City expands an uncontroversial pedestrian-safety program

Sadik-Khan and LaHood in Midtown. (NYC D.O.T.)
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As cycling advocates continue to ask for better traffic enforcement to reduce cyclist and pedestrian fatalities, the Bloomberg administration today drew attention to a separate pedestrian-safety effort.

The city is in the process of putting "LOOK!" pavement markings at nearly 200 intersections citywide to remind pedestrians to look both ways before crossing the street.

The campaign will also post advertisements on bus shelters and phone kiosks to reinforce the point. New York City buses, meanwhile, will carry ads alerting drivers to pay more attention, too.

"New Yorkers are driven to distraction with their smart phones, and the simple act of looking can prevent thousands of crashes and injuries every year,” said Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, in a statement. “LOOK! is a message to all New Yorkers that safety is in the eye of the beholder and everyone needs to keep an eye out for each other on our streets.”

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Federal transportation secretary Ray LaHood, whose agency  helped underwrite the effort, joined Sadik-Khan at the intersection of 42nd Street and Second Avenue for this morning's announcement.

According to the D.O.T., more than 9,000 people were injured and 41 killed last year in what the department describes as, "crashes involving driver inattention."

This campaign, which will focus on intersections that have proven particularly dangerous, is something of a relaunch of a more limited 2007 effort.

Noah Budnick, deputy director of the bike advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, which was involved in the '07 iteration, said education is important, but that much more needs to be done on the enforcement end.

"What we really need, the missing piece is ... for the NYPD to enforce traffic laws," he told Capital.

Traffic enforcement has been one of the few bones of contention between the Bloomberg administration and transportation advocates, who generally hold the mayor in high regard for his appointment of Sadik-Khan and her focus on expanding the city's cycling infrastructure.

Advocates object to the NYPD's policy of only conducting full-scale forensic traffic accident investigations when victims die or are considered likely to die.

Of the approximately 4,000 serious traffic-related injuries in 2011, the NYPD only fully investigated 304 of them.

Here are the new ads.