The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Education today announced the launch of the “Beat the Street” competition, allowing local students to compete against children from around the world in logging walking trips to and from school, encouraging interest in safer streets and healthy lifestyle choices. Since the competition started here on October 15th, more than 1,000 students from two Queens schools, IS 141-The Steinway School in Astoria and JHS 210-The Elizabeth Blackwell School in Ozone Park, have competed against students in Liverpool, England, with hundreds more in London, England and Shanghai, China joining the three-week long competition in November. Each participating New York City student can simply swipe a keycard at any “Beat Box” location installed by DOT at key points along major pedestrian routes to each of the two Queens schools. Students collect points based on the number of swipes, and results are tracked in real-time at www.beatthestreet.me, allowing participants to track the contest standings from around the world, before the local competition wraps up on November 8th. Each participating school and dozens of students with top scores will receive prizes to encourage participation, and London-based contest creator Intelligent Health will provide $1,000 to the winning school in the international competition, as well as matching contributions to UNICEF to promote safer, healthier communities.
“Good habits can last a lifetime, and we’re teaching kids to put their best foot forward early by learning the importance that walking plays in a healthy lifestyle,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “New York City is one of the world’s most walkable cities, so our students have a head start when it comes to learning healthy routines for life.”
“A child’s middle school years are a crucial time to develop healthy habits, and the Beat the Street program is a fun and exciting way to achieve that goal,” said Schools Chancellor Walcott. “I congratulate our students on their dedication to this competition, and I thank Commissioner Sadik-Khan and the Department of Transportation for their partnership in bringing this innovative program to our students.”
The last six years have been the safest on record since New York City began collecting data on traffic fatalities in 1910. The City’s safety gains are a direct result of DOT’s work to combine education and engineering to achieve its goal of reducing the number of fatalities by 50% by 2030. As part of DOT’s safety education, enforcement and engineering efforts, the agency works with schools in each borough on safety education workshops, mural programs and other outreach, continues to roll out the Neighborhood Slow Zone program and recently introduced speed cameras near schools across the five boroughs to discourage dangerous driving. For more information about these and other safety initiatives, visit www.nyc.gov/dot.