Confetti filled the air Sunday morning as West Hollywood council members, surrounded by friends and prominent WeHo’ans, celebrated the one-year anniversary of the city’s rainbow crosswalks.
Two hours before the streets were fully abuzz with Pride parade-goers, about 40 West Hollywood officials and personalities huddled around Mayor Abbe Land as she cut a ribbon in dedication to the two multi-colored sidewalks at San Vicente and Santa Monica Boulevards. Among those joining council members John Duran, John D’Amico, John Heilman and Jeffrey Prang were the West Hollywood Cheerleaders, WeHo Dodgeball, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and Maria Roman, who was the parade’s “Miss Queen of the Universe.”
A city photographer, high above the group on a ladder, also shot photos as confetti fell down behind them.
“We’re thrilled today,” said Land. “We dedicated them officially although they’ve been here awhile and they are in one of the most iconic intersections in West Hollywood at Santa Monica and San Vicente, which is the hub of our activism and I’m really glad that they’re there. They’re a beacon for people all over the world and they deserve to be in West Hollywood.”
The City Council approved painting the crosswalks one year ago for LA Pride 2012 and the month of June. The crosswalks, painted the rainbow colors of the LGBT flag, represent gay pride and LGBT rights.
“One of the marvelous things about this crosswalk is you can view it on Google Earth. You can see it like you see the Kremlin or the Great Wall of China or the Eifel Tower,” said D’Amico. “This is not the Kremlin or the Great Wall of China or the Eifel Tower, but what it is is an actual physical representation of who we are. And I think we can’t do too much of that.”
Two months after the council first approved temporary rainbow crosswalks, it decided to make them permanent. Because the paint originally used to create the rainbows was not intended to be durable (in fact, the crosswalks were showing skids marks and fading at the end of their one-month run) the city re-graded the crosswalks and applied thermoplastic pavement markings to make them slip-resistent and easier to clean. The permanent crosswalks were installed in early October 2012.
“They’re about as clean as they’re going to get,” said Oscar Delgado, director of public works. “We programmatically do them monthly to keep them clean, but it doesn’t really look like it.
“Once a month they’ve been steam-cleaning the crosswalks. The problem is the hot water solution can’t be so hot, then they’re warranty issues with the finish.”
The cost to originally install the crosswalks was $13,000. The upgrade was $67,364.
The event also launched the city’s community photo project “Show Us Your Pride.”
For “Show Us Your Pride,” visitors and residents are invited to take photos on the rainbow crosswalks and post them to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (using the hashtag #wehorainbow).