UPDATE: At Monday’s City Council meeting, the Council unanimously approved the plan to find a location for a crosswalk in the colors of the transgender flag and also to update the rainbow cross walks.
Should West Hollywood paint a crosswalk on Santa Monica Boulevard the colors of the transgender flag? And should they add to the colors brown and black to the rainbow crosswalks?
Those are the questions the West Hollywood City Council will consider at its Monday night meeting. Newly sworn-in councilmembers John Erickson and Sepi Shyne are bringing the issue to the Council.
They note the rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of San Vicente and Santa Monica boulevards have become part of West Hollywood’s identity and a symbol of the city as a place of tolerance and acceptance for the LGBTQ community.
In their proposal, they suggest crosswalks the colors of the transgender flag will have a similar effect for the transgender community, saying it will “call attention to the city’s support for transgender rights and be inclusive of the transgender community.”
The proposal does not name a specific crosswalk that should be painted the pink, blue and white colors of the transgender flag. Instead, they leave it up to city staffers to make a recommendation for the best intersection to use, with input from the Transportation Commission, the Transgender Advisory Board and the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board. The City Council will then have the final say on where to put them.
Their proposal notes that the colors of the transgender flag are much lighter than those of the rainbow flag, so the crosswalks will likely need regular cleaning and/or reapplication. Thus, traffic flow and pedestrian count will be factors in determining which intersection to use.
Their proposal also calls for the thermoplastic pavement markings on the rainbow crosswalks to be reapplied, this time adding the colors of the “inclusive rainbow flag.” In addition to the red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple of the standard rainbow flag, the inclusive rainbow flag adds the colors brown and black.
The inclusive rainbow flag was introduced in 2017 as part of Philadelphia’s pride observance. The black and brown colors symbolize LGBTQ people of color who have often felt excluded from the LGBTQ community which they see as being oriented toward white people.
Since then, some other groups/communities have added the black and brown colors to their rainbow flag. However, the issue has sparked controversy for some who say the six colors of the rainbow flag were always intended to be inclusive of all.
The cost to replace the thermoplastic pavement markings of the rainbow crosswalks is estimated to be $85,000. If an intersection is selected for a transgender flag crosswalk, it would likely have a similar cost.
Although many cities now have rainbow colored crosswalks, West Hollywood was the first to adopt them. Originally intended to be temporary as part of the June 2012 pride celebration, the initial rainbow crosswalks were merely paint on the pavement, done at a cost of $13,000.
However, the rainbow crosswalks quickly proved so popular with both residents and tourists, the city opted to make them permanent. The colored thermoplastic pavement markings, which are skid resistant, were installed in Oct. 2012 at a cost of $67,000.
The city routinely steam cleans the rainbow crosswalks, although it is hard to tell from all the dirt and skid marks that still show on them. The hot water used to steam clean them can’t be too hot, otherwise it voids the warranty. Presumably, thermoplastic technology has advanced in the last eight years and the new pavement markings will be more stain resistant and easier to clean.
Those who want to make a comment by telephone during the meeting are asked to email City Clerk Yvonne Quarker at email@example.com no later than 4 p.m. on Monday to be added to the public speaker list for the meeting. Please include your name, the phone number from which you will be calling and what you wish to speak about.
Then, dial into the meeting ten minutes prior to the start. You will be placed on hold in the virtual meeting room until it is your turn to speak. The dial-in number is (669) 900-6833 and the meeting I.D. is 974 8186 3267, followed by the # symbol.
The City Council meeting can be viewed live on the WeHo TV portion of the city website (www.weho.org). Additionally, it will be broadcast on Spectrum Cable Television’s Channel 10 within West Hollywood’s borders. The meeting will also stream live on YouTube, Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV and Roku by searching for “WeHo TV.”