The Department of Transportation has brought back a popular competition this year geared toward K-12 students that promotes health and traffic safety.
The competition, called “We’re Walking Here,” aims to increase students’ awareness of the health benefits of walking, and aligns with the city’s Vision Zero initiative that promotes street safety. It also serves as an opportunity for students to remind drivers about the importance of safe streets.
The competition was put on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic but is scheduled to take place once again next month. This year the competition is partnering with “Hip Hop 50,” the citywide campaign to celebrate New York City as the birthplace of the hip-hop genre 50 years ago.
The competition will take place between March 6 and 31, with students at participating schools tasked with creating public-service announcements (PSAs) that encourage walking and promote traffic safety. Each class is required to produce a video, with the creators of the best PSAs awarded prizes. The best videos will be distributed through DOT partner agencies, social media and other media outlets.
Students in this year’s competition are encouraged to incorporate rap lyrics, dances and videos into their PSAs in the spirit of hip-hop’s 50th birthday.
The students will also partake in classroom activities as part of the competition. These include tracking the number of blocks they walk and discussing the traffic conditions around their schools.
City officials said that they are glad the competition is back.
“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 Council Member Mercedes Narcisse, who represents southeast Brooklyn.
The first-place winners of this year’s competition will receive a $1,000 prize, with $500 for second place and $250 for third. The prize money is being provided by The Safe Streets Fund, a private-public partnership dedicated to safer streets.
The competition is open to all New York City K-12 schools, both public and private. Booklets containing grade-specific lessons developed by the DOT, pedometers and other materials and incentives will be provided. Schools interested in participating need to register by Feb. 17.
“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,” DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said in a statement.
For more information or to register visit nyc.gov/walkingschools.