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Peatónito in NYC: Protecting Pedestrians in the Crosswalk

Peatónito ("little pedestrian") might be the most beloved figure in the world of street safety. How can you not love a superhero who protects pedestrians from cars?! Since donning the cape and luchador mask three years ago, he's become a media sensation in Mexico. This week he's in New York City for Transportation Alternatives' Vision Zero for Cities 2016 conference, and Streetfilms was lucky enough to squeeze in this exclusive whirlwind walking tour of Brooklyn and Queens streets showing him in action.

Jorge Canez, the man behind the mask, has been a pedestrian advocate in Mexico City for quite a while. He's been involved with many tactical urbanism-type of interventions, like painting crosswalks with his own spray can. As Peatónito, he's attained a new level of fame for gently scolding drivers, escorting pedestrians though dicey intersections, and pushing cars (or occasionally walking over the tops of cars) to make motorists more aware of their transgressions.

Come along for a fun short as Peatónito hits the intimidating streets near Brooklyn's Barclays Center, the constantly blocked bike lanes on Jay Street by MetroTech, and crosswalks in Jackson Heights, Queens, helping children walk to school.

Clarence Eckerson Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • WoodyinNYC

    Wonderful to see Peatonito pushing back at rude and dangerous drivers. And wonderful to see other pedestrians eager to join him in pushing back against the traffic once he showed the way.

  • Nate Briggs

    A fun experiment. But only in a city without an active gun culture. Try touching a stranger's car in Miami and there would definitely be some shooting. Touching someone's car is similar to touching a stranger's genitalia. You'll definitely get a reaction. Hardly ever a good one.

    The second observation is even more obvious: where are the f_____g cops? Why is someone walking around in a goofy outfit doing their job? Weren't the cops embarrassed by this? Weren't they ashamed? Does this suggest that if protecting the public means getting out of their cars, the cops just won't do it?

  • JK

    Peatonito and Clarence --- my heroes, our are they really the same person? Definitely the same laugh and smile!

  • ganghiscon

    "where are the f_____g cops? Why is someone walking around in a goofy outfit doing their job? Weren't the cops embarrassed by this? Weren't they ashamed?"

    You must not be from around here.

  • http://www.streetfilms.org/ Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    He does this in Mexico. I think his chances of having a gun pulled on him there are no less than Miami.

  • Chicagoan

    Peatónito makes my heart warm.

  • Chicagoan

    A couple of months ago, I was crossing the street at a very busy 5-way intersection in Chicago, one that's rife with pedestrians and shoppers (there's a Red Line station at the intersection), but tons of cars too. A middle-aged, well-to-do looking man pulled his black Mercedez-Benz SUV into the middle of the crosswalk and didn't move an inch, even though he had some room to back up. As I was crossing the street to get on the train, a man I was walking next to stopped in front of the Mercedez-Benz, stared at the driver, and lunged (his head and shoulders) at the motorist.

    The driver looked terrified and I loved it, to be honest. I think you're right, about knowing your audience. But, I truly believe that pedestrians engaging scofflaw motorists is a crucial way to improve the pedestrian experience in your city. I do it all the time.

  • AMH

    Why would a driver need a gun when they have an accelerator?

  • D G Spencer Ludgate

    Same result, different laws...

    Driving is a privilege. Using the accelerator will result in charges against the driver.

    Gun ownership is a Right. Using a gun is justifiable defense of property.

    Using the firearm at least gives the appearance that you would not harm him if he submits...

  • User_1

    Woooo hoooooo Peatónito!!!!

    We need more super heroes and normal everyday people walking over cars! I'm pulling out my hair trying to find an video example of this. I searched low and high on the internets and I can't find this super hero that was doing this in SF.

  • Rengo Perez

    Do not be silly. In Mexico the common people do´nt have guns, is not permitted as in your country.