With pedestrian fatalities and injuries more common that usual in NYC in early 2014, I thought I’d root around for some photos I took of a program cooked up by the Department of Transportation in 2011 to alert the public that walking into traffic isn’t a smart move. It’s called “Curbside Haiku” and features twelve designs by artist John Morse. The signs are attached to lampposts an utility poles in areas where traffic is especially heavy and pedestrians and bicyclists have run into trouble. Each sign employs a haiku, a centuries-old style of poetry developed in Japan that consists of three lines and exactly seventeen syllables. Most of the signs spell out the haiku, but some have QR codes readable by smartphone apps. (Since I still live in 1985, that’s a world apart from my own.)
The one on the title card can be found on Jackson Avenue in front of the old Queens Borough Hall and reminds bicyclists that autos are in the habit of opening doors into the bike lane.
Here’s one on Jamaica Avenue across the street from King Park in Queens. The haiku says:
8 million swimming
The traffic rolling like waves
Watch for undertow
Northern Boulevard and Linden Place at the old Flushing Town Hall.
This one also appears on Jackson Avenue near 23rd Street.
These are pleasant designs, but is anyone paying attention? The NYPD has been cracking down on jaywalking, which is a ticketable offense, and the best deterrent might be a lighter wallet or a smaller bank account.