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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.

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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.

  • Sebastian Gawel

    he should watch out one of these days hes going to get run down by someone haivng a bad day.. sometimes your forced to stand in crossing because the idiot ifront of you does not make the light or the turn when there is plently of room to do so.. and you have cars in back of you blocking you from reversing.. so dont judge if you dont drive everyday in stupid nyc traffic you dont know shit

  • Robert

    Gun ownership rates are plenty high, though- how on Earth do you have those murder rates otherwise?

  • Robert

    I don't mean for that to carry any racial overtones.

  • Robert

    I have lived in NYC, and am familiar with it, and my experience is that the police are never around. Traffic is not really high on their priority list. They're enforcing other laws, which is why NYC has such a low crime rate today (~3.7 mureders/100,000 persons- about the same as Seattle), pick pockets and the like aside. But if they can't do it, the city should see to it that somebody can- be it a special government department or division within the NYPD or whatever is necessary to enforce the traffic laws. This is just my two cents.

  • Robert

    NYC apparently has a lot of gun ownership. It could be put as a concern (even though NYC now has a homicide rate equivalent to Seattle's).

  • Robert

    But will still result in charges against the driver in most circumstances. He or she will just potentially have an easier time in court. Then again, you could claim that stomping on the accelerator was a case of pedal misapplication instead of deliberate action. But this would result in different charges.

  • http://scorcher.org/ Jym Dyer

    Your notions of right and wrong are askew.

  • Brian Howald

    Ten months later, I realize.

    I don't understand your comment. It's a lot harder to end up in a crosswalk than you think if you simply abide by rules requiring you to stop behind the stop line if you can't make it through the intersection before the light changes.

    That said, why would someone run him down? A driver finds himself in the crosswalk blocking pedestrians. Why not just say, "I'm sorry, the driver in front of me did something unexpected, and I apologize that I'm now blocking you." I just don't get the defensiveness of drivers when, through safe choice or not, do things that endanger or inconvenience others.