The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced the release of “Cross This Way,” a dynamic new video designed to highlight street safety tips for students in grades four through six. The video features 29 students from Brooklyn’s P.S. 261 in various realistic scenarios crossing the street and incorporates hip hop music and dance to make learning fun and memorable. The release is aligned with Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, which charged DOT to boost its education and outreach efforts to help make streets safer for everyone, especially children, who are among the most vulnerable pedestrians.
“I am so proud of these students who help tell the story about being safe on city streets,” said DOT Commissioner Trottenberg. “With catchy lyrics and high-energy dancing, they bring to life the message that everyone shares responsibility and deserves respect.”
The Cross This Way video is an interactive teaching tool, with content scripted to be relevant to the next generation of New Yorkers. The lyrics and music were written by DOT’s Safety Educator Anthony Taylor and performed by a New York City high school student Tirell Chambers. Two versions were created that feature dance choreography to the original hip-hop song, “Respect (Check).” The four-minute YouTube version is available to everyone. A longer format also is available and is being incorporated into DOT’s Safety Education and Outreach programing in classrooms across the city.
The video highlights some of the most common scenarios in which children ages 5-14 are injured crossing the street. For each scenario, a checklist of tips for kids to protect themselves is featured, including for situations such as: walking in the crosswalk with the signal; crossing at intersections with stop signs; and getting across safely if a mid-block crossing is necessary. Through these realistic scenarios and a playbook that helps the audience re-cap what went wrong viewers are encouraged to make the right choice every time they cross.
Cross This Way was filmed in Brooklyn and also features members of DOT’s Safety Education and Outreach division. It was produced by the Safe Streets Fund, a public-private partnership that works to education New Yorkers to reduce traffic-fatalities and injuries citywide across the city, with support from Toyota. The DOT, in conjunction with the Safe Streets Fund, hosted a Vision Zero red carpet premiere at the Brooklyn Heights branch of the Brooklyn Public Library on May 1 where the student actors were joined by their families to celebrate the video’s release.