Most Americans are car drivers and (however infrequently) also pedestrians. But until most people are car drivers and cyclists, it is hard for the necessary empathy and respect to develop on the road.
It's too easy, as a driver, to put your foot to the pedal and the pedal to the metal, because, well, it's too easy.
That's why artist John Morse's curbside haikus and art, created with the New York City Department of Transportation, are such a welcome reminder to the interdependency cyclists and pedestrians have on the necessary good will of drivers, as we all try to share, if not exactly the road, definitely the city's public spaces.
Here's my favorite two of Morse's bittersweet messages:
Oncoming cars rush
Each a 3-ton bullet.
And you, flesh and bone.
Imagine a world
Where your every move matters.
Welcome to that world.
Altogether, the 12 haiku poems (2 are in Spanish) and accompany graphics are being put up on 216 signs all over New York City, and were commissioned by none other than the City's Janette Sadik-Kahn, traffic czarina and the mastermind of the city's big move into bike lanes in the last few years. The project was paid for by a state grant and a surcharge paid by convicted drunk drivers, according to DNAinfo.
"We are looking for ways to get through to the public so they pay more attention," DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told DNAinfo.com at the artwork's unveiling earlier this week.
Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/20111129/harlem/dot-uses-haiku-promote-traffic-safety#ixzz1fF3SrwiE
Morse's Curbside Haiku for NYC was a follow up to a similar program installed in Atlanta in 2009.