With Nicole Galpern
Crosswalk Fantasy was a citizen intervention that began with a perfectly reasonable request for a crosswalk, and turned into a longwinded, multidimensional creative undertaking. In response to a neglected intersection in our neighborhood that the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) had repeatedly ignored, artist Nicole Galpern and I formed the Crosswalk Fantasy Committee and initiated a 9 month artistic campaign for a painted crosswalk and traffic signs at Stanhope St and Fairview Ave in Ridgewood, Queens.
We organized a rally to garner community support and present this glaring void in the city planning system back to itself. We created our “fantasy intersection” by transforming it into a hospitable, pedestrian-centric site. I directed traffic as Fantasy Crossing Guard with the help of volunteers holding hand-painted “STOP” and “SLOW” signs; Nicole collected passionate audio testimonials from residents about their experience crossing the street; candidates for local political office gave speeches about street safety on a borrowed megaphone; and the widow of a man who was fatally struck at the intersection gave an emotional speech.
photo: Paul Frangipane
photos: Erik Augustine
We compiled the documentation into an online Community Dossier and sent it to the DOT, which, along with our 600-signature petition, ultimately prompted their office to reevaluate the site and conclude that the intersection did, in fact, merit crosswalks and stop signs. Coming Soon fliers were posted at the intersection to inform the public that new traffic enhancements were on the way.
When the crosswalks and stop signs were finally installed eight months later, we held a Crosswalk Victory party at the intersection, replete with a ribbon cutting ceremony, a Proclamation of Traffic Safety, a drum solo on the stop sign pole by Kid Millions of the band Oneida, certificates of appreciation to all the project’s supporters, and a celebratory pedestrian parade.
photos: Julia GillardVICTORY T-SHIRTS
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