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NYC Pedestrians, Open Your Eyes!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - 01:33 PM

Pedestrians! Pay attention! (photo by -- and shadow of -- Kate Hinds)

(UPDATED with new photo) That's message of a new street treatment being tested by the New York City Department of Transportation. We photographed this one at the corner of Second Avenue and 79th Street, on Manhattan's East Side.

The sign faces people about to step into the intersection and cross the street -- meaning it's oriented to pedestrians, not drivers or bicyclists.

The message comes at a time when nationally, streets are getting less safe for pedestrians. The federal government recently released a report that found pedestrian deaths were up 4% in 2010. Another report says older pedestrians in the New York City metropolitan area are more than twice as likely to be killed by cars or trucks than those under age 60.

We asked the NYC Department of Transportation all kinds of questions about the LOOK! street marking: Is it part of a campaign to combat distracted walking? Will there be more markings? If so, where and when?

Department spokesman Seth Solomonow declined to elaborate. "We'll be get back to you when we have more info," he said.

But a colleague recently snapped a photo at a bus shelter -- also, as it turns out, on the Upper East Side -- that makes it clear the LOOK signs are a larger campaign. "Traffic injuries are avoidable," reads a poster. "Look before you cross the street."

Seen on an Upper East Side bus shelter (photo by Caitlyn Kim/WNYC)

And, as the blog Bowery Boogie notes, the signs are also making an appearance downtown.

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Comments [5]

Al Cinamon

Yes, by all means look for killer drivers before you cross the street. Because if a car hits you, the driver and his/her liar -- oops, excuse me -- lawyer will most likely say it was your fault!

Aug. 18 2012 08:40 AM
Steve O.

"Mom was right"? Because dads don't care if their kids pay attention when crossing the street?

Aug. 16 2012 03:50 PM
Tom Murphy

Those LOOK RIGHT imprints at the edge of the road also alert you that the buses hug the curb as the toddle along at great speed. Not a NY moment at all. "We mean you, DAMN YANK!"

How about: WAIT ON THE CURB LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. It certainly might improve your odds on reaching the other side.

Aug. 16 2012 10:36 AM
Erik Griswold

London does this with the phrase "Look Right"
http://geography.about.com/od/photosofplaces/ig/London-Photo-Gallery.--7c/Look-Right-Photo.htm

Primarily to remind those of us from places where we don't drive on the wrong side of the road.

Aug. 15 2012 03:00 PM
Chris M

I've seen then on Sands Street and Gold St, they seem to warn Pedestrians look out for cyclists, since Sands St has a cycle track in the middle of the road and the pedestrians could step right into it.

Aug. 15 2012 02:12 PM

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