Press Releases

Press Release #11-45

Seth Solomonow/Montgomery Dean (212) 839-4850

NYC DOT Commissioner Announces New Exhibition, “Young Artists for Safer Streets,” by NYC Students

Student-designed traffic-safety signs and murals citywide highlight ongoing efforts to create safer streets for everyone, especially school children

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today joined with school officials and students to unveil “Young Artists for Safer Streets,” a colorful exhibition of traffic-safety signs and a mural designed by New York City public school students based on a unique curriculum developed by DOT’s Office of Education and Outreach and the nonprofit Groundswell Community Mural Project. The display features replicas of the dozen one-of-a kind traffic safety signs with messages such as “Be Aware/Cuidado” and “Stop, Look, Listen” and a 9’ X 12’ mural, which were created in 2009 and 2010 by fourth and fifth graders from 10 elementary and three middle schools citywide, including PS 4, Manhattan; PS 6, Brooklyn; PS 135, Queens; PS 73, Bronx; PS 35, Staten Island; PS 5, Manhattan; PS 99, Queens; PS 44, Staten Island; PS 65, Brooklyn; PS 56, Bronx; IS 77, Queens; MS 287, Bronx; and IS 78, Brooklyn, which created the safety mural. The installation will be on display for the next six months at St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island and at Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Lower Manhattan, where Commissioner Sadik-Khan, school officials and students unveiled the exhibition.

“New York City’s future looks brighter than ever with these bold, colorful traffic-safety designs on our streets,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “No matter where you’re going, how you’re getting there, or whether you’re seven or 70, every New Yorker plays an important role in making our streets and neighborhoods as safe as they can be.”

As part of this community-focused, school-safety education project, students took a close look at traffic conditions on streets adjacent to schools to create their designs. Students participated in up to 14 sessions of a traffic- and pedestrian-safety lesson plan taught by a DOT traffic safety instructor, followed by hands-on design workshops led by a Groundswell artist. Students who designed signs also visited the DOT’s Sign Shop in Maspeth, Queens.

To produce the signs, the students used standard traffic 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.

DOT is expanding this residency program to even more schools. This year, DOT safety educators and Groundswell are working with 10 schools: PS 20, Queens; PS 33, Queens; PS 345, Brooklyn; PS 105, Brooklyn; PS 128, Manhattan; PS 310, Bronx; PS 55, Staten Island; IS 143, Manhattan; MS/HS 367, Bronx; and IS 238, Queens. This builds on the agency’s other educational campaigns both inside and outside of the classroom to improve safety on city streets for everyone using them. As part of a new traffic-safety residency program, DOT now teaches students the science of safety—the mathematics behind the life-saving benefits of following New York City’s 30 m.p.h. speed limit—so they can share it with adults. The agency also re-introduced its “That’s Why It’s 30” ad campaign to educate New Yorkers about the city’s speed limit—30 m.p.h. unless otherwise posted—and the danger of speeding just 10 miles over it. This effort is further supplemented by the recently announced initiative to help educate drivers about speeding by positioning speed boards at locations with histories of chronic speeding so they can correct behavior.

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, and it is looking to drive down fatalities and injuries even further with a series of new strategies announced as part of its landmark Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan. In addition to installing pedestrian countdown signals at 1,500 locations, the agency recently announced plans to pilot a neighborhood slow-speed zone in the Bronx, among other measures.

For more information, visit

Young Artists for Safer Streets

IS 78 (Brooklyn) Safety Mural

IS 78 (Brooklyn) Safety Mural

Safety Signs

Student Designed Safety Signs