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Mayor Murray set to unveil ‘Rainbow Crosswalks on Capitol Hill’ — UPDATE: Unveiled!


IMG_0176UPDATE 6/23/2015 7:00 AM: A project that will cover six intersections of Pike/Pine between 11th Ave and Broadway with rainbow crosswalks as a symbol of Gay Pride was unveiled early Tuesday morning.

Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle’s first openly gay mayor and a Capitol Hill resident, said the new rainbow crosswalks represent the neighborhood as “a place where we are tolerant and accepting.”

“It says something about this neighborhood and it also says something about Seattle,” Murray said during a media event in the middle of 10th Ave at Pike. “This is a city of very diverse neighborhoods throughout with different character.”

The crosswalks are being installed at six intersections totaling 11 different crosswalks on E Pine and E Pike from Broadway to 11th Ave. At around $72,600 total, the crosswalk project comes in at around $56,000 more than standard white-line crosswalks would have. Crews also have given the standard white-line walks at other intersections along this stretch of Pike/Pine a much-needed repaint. The maintenance work is being paid for by developer fees, city officials at the event said Tuesday.

The new markings — especially along the Broadway Bikeway — will add to what is some of the most colorful pavement you might ever find. Unfortunately, the rainbow Pike and Pine street signs were just for show and won’t be installed. Nothing is permanent in the city but the new rainbow crosswalks will be a lasting symbol of the LGBTQ community well after this weekend’s Pride festivities.

As for the annual talk of moving the city’s Pride parade back to Broadway, Murray said it should be a community decision be it downtown or on Capitol Hill.

“I think the message is we are everywhere,” Murray said. “We have a historic place in this neighborhood and we’re happy to represent it here.”

The upcoming Pride weekend will, again, be a busy one for Capitol Hill with many parties and celebrations at neighborhood bars and restaurants as well as a full roster of marches, festivals, and events.

Meanwhile, another project designed to create a visual sign of the LGBTQ community in Pike/Pine got its start overnight as the first message for Here and Queer was projected on the White Motor Company building home to The Stranger. CHS wrote about the project here. You can learn more and submit messages for the project here.

Original Report:

UPDATE 8:45 PM: The paint is going down. Thanks to Ella for sharing with CHS!

UPDATE 8:45 PM: The paint is going down. Thanks to Ella for sharing with CHS!

Images from the SOSea Rainbow Crosswalk Project

A project on the LGBTQ backburner for years is set to be unveiled Tuesday morning.

That likely means that now — or sometime overnight — workers are busy painting rainbow crosswalks at Pike/Pine intersections between 12th and Broadway:

Mayor Murray to Unveil Rainbow Crosswalks on Capitol Hill

WHAT:          As Pride Week in Seattle gets underway, Mayor Murray will unveil newly installed rainbow-colored crosswalks on Capitol Hill early tomorrow morning.

WHEN:          6:30 AM  Tuesday, June 23rd
WHO:             Mayor Ed Murray, local community members
WHERE:       Intersection of 10th and Pike St.

CHS wrote here in January 2013 about the effort from LGBTQ community groups to add a visible symbol of the Gayborhood to the streets of Pike/Pine. This year, as concerns about affordability have been joined with frustrations over the booming nightlife economy’s byproducts of increased street violence and intolerance, the symbolic effort will finally hit the pavement.

We don’t what the final design for the project looks like — what you see above are images from the project’s planning stages a few years back — we do not yet have details on the longterm plans for the new markings or the cost but we’ll find out more soon. Holler when you see the first rainbow paint.

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68 thoughts on “Mayor Murray set to unveil ‘Rainbow Crosswalks on Capitol Hill’ — UPDATE: Unveiled!” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. I’m so glad to see this installed at Broadway and Pike rather than up on Broadway and John/Olive where it would be missed by those who pop in and out of our neighborhood on the weekends.

  2. Beautiful crosswalk idea and kudos to the mayor . But now will you please step up the Enforcement of the crosswalk laws for pedestrians everywhere in the city .
    In Southlake union you could make a killing with fines . I think the laws on the books you should think about enforcing them .

  3. Because that intersection isn’t distracting enough for drivers or all humans trying to navigate it already. Great job Eddy!

