Good idea? Seattle now lets you design your own crosswalk
When Seattle Mayor Ed Murray instructed the Seattle Department of Transportation to install rainbow crosswalks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, my sense is he didn’t think he was backing himself into the corner he ended up in.
The point of the rainbow crosswalks was a symbolic gesture to his community – a community that is losing their identity as the “gayborhood” (and a community dealing with the perception of higher than normal hate crimes). But when you cater to one aspect of the greater Seattle community, others will want the same treatment and Mayor Murray will hardly be the one to commit a microaggression by denying these groups their recognition.
A group painted the rogue crosswalks near Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Cherry St. in a Pan-African theme. It wasn’t sanctioned (read: illegal), but the City has essentially created an atmosphere that if they corrected this tagging, it would be a hate crime. So they let it stay.
Now, anyone can nominate a sidewalk for this kind of treatment.
The City has created new guidelines for Community Crosswalks where anyone can nominate a design and location for personalized sidewalks. All the guidelines on acceptable designs and placement can be found online. They include:
- The crosswalk must be at a location where there is already a marked crosswalk, and where a vehicle is already required to stop, either due to a stop sign or traffic signal.
- Pavement must be in good condition to help the colored material bond well.
- The crosswalk design must include the two white horizontal markings with standard design and reflectivity to mark the edges of the crosswalk and ensure it meets minimum standards.
Costs typically add up to $25/square foot, and are being paid for, in part, via the Neighborhood Matching Fund program.
I like the idea. Much like the rainbow and Pan-African crosswalks, this gives individual communities an avenue to better express themselves and their culture. Moreover, I think it looks good; it livens up the community. So long as the City doesn’t solely placate groups based on those they try to appease for their, I’m a fan of this idea. I’d like to see communities with strong religious ties be given the opportunity to design their crosswalks, for example.
If you’d like to offer up a design, submit your idea here.
If you’d like to offer up a criticism or an accolade of this program, feel free to comment below.
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