Eyes on the Street: A Guerrilla Message to DOT


This stencil appeared on the corner of Manhattan’s Duane and Greenwich Streets late last month. Our source tells us the message — "DOT what will it be, traffic light or dead like me" — stems from years of fruitless neighborhood efforts, as documented in this Streetfilm from 2006, to persuade the agency to install a signal at what residents say is a dangerous intersection. Community Board 1, Council Member Alan Gerson and Borough President Scott Stringer have joined the call, but to no avail.

Our tipster also speculates that this latest attempt could be the work of the SoHo Alliance, which we’re told has also demonstrated for the cause. What say you, Mr. Sweeney? 

  • Peter

    this reminds me of a case out here in SF. a city official told me that they get ‘thousands’ of requests for stop signs from citizens every year – maybe more. it made me think, ‘well why the **** don’t you put some in then?!’

    there’s a huge groundswell of support for livable streets — it just hasn’t been organized yet.

  • Jeffrey Hymen

    Peter, the bureaucratic answer to your question is, DOT has engineering standards by which they evaluate whether or not an intervention is “warranted.” In fact, the agency calls their analyses “warrant studies.”

    For example, in order to get a speed hump installed, there needs to be more than a certain volume of traffic, traveling above a certain speed, but it cannot be a truck or bus route. (There may be more.) If a street doesn’t meet the official criteria, it doesn’t matter if lots of people are clamoring for a speed hump.

    And yes, I understand that you are coming from a completely different paradigm, but the way you phrased your post made me think I would explain the paradigm currently in operation at DOT.

  • fdr

    DOT uses the criteria in the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which is at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov.


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