  4. Totally into this as long as it doesn’t cost taxpayers any money.Great idea but there are far more important real problems in this city the mayor andcity council need to worry about.

    • This could be a bargain in terms of discouraging violent hill-visitors from violently hill-visiting, even if only one person isn’t attacked. I’d imagine quite a lot of these losers wouldn’t be caught dead in such an overtly gay-supportive place, and rainbows don’t cost as much as police patrols.

      • Agreed. Just this weekend we had another couple of assholes threatening and harassing a guy in front of R Place. Again. A few more of these crosswalks might clue in a few dilwads to exactly where they are, if they’re too clueless to have figured it out themselves. And to those of you worried about the relatively small cost of them– oh for fuck’s sake– our community can take on whatever ongoing costs there might be to keep them up, if we need to. If that means a twice-yearly campaign to fundraise repainting them, so be it. If the West End of Vancouver can afford it, I’m sure we can too.

    • According the proposal linked in the article, the cost is around 8k. I agree with MCB, if the city did fork over 8k, its a worthwhile investment if it brings awareness and reduces violence. To me, thats a pretty darn good ROI.

  5. Wow! Any chance we could tint roadway asphalt and concrete sidewalks to be more attractive? Rainbow crosswalks might be a political statement by origin, but the more we can add organized color to the urban environment the happier I’ll smile!

  6. Larry. You sound like a homophobic, republican a–hole. A gay group got a small grant for the project. Just because the mayor is gay and he is attending the ceremony doesn’t mean it is his project. That is what mayors do.

    • LOL I could care less that the Mayor is Gay, I’m only concerned about tax payers footing the bill! Get a life loser.

  7. How much did this cost? With all the other work still being done? – tunnel, sound station, (no street improvements), bike lanes, bike lights, bike islands, bike everything?

  8. Enjoy them while they’re fresh and new. Get your photos soon. After traffic goes over them and a couple months of rain the luster will be gone. Just sayin’. Seize the moment.

  9. I’m curious what material was used. Anyone know or can find out? In the picture shared by Ella, the installation looks like thermal plastic which has a very long life and holds up well under tire wear. Based on the sheet cuts, it doesn’t look like paint was used. I know traffic paint doesn’t exist in those colors and doubt they’d use off the shelf paints for this install.

    Thanks in advance for anyone who has insights on the material.

    • Do a search on “rainbow crosswalks Davie St Vancover” and you will find lots of coverage from when they installed it 2 years ago. Probably the same materials.

    • I saw the workers installing one of the crosswalks – I don’t know much about materials, but they were laying down squares of something onto the road to make the crosswalks. Another part of the process generated a bunch of heat/flame – maybe it was melting/adhering the squares to the pavement?

      • Thanks, MK. Thats great to hear. If they used heat to apply the product its a much better option than laying down traditional paints. This should last for quite some time as thermoplastics/paints resist dirt and wear.

        Thanks, Jim. I’m familiar with Vancouver’s installation but didn’t want to make assumptions.

      • If that was the process then it’s probably Street Print or an equivalent. It’s very durable but it’s still gonna get dirty and be hard to keep clean and the colors will fade. The only way to touch them up is to remove and replace.

  10. I feel compelled to comment just to counter any inevitable bitch fests about cost. I think this is a very, very good thing, particularly in light of the uptick in hate crimes on the Hill. I love my neighborhood and I love any effort to keep it as welcoming as possible — and the symbolism here should be hard to miss, even by plenty of the bigots. This will help telegraph to people who are otherwise idiots what kind of neighborhood they’re actually in, and if they don’t like it they can go somewhere else.

    • I’m not sure how these painted crosswalks would deter hate crimes and other violence. Yes, as a placemaking statement they do that to some degree. But I wonder if they’re also anachronistic: the idea of a gay neighborhood seems to be fading as we become, especially in Seattle, more diverse and more integrated with society at large.

