EDMONTON – Temporary rainbow crosswalks were installed this summer ahead of Edmonton Pride festivities, but now, the city is looking at a permanent one.
“We are proud to see how much support these rainbow crosswalks have garnered not just from Edmontonians, but from people across the country,” said Marco Melfi, planner with CITYlab.
“They accomplished exactly what they were supposed to: re-imagine public space and support awareness for Pride.”
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Edmonton’s Transportation department worked with CITYlab to paint six crosswalks in rainbow colours at three different intersections in Old Strathcona in June.
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After the Pride Festival, a survey done through the Edmonton Insight Community and the general public gathered feedback on the crosswalks: how people heard about them, interacted with them and their thoughts on the initiative. The survey showed a lot of public support for the crosswalks, including a push to make them permanent.
The city also monitored vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Analysis showed the rainbow crosswalks did not decrease pedestrian safety.
The Transportation branch is looking at where a permanent location could be. The one spot wouldn’t necessarily be where one of the six temporary rainbow crosswalks were. Public engagement will take place before a decision is made.
Since Edmonton painted its crosswalks back in June, Victoria, Brockville and Ottawa have used Edmonton’s model to create rainbow crosswalks of their own.
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Calgary installed its first-ever rainbow crosswalk in front of City Hall in August. The Pride Festival there runs for a week and culminates in the parade on Sept. 6.
“I think it’s great and I think it’s the best crosswalk because it’s so large and a much bigger scale than at a regular crosswalk, so I am really excited,” said Pride supporter Carlie Ferguson.
“It’s a great gesture. Maybe it can be permanent.”
City councillor Sean Chu got involved in this year’s Pride activities as a way to express solidarity after a tweet he sent that linked same-sex marriage to bike lanes. He said the rainbow crosswalk will be a great experiment and he looks forward to feedback.
“They want to do what’s best for Calgary as well, as a whole, not just a certain group,” he said. “It’s for everybody. So we want to take baby steps and let’s try this out, see if the feedback is good. Once it’s good, I would love to see this permanently.”