition received a $1,000 grant. It was produced by PS 94’s third and fourth grade glee club performing their own rendition of the classic Fats Domino tune “I’m Walkin,” while walking along Littleneck Parkway in Queens. The Curtis School received $750 for the PSA developed by two 5th grade classes that put color to the “Let Your Feet Meet the Street” theme with fast-paced dance moves. Work by 9th and 10th graders at the Academy of Innovative Technology earned a $500 prize for the school, and used rhythm, humor and style to encourage safe walking practices among peers. These winning videos are the culmination of two-week walking tallies by the classes and the completion of other academic exercises that help students recognize the benefits of active transportation and give them the tools to share what they learn with others. All prize money is provided by the Safe Streets Fund, a private-public partnership dedicated to promoting active transportation and livable streets. The “We’re Walking Here” competition launches each year in October in honor of Walk to School Month. Schools are encouraged to participate and will be eligible for prizes.
Following the launch of the first DOT’s Bike to School program curricula with Brooklyn’s MS 51, IS302 and PS89 middle schools, DOT is now partnering with five middle and high schools that expressed interested in working with the agency and co-sponsors Bike New York and Recycle a Bicycle. They were chosen from 17 applicant schools and were selected based on the need to encourage and showcase bike riding as a viable, healthy and fun mode of transportation to school and throughout the community. Participating schools will receive bicycle safety instruction, with students learning safe, smart practices for riding, while also learning about the role they play in the street environment and sharing the roads with pedestrians and motorists. For their participation, each school will receive a $500 grant from the Safe Streets Fund. DOT will assist schools with route planning, installing bike racks as requested and providing helmets.
New York City’s streets are safer than ever, with the last five years recording the fewest traffic fatalities in the City’s recorded history. DOT’s safety education and outreach efforts are a vital component to building on those safety gains. As the agency redesigns streets for better safety, its education arm helps New Yorkers understand and embrace their shared responsibilities as pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists in making streets even safer.