As the latest development in a process kicked off by a rogue redesign of a crosswalk last summer, crosswalks across the Central District will be transformed into community symbols.
Eleven crosswalks will be painted in the colors of the Pan-African flag, the Seattle Department of Transportation announced this week. The redesign was sparked when members of the United Hood Movement painted crosswalks near Powell Barnett Park and at the intersection of MLK and Cherry in Pan-African colors of red, green and black to reflect the Central District’s history, in much the same way that the rainbow crosswalks of Capitol Hill reflect that neighborhood’s ties to the gay community.
SDOT put white tape around the crosswalk and began the conversation with Central District residents about a crosswalk redesign. In February of 2016, the SDOT formalized the redesign of the crosswalk outside Powell Barnett Park with a $7,500 paint job. But the city-approved markings — seen above — didn’t achieve the strong look many hoped for while adhering to safety requirements.
SDOT spokeswoman Sue Romero says SDOT worked with the RBG the CD group on planning a redesign. After the first attempt by the city resulted in a paint job many felt was lacking, SDOT agreed on a redo of the first paint jobs as part of a wider campaign across the neighborhood. “We met with the community who agreed they’d prefer a more impactful design and one that is consistent with the Broadway rainbow crosswalks and future community crosswalk designs,” said Romero.
Romero said that nine of the eleven total crosswalks are expected to be in place by July, and the remaining two will be installed as part of the 23rd Ave Corridor Project.
SDOT has announced the locations for seven of the remaining 10 crosswalks to be installed. In June, crosswalks are scheduled to be installed at the intersections of 20th and E Yesler St, 20th and S Jackson St, MLK and E Alder St, 14th and E Yesler St, and 24th and E Cherry St. In July, crosswalks will be installed at the intersection of 23rd and E Jefferson St and 23rd and S Jackson St.
The Central District is not the only neighborhood able to design its own crosswalks. Romero said SDOT now also has a process for other communities to get neighborhood crosswalk designs started and funded. Guidelines and information can be found at on the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods website.