NYC Pedestrians, Open Your Eyes!

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.