Dallas is set to introduce rainbow crosswalks in a historic LGBTI neighborhood.
A total of ten colorful crosswalks – which are also set to include rainbow lights as a gateway monument – will be introduced to mark the end of Pride Month.
Dallas City Council voted unanimously to install the designs on the sidewalks of the Oak Lawn neighborhood.
The area has long been a safe space for the city’s LGBTI residents.
Oak Lawn was honored with Dallas’ first LGBTI historical marker in 2018.
‘Dallas is a welcoming community’
Omar Narvaez, an openly gay councilmember, Omar Narvaez, said he hoped that crosswalks would send a big message.
‘We will be showing not just the residents of Dallas but the entire world that the city of Dallas is a welcoming community,’ Narvaez told The Dallas Morning News.
The overall cost of the designs is expected to be around $128,000. It is part of a wider $1.4 million scheme to improve the city’s streets.
Around $70,000 in funds for the designs have been raised by councilmember Chris Luna and the GLBT Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Luna – who was one of the first openly LGBTI councilmembers when he was elected in the 1990s – raised the funds out of concern that the city would not front the bill for the project.
However, he is confident that the remaining funds for building and maintenance will be secured.
Luna described the project as ‘a sign of community and belonging that people will relate to’.
‘It also designates this as a safe space,’ he added.
This carries extra significance as Oak Lawn has seen an uptick in assaults alleged to be hate crimes in recent years.
Dallas’ LGBTI community has also been mourning the loss of several trans women who were murdered within the past year.
‘If all these other cities can do it, why can’t we?’
The inspiration for Dallas’ rainbow crosswalks came from similar initiatives in numerous other cities.
Rainbow crosswalks have become an increasingly common sight over recent years, appearing in Albuquerque, Toronto, and Sydney. Even some of Dallas’ fellow Texan cities have taken up similar schemes.
‘If all these other cities can do it, why can’t we?’ Luna said.
However, not everyone in the cities has been happy to see the rainbow colors decorating their roads, and there have been a number of occasions where the crosswalks were vandalized.
In most instances, the crosswalks were repainted within a few hours.