The Walkaway Interactive Exhibit
As part of Washington D.C.’s Vision Zero initiative aiming to eliminate all vehicle-caused fatalities of pedestrians and cyclists by 2024, our team created The Walkway in partnership with the District Department of Transportation, the Office of the Mayor, and Age-Friendly D.C. The Walkway is an interactive public art installation exploring pedestrian safety and street harassment. The 32-foot-long, 11-foot-wide, 9-foot-tall tunnel stood at the corner of 14th and U Streets from January to March 2017.
Street harassment can cause the recipient to alter their route suddenly, to cross a street without looking, or to place themselves otherwise in danger. We designed The Walkway with an eye-catching interior that invites passersby to engage with this experience. Immersed in purple lights that transform the senses, the viewer strolls among large-scale portraits that symbolize the interconnectedness of strangers and individual needs for safety. Motion sensors trigger audio of city sounds and real stories of street experiences. Some are positive: “I get an awesome feeling when I get greeted by a stranger and they look me in the eyes, smile, and ask how my day is going!” While some are not: “When I walk or ride my bike through some parts of the city I get catcalls — ‘hey, baby’ and other comments that I feel demean me as a woman — just because I am walking or riding alone at the moment.” The tunnel narrows and dips towards the center while at the same time the audio intensifies, simulating a threatening environment. Finally, the tunnel levels out with a call to action for safer streets. We encouraged online participation and feedback on Instagram @wlkway and at www.wlkway.com.