West Hollywood City Council Considers Painting Crosswalks Rainbow
[Update: Lucas John, a well-known power gay about town who runs the WeHo Confidential news/gossip blog, says he's the one responsible for proposing the rainbow crosswalks. On May 15, he did tag multiple City Councilmembers in a post suggesting WeHo copy the Tel Aviv crosswalks. Venice resident Martin Duvander, however, says he sent the idea to City Hall on April 19, via snail mail. John is very upset, and tells us in a Facebook message that "I think it's rather evident that I am the one who is making the rainbow cross walk happen. ... This could be something that becomes a tradition for years to come & it started with my persistence as a resident of WeHo."]
Originally posted at 9 a.m.
Venice resident Martin Duvander has a dream: "to paint the crosswalks in West Hollywood rainbow coloured during the June 2012 Gay Pride."
And he's (mostly) in luck. The WeHo City Council, who's been known to sit around scratching its collective head and thinking up ways WeHo can possibly make itself more gay, sent the suggestion straight to city staff for a feasibility report.
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The verdict: So feasible. And fabulous!
Satisfied, the City Council will vote on the item at next week's meeting, beginning 6:30 p.m. on June 4.
The staff report reads like a civil-rights manifesto, declaring the colorful crosswalk "consistent with West Hollywood's ongoing core value of Respect and Support for People." (Haven't seen capitalization so brazen since the founding fathers put quill to scroll!)
Included in the "research" portion of the report is a little what-not-to-do anecdote from Israel:
Recently the City of Tel Aviv painted a city-center crosswalk in rainbow colors and posted photos of it on Facebook to supposedly advertise Gay Pride. The photo elicited hundreds of delighted comments and 'likes' on Facebook, and some people wrote that they planned to visit the area to view the unique sight.
However, when it became clear that Tel Aviv City Hall had only painted the crosswalk for the sake of a publicity stunt and had immediately repainted the crosswalk white following the photo shoot, the tone of the comments turned negative.
West Hollywood, on the other hand, is "proud of their LGBT roots," say city staffers. And thus, "to strengthen that message, the City Council should consider painting the brick pattern area within the crosswalks at San Vicente and Santa Monica Boulevards, not just for a couple hours, or for the weekend of LGBT Pride, but for the entire month of June in rainbow colors."
Despite the city's heartfelt response, Duvander's vision has been watered down a bit.
Here's what he had in mind for all crosswalks across West Hollywood:
City staff, however, found that "federal regulations for marking of crosswalks mandate that the reflective white edge lines be undisturbed."
So they settled on one crosswalk in particular to paint like a rainbow: The four-way stop at Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente.
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Because that crosswalk is solid brick with white edges, the city can paint the bricks without disturbing the white parts. However, Duvander's vision of colored dashes -- a huge part of what makes the idea so cool -- is lost in the process. Instead, it appears the rainbow paint will just sort of blend together into one big chunk. (Especially once the parade procession is done with it.)
The cost to taxpayers?
"Krylon industrial water based paint, labor, lane closures, touch up as needed until June 30th, paint removal and clean up" will come to a total of $12,920.
But how can you put a price on pride? Now that we're picturing this iconic WeHo crosswalk rainbow-style, no boring old brick-and-mortar relic will do.