The sixth-grade students at I.S. 77 in Ridgewood have a message for motorists in their community, “Do a good deed, don’t speed.”
That message is now hung on banners at 13 locations near the school and along Myrtle Avenue as part of the Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Safety Education & Outreach’s Traffic Safety Banner Residency Program in collaboration with the Groundswell Community Mural Project and the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID).
DOT held a ceremonial unveiling of the banner outside of 924 Seneca Ave., a few short blocks from I.S. 77, on Monday, May 22. At the unveiling were DOT representatives, including DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia; Executive Director of the Myrtle Avenue BID Ted Renz; the artist from Groundswell Community Mural Project; and the I.S. 77 students who helped create the banner.
One class of sixth-graders from the Ridgewood middle school got the chance to work with a teaching artist from Groundswell to come up with the design for the banner. The kids were taken around the neighborhood to see for themselves some of the Vision Zero-related issues the community faces and come up with a message for drivers.
What the students noticed was a lot of speeding, which is where their idea came from.
“It’s kind of cool to see it up there,” said Beyanka Cruzado, sixth-grader at I.S. 77 who helped design the banner. “We thought it was a good idea, because people don’t take into consideration speeding through a yellow light, but it does matter. It’s a big deal that it will be in other places helping people, too.”
The other banners will be hung throughout the Myrtle Avenue BID.
“We’re proud as the Business Improvement District to house these banners on the commercial strip so everyone can see what you’ve done and see the important message that you have for this city and this neighborhood,” Renz told the children.
DOT is taking the Traffic Safety Banner Residency Program to the other borough as well.
The Sutphin Boulevard BID will reveal banners from students at P.S. 50Q Talfourd Lawn Elementary School later this spring, along with the 161st Street BID in the Bronx with help from kids from I.S. 151X Lou Gehrig, and the Washington Heights BID in Manhattan will display banners from students at I.S. 143M Eleanor Roosevelt. Staten Island will be getting the banner program later in the fall.