NYC Traffic Safety Campaign Takes to the Feets

In an effort to make the city's streets safer for the legions of distracted pedestrians gazing downwards at guidebooks and phone screens, NYC is taking a page from its compatriots in London and installing exhortations to “LOOK!” in its crosswalks.
September 20, 2012, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Sarah Maslin Nir and Nate Schweber report on the newest front in Janette Sadik-Khan's campaign to improve traffic safety across New York. Borrowing an idea from the streets of London, at more than 100 of the city's most dangerous intersections, "LOOK!" will be stenciled into crosswalks to remind distracted pedestrians to watch out for increasingly distracted drivers.

"As befitting New York City, where most crosswalk conversing is conducted at the level of a bark, the white thermoplastic lettering includes an exclamation point," write Nir and Schweber. "London's signs use no such brusque emphasis... In London, the signs command you to 'Look Left' or 'Look Right.' In New York, the directional guide can be found in the form of Cookie Monster-like irises inside the vowels that indicate the direction of oncoming traffic."

"Ms. Sadik-Kahn said a corresponding safety campaign for drivers would include advertisements emblazoned on 300 city buses and bus shelters. One ad features horizontal pictures of three pairs of eyes, each looking to a different side as if watching a tennis match. The picture reads, 'Mom was right. Look before you cross the street.'"


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Published on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 in The New York Times
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