February 2, 2023
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NYC DOT Announces the Relaunch of the ‘We’re Walking Here’ NYC Competition – In Conjunction with Hip-Hop 50
Part of Vision Zero, this comprehensive safety communications project for students in grades K-12 encourages walking and promotes an active lifestyle while making educational videos to encourage safer driving on our streets
New York – The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced the relaunch for the "We're Walking Here" competition, in which schools compete to develop creative public-service announcements (PSAs) that encourage walking and give young New Yorkers the platform to communicate with New York drivers. The competition encourages fitness and builds on the City's Vision Zero efforts that aim to educate New Yorkers about our shared responsibility when it comes to street safety – and returns in 2023 after a three-year hiatus because of the COVID pandemic. As part of the Citywide "Hip Hop 50" effort to celebrate New York City's status as the birthplace of hip-hop music a half-century ago, students are encouraged to submit rap lyrics, informal videos and even dances they have created to express their ideas.
"As a former teacher myself, I am especially attuned to the needs of our students, who make up some of our most vulnerable pedestrians – so the 'We're Walking Here' campaign aims to educate them as well as target their incredible talents and creativity," said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "We are looking for campaigns that can really connect to the critical message of Vision Zero – and so we invite teachers and schools to get actively involved and participate in this great competition. As New York City also begins to celebrate its heritage as the birthplace of hip-hop, we cannot wait to see our kids deliver 'The Message' – and connect us all on the critical themes of traffic safety."
"Each day, hundreds of thousands of students travel to and from school, and it is essential that they have the tools and resources they need to stay safe when moving throughout their communities. The New York City Department of Transportation's "We're Walking Here" competition harnesses the creative power of our students to teach others street smarts and encourages them to become advocates for safety in their neighborhoods," said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. "I am excited to see how our young people capture the spirit of New York City to deliver this important message."
As part of the "We're Walking Here" efforts, students track the number of blocks they walked over a two-week period and then engage in classroom activities to learn more. The final project is a public service announcement to convey messages the students created during the time that they were out walking and observing the conditions on the City's streets. Interested schools should register as soon as possible to participate in this year's competition by visiting nyc.gov/walkingschools. The deadline for registration is Friday February 17th. The competition runs from March 6th to March 31st when all draft PSA submissions are due to DOT's Safety Education and Outreach group.
The competition, open to all New York City schools (public and private) includes printed booklets with grade-specific lesson plans developed by DOT's Safety Education and Outreach division, pedometers and other incentives. The first-place winners for this year's competition will receive a $1,000 prize, the second-place schools will receive a $500 prize, and third-place schools will receive a $250 prize. All prize money is provided by the Safe Streets Fund, a private-public partnership dedicated to promoting safer streets, especially among students.
The winning videos will be produced in conjunction with DOT and will be widely distributed on social media channels, through partner agencies and other media outlets. For more information, visit nyc.gov/walkingschools.
"Walking is how so many New Yorkers navigate and enjoy the City," said New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "This program will help build fitness and encourage young people to learn about street safety. I thank the administration for their efforts and look forward to the results of this initiative."
"I am happy to support the NYC DOT's relaunch of their 'We're Walking Here' campaign to raise awareness of our collective responsibility to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries on the roads in the birthplace of hip-hop," said New York City Council Member Mercedes Narcisse. "A public service announcement to all drivers; don't be a Busta and raise Havoc on the streets, or make a B.I.G. mistake and not yield to pedestrians even if they Jay-walk. Let Knowledge Reign Supreme and Mos Def obey all traffic laws or else you'll take a Big L and hear the sound of the police. Excuse me for the Big Puns but street safety is very important.""Good transit policy benefits all users of New York's sidewalks and streets. Community driven engagement is critical to making long lasting, positive change, and working with young people to raise awareness is a great way to improve street safety," said New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera." Students in my District have advocated for Open Streets on Avenue B, safer intersections, and environmental policies. I commend DOT for resuming the "We're Walking Here" competition and listening to young people in the work of improving our neighborhoods, and I hope that students in District 2 participate!"