Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Sticky situation with pedestrian signals not working

How stickers and social media got City Hall’s attention
Sticky+situation+with+pedestrian+signals+not+working

In a textbook case of guerrilla marketing, a social media post on Instagram Saturday yielded action from City Hall and was discussed during Tuesday’s Common Council meeting. 

Guerrilla marketing is an unconventional marketing and promotion approach that generates buzz by word of mouth and often uses social media or viral marketing techniques to get a message across. 

Resident Fred Dennstedt, who runs the popular Instagram page ‘Peekskill Exurbanist’, posted a video Saturday morning of the intersection of Main and Bank Streets showing how he tried to use the pedestrian signals to cross the street to no avail.  The video generated some 8,217 plays and 314 likes in its first five days.

Dennstedt, who filmed the intersection on Friday evening, started his video by noticing an official-looking bright yellow sticker on a light pole that reads “THIS INTERSECTION IS DESIGNATED A DEATH TRAP BY FRIENDLY TOWN COMMITTEE.”  These stickers have been posted throughout the downtown in recent weeks at intersections where it is difficult for pedestrians to cross the street safely. 

 

Stickers appeared on intersections that have broken pedestrian crossing signals. (Photo by Regina Clarkin)

 

The stickers, which appeared late last year, are a perfect way to draw attention to an issue that has flummoxed pedestrians in the downtown for years. Broken or missing crosswalk signals don’t allow a person to cross a street safely, and have been the source of much comment on social media in the past few years as the numbers of pedestrian car crashes in Peekskill have skyrocketed

Dennstedt said after the video was posted, the administrators of the newly created City of Peekskill Instagram page responded saying they were bringing the issue to the attention of the proper city departments. 

At Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, during his Quality of Life report, City Manager Matt Alexander said the city was aware of the problem with the pedestrian signals and that Chris Gross, the Director of DPW, was going to be receiving training on how to reprogram them from the company that installed them.

In a subsequent Instagram post, Dennstedt acknowledged the response  from the company the city’s hired for communications, Events to Remember. 

The response to Dennstedt’s video yielded action from the city’s communications consultant.

Investigating the mystery of where the stickers came from led us to a  Tumblr account called @peekskillpermissionless, where a post on December 21st of last year read as follows: 

Announcing The Peekskill Permissionless Sticker Grant

Here’s the deal. We live in a town that has death-trap intersections, can’t keep a brewery in business, and is full of so many old people it could be a retirement home. We want to encourage the next generation to get their voices heard to help make this a more inviting place for weirdos, artists, and creatives so we made this anonymous tumblr to gather sticker designs and we’re going to pay to have them made and distributed via secret dead-drop locations to maximize anonymousness and encourage permissionless statements about our community to encourage discussion and change-making. Design rules: “Not Poorly Designed” this is a general requirement that just requires that the creator of the design put more than two brain cells to work making the sticker design. Square. We will be ordering 3×3″ square stickers. They are best for the ‘gram. Ideally your sticker design is a statement you want to make about our community. What do you want to see? What would make people stay here for more than 15 minutes? What will keep you here? What do you want visitors and people new to the area to know? You are not limited to the King’s English, the language of the oppressors, we can use google translate. Once stickers are made we will be distributing them. You’ll get a lot of your stickers and some of other permissionless participant stickers too. It is important that our efforts not be in vain so we expect to see these stickers in visible locations to inspire conversations so that the decision makers who make things happen in Peekskill can discuss our statements.

Submit now: https://forms.gle/3T93vcDqq2hjjP7u9

#peekskill#stickers#permissionless

The creator of the Tumblr account told the Herald they wish to remain anonymous.  

Peekskill Walks co-founder Conor Greene said pedestrian signals were one of the first issues the group brought to the attention of the city when Peekskill Walks was formed in 2019. “Broken signals are unacceptable and we are glad the city has taken notice. We very much appreciate other neighbors who are taking direct action by placing bright yellow stickers on intersections. We are hopeful that the staff at city hall are going to get this done.”

 

 

About the Contributor
Regina Clarkin, Editor and Publisher
When the Peekskill Herald weekly newspaper ceased publishing in August 2000 it was the first time in the history of the city that there wasn’t a local newspaper.  The award-winning weekly was often referred to as the ‘glue’ of the community. Founded on January 9, 1986 by Regina Clarkin, Kathy Daley and Rich Zahradnik with a $7,000 credit card line, the paper filled the void created when the daily Evening Star was sold to Gannett and moved out of town. Founding publisher Regina Clarkin continued to live in the Peekskill Cortlandt area and turned her attention to other life endeavors.  Through the ensuing 19 years, Clarkin was frequently stopped in town and asked when she would start up the Herald again. In January 2019, Clarkin decided it was less labor intensive to deliver a weekly blog than a print newspaper so she began posting one story a week about life in Peekskill. After a successful crowd funding campaign in 2020, the Herald was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in July of 2021. Peekskill Herald is a digital relative of the former print edition, featuring many of the favorite aspects of the beloved Peekskill Herald such as old pictures, personality profiles and well written stories about newsworthy events. Regina Clarkin is the editor and publisher of the site. Photo by Joe Squillante