DOT needs to advertise ‘Weekend Walks’ more

NYC+DOT

NYC DOT

Amanda Salazar

The New York City Department of Transportation holds “Weekend Walks” from April through December across the five boroughs. “NYC Weekend Walks,” as it’s called online, is not explicitly what it is stated to be — the event is more than just a walk. It can be a  community party, movie night, concert and festival. 

The program is arranged so “business improvement districts, cultural organizations, local merchants’ associations and community groups” can apply to host a weekend walk, according to its webpage . “Weekend Walks” is going on its 12th year in the city.

“This year, DOT is partnering with 56 community-based organizations to produce more than 120 car-free events covering over 14 miles of New York City streets between May and December,” as stated from the NYC DOT website, “Weekend Walks events feature car-free family-friendly activities and active lifestyle programming; it also supports local businesses.”

And while the walks are a great opportunity to bring the city’s occupants together, the event is far from living up to its potential. This is for the simple fact that is is not being promoted anywhere near as much as it should be.

While the program does have a page on the NYC government website, there’s not much else about it to get people interested and ready to attend.

A quick Google search turns up nothing but a site and an article on the program, with the rest of the search results addressing tourists about good locations in New York City to take literal walks, like the Highline  and Governor’s Island.

There doesn’t seem to be a website separate from the city’s for the program, and the only photos of the walks easily found are in a slideshow that doesn’t have any captions or event names of the photographers who took them.

The local government advertises tons of programs, rules and regulations in every crevice of the city, but this program in particular seems to have slipped through the cracks. Out of the many forms of advertisement that New York City has available, such as MTA ads, television ads and local news stories, very little is being used for “NYC Weekend Walks.”

Paper ads in subway cars warn commuters to pay the fare and not to walk between train cars. They can just as easily say “Join us for the Weekend Walks program!”

The events held as part of this program are aimed at bringing together NYC communities and allowing for some outdoor family fun. The website states that Weekend Walks “create wonderful opportunities for New Yorkers to gather and see their neighborhoods in a new way.”

It has a good foundation, but the program needs to be popularized in order to really be able to just its success. The fact of the matter is that it has been in existence for over a decade and yet “Weekend Walks” is still not very well-known. It needs to be pushed and grown more before it can be said how well the program is doing, though it is probably safe to assume that a program that’s thriving would have more of an online presence.