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With a redo on MLK, Central District crosswalks will receive Pan-African redesign

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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.

UPDATE: SDOT has provided this updated graphic for crosswalks to be installed June 2016

UPDATE: SDOT has provided this updated graphic for crosswalks to be installed as part of the 23rd Ave corridor project

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.

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AbleDanger
4 years ago

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

cloey
cloey
4 years ago

Wow. Priorities. We are just a city of self-centered identity groups.

Tuck
Tuck
4 years ago
Reply to  cloey

Oh get over yourself, its a friggin’ crosswalk.

Walker
Walker
4 years ago

These crosswalks, and those in rainbow hue, are lovely but I’d prefer $$ put towards safe crossing. How about installing more of the flashing lights like those at Aloha and 21st? Perhaps neighborhood flavor could be incorporated into those—colorful light poles? Flags?

Mike
Mike
4 years ago

$7500 seems really high.. How can they justify that high of a cost?

john cocktosin
john cocktosin
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Because it’s not their money?

Bob Knudson
Bob Knudson
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Not long ago, I observed an SDOT crew in the process of re-striping a crosswalk. One guy was running the machine which does the striping, another guy’s sole job was to sprinkle sand on the newly painted stripes, and two other guys stood by “managing.” Seems to me two crew members would be adequate for this job. Maybe this explains, in part, why the costs are so high.

Ben
Ben
4 years ago

I don’t have a problem with the concept, but I do think they are less safe. I drive down MLK almost daily and the crosswalk at Alder is very hard to see, especially on gloomy days. The dark colors on wet pavement is a bad idea. What happened to murals for displays of neighborhood pride?

citycat
citycat
4 years ago

I personally think the vanity crosswalks look extremely junky and tacky. I also agree that some color schemes are probably less safe for pedestrians. Given this, I also know that some people find them important. One per neighborhood is probably okay, but beyond that they look terrible and are a huge waste of money.