In the spirit of flamboyance and inclusivity, Madison, Wisconsin has just installed its first rainbow pedestrian crossings. The colorful markings are intended to signal that the city is open and welcoming for LGBTQIA+ residents as well as visitors, according to the OnMilwaukee website.
Decorative Crossing by the sidewalk chalkings of local people during DIY rainbow crossing movements around the world, city street workers painted the crosswalk on Saturday at a busy intersection in downtown Madison. A previous rainbow crossing at Taylor Square had hung around for just one Mardi Gras, but it became a popular photo spot and a cultural signifier of Madison’s inclusiveness for the community, says Arts Program Administrator Karin Wolf.
The new rainbow crossing is on a city street where several different neighborhoods meet, so it may take a while for locals to find it and become familiar with its location. However, the city will update its signage to better explain the meaning of the colors and provide clear instructions on how to use it.
Rainbow Crossings: Beyond Colorful Streets, A Symbol of LGBTQ+ Pride
Sadly, not everyone is thrilled about the crossing’s arrival. The trollish Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne has claimed that it “causes migraines and triggers epilepsy” in passersby, which a rep from the UK’s Epilepsy Society denies.
As for whether or not the crosswalk is breaking the rules of roadway safety, that’s a bit harder to pin down. The Federal Highway Administration, which sets standards for all federally funded roads in the United States, doesn’t have much say over state and locally owned or maintained roadways like Massachusetts Ave, where the crossing is located. The city’s own transportation engineers will likely have to weigh in on the matter before the project is considered safe by state traffic safety officials.