Photos courtesy of the City of Long Beach.
No, it’s not Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road come to town and unfortunately you won’t receive any power-ups during your jaunt across one of Broadway’s new rainbow-striped continental crosswalks, but if you count safety—for both drivers and pedestrians—and a clear tribute to the area’s LGBTQ community as something of value, needless to say, we're on board.
In advance of this Saturday’s Beach Streets Downtown event, the crosswalks of four intersections of the Broadway corridor have been painted with the colors of the Pride Flag, thanks to funding provided by Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal’s Council District Infrastructure Allocation, according to the Long Beach Public Works Department.
The crosswalks are a part of the Broadway Corridor visioning plan Lowenthal has been conducting over the past couple years. The rainbow crosswalks address the need, identified by Public Works, to start adding “continental” crosswalks to the city, where instead of the traditional two white lines outlining the length of the walking distance, known as transverse crosswalks, thicker and ladder-like stripes paint the way. The rainbow stripes provided a “fun, inspirational way to do this,” Lowenthal said.
“These crosswalks are not only symbolic of our LGBTQ community, but symbolic of our pride in the community as a whole,” Lowenthal told the Post in an email. “The feedback has been instantaneous and almost all positive. These crosswalks are beautiful and vibrant and give us all a sense of pride.”
The crosswalks’ vibrant colors are not only in recognition of the LGBTQ community’s contributions to the Broadway Corridor, but serve as a very visible reminder to slow down, especially if you’re behind the wheel of a car. They improve the safety of all its users, including drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and skateboarders and all other methods of transportation.
Any less than positive response, according to the comments on Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia's Facebook post, voiced requests for safer intersections throughout all of Long Beach, not just Broadway. The city is currently working to improve Alamitos Avenue for pedestrians and cyclists, implementing a "road diet" proven to slow traffic by mere minutes and increase safety for all users of the road.
According to this study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration, a general observation concluded that continental crosswalks were detected by participants at approximately twice the distance of traditional crosswalks, or crosswalks with transverse markings. Add a bit of color, or a lot in this case, and you have a much safer intersection.
Continental crosswalks, including those painted in celebration of the LGBTQ community, have also been added in major cities such as San Francisco, Sacramento, New York and closer to home in West Hollywood, to make pedestrians more visible to drivers when they’re making their way across the street.
The Broadway intersections of Falcon and Orange Avenue were initially identified to be painted, while Cherry and Junipero (completed Wednesday) were decided upon to help kick-off Beach Streets Downtown. The Falcon and Orange intersections are expected to be finished by end of the day Thursday.