Calming the curbside – the power of haiku

Regular listeners to North Country Public Radio know of our belief in the power of haiku. Since we shared haiku to fill the long nights of the great ice storm of 1998, calming fears and sharing spirit, NCPR has routinely put out a call for haiku, mostly to celebrate holidays, weather, and poetry month (April).

So we’re glad to see that New York City is turning to haiku to make its streets safer.  The program is being rolled out this week.

It’s true, as the Associated Press reports in this brief:

NEW YORK (AP) _ New York City is using poetry to boost traffic safety.

City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is announcing a new safety campaign Tuesday called Curbside Haiku (HY’-koo’).

Colorful 8-inch square signs featuring haiku are being installed at high-crash locations near cultural institutions and schools.

The signs will relay safety messages for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

Further investigation reveals the true source…John Morse, an artist and poet. No big surprise. According to

Over two hundred signs will be placed on light poles and at public parking lots around the City. They will engage distracted pedestrians, cyclists and drivers making them more sensitive to their whereabouts and encouraging them to share the street.

I don’t know… I might find haiku a distraction itself while driving in New York City, but it would certainly be an engaging alternative while stuck in traffic, or waiting at a busy crosswalk.

The streetsblog calendar also lists an evening of cocktails AND haiku, to benefit the further work of the Safe Streets Fund. Sorry, it was last night. I don’t have the knack for haiku, but you could share your curbside  haiku here!

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1 Comment on “Calming the curbside – the power of haiku”

  1. Mark Wilson says:

    Haiku, some assert,
    on streets keeps drivers alert.
    High-brow Burma Shave.

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