New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced “Curbside Haiku”, a new safety education campaign composed of 216 signs featuring colorful artwork and haiku by artist John Morse. They are installed at high-crash locations near cultural institutions and middle and high schools citywide to draw attention to the critical importance of shared responsibility among pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists in keeping New York City’s streets safe. The program is a joint effort of DOT’s Safety Education and Urban Art programs.
“We’re putting poetry into motion with public art to make New York City’s streets even safer,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “These signs complement our engineering and education efforts to create a steady rhythm for safer streets in all five boroughs.”
“Curbside Haiku seeks to merge public art with public awareness to infuse a bit of beauty and joy into the public sphere with the images while underscoring the realities of the message with poetry,” said John Morse. “I’m aiming to engage, edify and inform and nothing does that better than art.”
Paid for using local traffic offense fines, the series includes 12 bright, eye-catching designs with accompanying haiku that each delivers a targeted safety message by focusing on one transportation mode. Half of the signs will be hung in pairs, with the image and text from its accompanying haiku. The other half will feature an image with a QR code that lets New Yorkers discover the safety message via their smartphones.
DOT installed multiple 8”x8” signs at strategic locations where passers-by can discover and decode their safety messages. The signs will be on view from now until next fall at a dozen hubs across the five boroughs, including near Brooklyn’s Transit Museum and the Brooklyn Museum; the Bronx Hub, Bronx Museum/Grand Concourse and Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden; Manhattan’s Studio Museum of Harlem and MoMA/International Center for Photography; Queens’s Jamaica Center for the Arts and the Staten Island Museum. The signs were fabricated at DOT’s sign shop in Maspeth, Queens. A map of the 12 hubs and series of signs is available at www.nyc.gov/dot.
You can purchase copies of these signs here as well as an exclusive Curbside Haiku poster. Proceeds go to benefit the Safe Streets Fund and our work.