Phoenix Approves Rainbow Crosswalks To Support LGBTQ Community

By Christina Estes
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 8:09pm
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 12:29pm

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Rainbow crosswalks examples
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Rainbow crosswalks examples from Key West, Florida, presented by city staff during the council policy session on April 24, 2018.

Phoenix will soon have its first rainbow crosswalks to show support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community. And one merchants group hopes to see even more colorful crosswalks.

“This is an emerging approach to road marking,” Mike Poulton told Phoenix council members.

It’s an approach Poulton and other business and commercial property owners who make up the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association (SAMA) support.

“I think it work well for the city to view this as an opportunity to develop the right way to do visually interesting crosswalks,” Poulton said.

During Tuesday’s policy session, the council approved rainbow crosswalks at two signalized pedestrian locations: 7th Avenue and Glenrosa in the Melrose District and Central Avenue and Portland in the Roosevelt Row Arts District.

The Phoenix Pride Community Foundation, one-n-ten and Aunt Rita’s Foundation contacted the Mayor’s Office to request installation. The three nonprofits will cover the cost of materials, installation and maintenance for the rainbow portions.

7th and Glenrosa avenues
Christina Estes/KJZZ
In addition to this crosswalk at 7th and Glenrosa avenues, the Phoenix City Council approved a rainbow-painted crosswalk at Central Avenue and Portland Street.

Vice Mayor Thelda Williams expressed concern about potential safety issues.

“I want to make sure there’s an educational process so people understand yes, it’s changes, it’s got color, but it’s a real crosswalk,” she said. “Because people are attuned to seeing certain things and if it’s different they tend to ignore it and I just don’t want anybody hurt of killed in the process.”

Street Transportation Director Maria Hyatt said information will be shared with the public about the changes in the crosswalks. Staff is expected to return the council within 30 days to explain what materials were used at the two crosswalks – whether paint, tiles or something else – and present policy guidelines for future requests.

According to a council report, cities that have installed rainbow-painted crosswalks include Atlanta, Houston, Key West, Long Beach, Miami Beach, Northampton, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson, Washington, D.C., and West Hollywood.

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