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San Francisco’s Rainbow Crosswalks

Following a trend of jazzing up roadways, the city installed rainbow crosswalks in honor of the LGBT community.

Rainbow crosswalks in San Francisco
Sergio Ruiz
There’s nothing in the traffic design handbook that says crosswalks have to be boring. Sure, the sedate black-and-white patterns that grace intersections around the world are familiar, even classic. After all, how many times have tourists re-enacted the Beatles crossing Abbey Road? Still, it’s hard to argue that San Francisco’s colorful new crosswalks in its Castro District aren’t welcome new additions. The city’s Department of Public Works finished installing rainbow crosswalks in honor of the LGBT community in October. More than 4,000 people voted on the decorative design back in March; it’s part of a two-block street redesign in the neighborhood that includes adding new pavement, lighting and trees. San Francisco is hardly alone, though. This time last year, Baltimore livened up crosswalks near its historic Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower with a game of hopscotch. Another intersection in the city looks like a giant zipper opening. Jeffersonville, Ind., in September installed colorful designs at four different intersections, including one tongue-in-cheek illustration of chickens crossing the road. 

Elizabeth Daigneau is GOVERNING's managing editor.
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