      • Apparently you are not so keen an observer as you fancy yourself; or you’d have noticed an increase in hate crimes and violence lately. Need a reminder? Here’s one from this past weekend:

        Many of these incidents are perpetrated by drunken frat bro partyers who seem to be oblivious to the traditionally gay-friendly nature of Capitol Hill. If you’re a drunken asshole you’re less likely to start picking on a G/L/B/T person if you’re in an area festooned with rainbow iconography. Stated another way– it’s a lot harder to be totally UNAWARE just how many gay people are around you, when you’re surrounded by rainbows. If this awareness makes even a few bullies less comfortable about trying to beat up gay people, it’ll have been a great success.

      • I don’t see anywhere that he denied “an increase in hate crimes and violence lately.”

        Also, I don’t understand why the “drunken frat bro” (I assume this translates into “drunken white guy”?) demographic is getting singled out. I’m sure some of that happens. But I gather that many (maybe most) of these crimes are committed by ethnic/religious minorities that come from homophobic cultures. Why is the “frat boy” class more of a problem?

      • From what I’ve heard and witnessed, a lot of the harassment is from drunk white men, especially the harassment I’ve seen against drag queens. Let’s not forget that most predominantly-white (Christian) religions have homophobic cultures and a lot of mainstream American culture is born out of classically sexist and homophobic culture…

      • Oh, you’re so right Kvetch, I’m so sorry I left anybody out. Besides the drunken frat bro white boy assholes, there are also drunken (and non-drunken) ethnic/religious minority assholes. There, is that better? Did I cover all the assholes?

  11. Couldn’t they have stuck with the same size lines as they do with the white line crosswalks and made them Rainbow? They would have saved about $40,000.00 or so.

    And a**holes will be a**holes. Painting rainbow crosswalks isn’t going to deter the type of jackhats that are responsible for the violent behavior.

    • No, they can’t just replace the standard white lines with rainbow. The standard white lines are a requirement for legally marking a crosswalk. The white lines are required to be retroreflective, the colored fill is prohibited from being retroreflective, so that at night, in the rain, drivers can clearly see it’s a marked crosswalk.

  12. Don’t have money to feed or house the homeless, fix the pot holes, but the major seems to find money to display rainbow colors. How disgusting. Disgusting displaying the gay flag on the Washington Capitol grounds.

  13. Hey, if you actually live and walk around in this neighborhood, go check these out. They are really quite cheerful, and I think it is worth a tiny bit more money than the standard crosswalk expense to defend the tolerant climate that we still largely enjoy here and that many have paid a high price to create.

    • I was thinking something similar. Regardless of opinions on the LGBT community, the color will be a nice thing when the gloomy winter days return!

  14. Jim-displaying the gay flag is disgusting?
    The confederate flag or a Nazi flag-now that would’ve disgusting. But a harmless gay flag? What’s disgusting about that?

    • It makes him think about TEH GAYZ! And when Jim starts thinkin’ ’bout TEH GAYZ he gets up to all kinds o’ no-good!

  15. So COOL! Mayor Murray: Let’s keep the crosswalks and signs all year round. I’ve long said that we need permanent rainbow flags or signs up and down Pike/Pine. The neighborhood should be a gay destination for visitors AND a safe haven for its residents.

  16. The “Rainbow” crosswalks violate federal rules and WAC 468-95-010 regarding the state adoption of the 2009 federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways. Approval for LIMITED TIMELINE traffic control “experiments”, by law, have to follow set procedures:

    “All requests for experimentation should originate with the State/local highway agency or toll operator responsible for managing the roadway or controlled setting where experiment will take place. That organization forwards the request to the FHWA – with a courtesy copy to the FHWA Division Office. The FHWA must approve the experiment before it begins. Requests may also be forwarded directly to the FHWA Division Office, and the Division Office can submit the request to the FHWA Headquarters Office.

    Requests for experimentation approval should be on agency letterhead and should be sent electronically as an attachment (PDF or Word Document) to an e-mail to: [Note: if e-mail is not possible, the letter may be sent via postal mail or delivery service to FHWA at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., HOTO-1, Washington, DC 20590.]

    As described in Paragraph 11 of Section 1A.10, all requests should include:
    1. A statement of the nature of the problem, including data that justifies the need for a new device or application.
    2. A description of the proposed change, how it was developed, and how it deviates from the current MUTCD.
    3. Any illustration(s) that enhances understanding of the device or its use.
    4. Supporting data that explains how the experimental device was developed, if it has been tried, the adequacy of its performance, and the process by which the device was chosen or applied.
    5. A legally binding statement certifying that the concept of the traffic control device is not protected by a patent or copyright (see MUTCD Section 1A.10 for additional details.)
    6. The proposed time period and location(s) of the experiment.
    7. A detailed research or evaluation plan providing for close monitoring of the experimentation, especially in the early stages of field implementation. The evaluation plan should include before and after studies as well as quantitative date enabling a scientifically sound evaluation of the performance of the device.
    8. An agreement to restore the experimental site to a condition that complies with the provisions of the MUTCD within 3 months following completion of the experiment. The agreement must also provide that the sponsoring agency will terminate the experiment at any time if it determines that the experiment directly or indirectly causes significant safety hazards. If the experiment demonstrates an improvement, the device or application may remain in place until an official rulemaking action occurs.
    9. An agreement to provide semi-annual progress reports for the duration of the experimentation and a copy of the final results to the FHWA’s Office of Transportation Operations within three months of the conclusion of the experiment.”

  17. I think this is a fine idea but 8 grand for a paint job? Is it really impossible to find volunteers or hire college kids, etc? I would do that for a fraction of the price. Again, great idea for art, history and awareness but I think it’s another example of over spending.

    • It isn’t paint…next time you walk on a regular crosswalk you can look and see that it is raised and “thick”. The material has to meet code and stand up to the elements – paint would wear so fast we’d be paying like crazy to repaint all the time. The material is SOP for work like this. So while the one time application of paint would be cheaper – the upkeep would be far more expensive.

    • @ 3rdeye
      The article actually stated that the ‘project’ cost $56,000.00 more than doing the white lines! You were a lil off with your math. IJS

  18. So amazing this garners more comments than anything other topics. Is this what the gay rights struggle has become? Rainbow crosswalks? WOW. How trivial and stupid, and EXPENSIVE. By the way the stats show Capitol Hill is no longer a gay dominated neighborhood. It would be nice to be known for something else, it’s called assimilation. The parade, the banners, the crosswalks; it is all becoming obsolete. In the meantime, I counted 5 homeless people flopped on the ground on a 4 block walk near Volunteer Park yesterday. Homelessness is at crisis levels on Capitol Hill and everyone is jumping up and down about rainbow crosswalks and street signs. Sigh.

    • Because there are other crisis taking place means some can’t get excited about a gesture made by the city which creates awareness and inclusion? Capitol Hill not a gay-dominated neighborhood but it has the highest concentration of gays in the state. So what is your point? For some of us the crisis is the gay bashing that has has risen and the fact we have a new symbol of presence painted on the streets is something to be proud of. You should be proud to live in a city that takes such actions.

      Besides counting the homeless you walk past, what are you doing to help them?

      Its amazing how articles of equality bring out those who are bitter and hateful.

    • A majority of the homeless youth on our streets are LGBT. Trans people are more likely to be homeless than the general population. LGBT people and homeless people experience hate and hate crimes at a disproportionate rate. Yes, homelessness is at crisis levels on Capitol Hill, and hate crimes are also at crisis levels on Capitol Hill. If rainbow crosswalks send a welcoming message of inclusiveness, maybe we’ll see a decline in hate crimes and an increase in respect for all people. Homelessness is an LGBTQ problem, especially in Seattle.

  19. The homeless appeared to be mentally ill/drunk/on drugs/hung over. I don’t believe your stats about LBGTQ. I do A LOT to assist the homeless. I attend a church that does outreach. I pledge 10% of my income to that church. I serve meals to the homeless. I deliver sandwiches once a month to the homeless. I pay $16,000 in property taxes. I recently walked 3 homeless youth panhandling in front of QFC to a business that was hiring. I attend yearly fundraisers for Jubilee and YWCA that raises money for homeless women. What are you doing?

  20. I’m offended by the rainbow colored public property. The reason prayer was taken out of school was so that everyone would feel comfortable at a public location. The gay community has no right to promote their ideology of same sex relationships on public property in which I have to walk on and look at. When was this up for vote? I don’t see any other groups painting right of ways. THE COLORS MUST GO. It does not represent the views of the entire public and public areas should remain neutral in allowing and promoting offensive materials.