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Rainbow Crosswalk On N. Main Gets Green Light For Pilot Program

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Volunteers chalk in a temporary rainbow crosswalk on North Main Ave at Evergreen in advance of the city's annual Pride Parade.

A rainbow crosswalk could be painted on North Main Avenue later this year.  The city council governance committee on Wednesday approved installing the pride themed crosswalk as a six month pilot program.

The city will pay for some of the cost while the rest will need to be privately funded.

The rainbow crosswalk would be painted at Main and Evergreen. Main Ave is the location of many of the city’s LGBT businesses. District One Councilman Roberto Trevino says it would provide necessary safety and a sense of community.

Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio
Councilman Roberto Trevino listens to fellow council member Ana Sandoval

“I suspect it’s going to be like many other crosswalks, it’s going to increase safety. People are also going to feel safe in this area because of the message we’re sending that we’re a city of diversity of inclusion.”

Deputy City Manager Peter Zanoni says the anticipated cost is about 68-thousand dollars for the four roads of the intersection to be striped.

“That includes the cost for either the city or the contractor to install it. So it’s the labor, it’s the cost for vehicles; it’s the cost for road barricading.”

The city will pay $20,000 which is the cost for traditional white strips. The other $48,000 would need to be privately fundraised.

A spokeswoman for the City’s Transportation and Capital Improvements Department (TCI) provided a brief breakdown of the costs.

"Cost for one standard crosswalk is approximately $5K. There is typically a crosswalk on each of the four streets surrounding an intersection, equaling to a total cost of $20K. Cost for one themed crosswalk is approximately $17K, equaling to a total cost of $68K for four crosswalks around an intersection. The cost for a themed crosswalk is higher due to the unique nature of the material and the amount of material. There can also be added cost to develop a design and a template to fabricate a non-standard design.

Rosie Gonzalez, a local attorney and member of the LGBT community believes it can be raised.

“We have business owners, we have professionals, we have architects, doctors, lawyers, with resources that I’m sure are willing to cut a check. On the other end, we have folks that are passionate about making a statement.”

The measure had the support of the full governance committee which include council members like Councilman Rey Saldana.

“To those folks who would say that this is not worth the time and effort of elected officials who represent an entire city, they may be on the side who haven’t seen or felt what it’s like to be part of a marginalized group,” said Saldana.

At least one city engineer recommended against the project citing safety concerns in a memo to the committee.

"For safety reasons, TCI does not recommend or support any permanent art installation on crosswalks, or within traffic travel lanes as visual changes can create a distraction and safety hazard for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians … ”

The pilot is being created by TCI at the request of the City Manager’s office.

“We feel there’s a lot of evidence out there that they are okay. And we feel that pilot program is warranted or is okay, we do that quite frequently in San Antonio,” Zanoni says.

The pilot will be reviewed by the council’s transportation committee. If it’s successful, the city council could vote on making it a permanent fixture next year.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules