MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – One New Jersey town is proving LGBTQ pride isn’t limited to the month of June.
As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported, a colorful crosswalk is catching everyone’s eye in Maplewood.
“I love the crosswalk. It’s beautiful. It represents what Maplewood is all about – very inclusive town,” resident Rich Haffner said.
From the sky and on the ground, the colorful display of inclusion at Oakview Avenue and Valley Street cannot be missed.
“It definitely says a lot about how the town is very accepting of people,” said Lucia Simova.
“It’s really nice to have this on the street also, just so people — even if they’re just visiting — they can see OK, that’s what Maplewood says,” Wren Hardin said.
Committee member Dean Dafis spearheaded the project to replace the standard crosswalk with a permanent rainbow, covering all four corners.
“A rainbow represents unity and intersectionality, so we thought the rainbow was really, really appropriate,” he told Moore.
Maplewood now joins only a handful of cities around the country, like Philadelphia, San Francisco and West Hollywood, to create a permanent rainbow crosswalk. But Valley Street is a county road, which means the project needed approval from Essex County.
“It wasn’t that easy. We had a couple layers of approvals,” Mayor Victor DeLuca said. “But the county was pretty supportive of it. They said as long as they meet the regulations for a crosswalk, which we did, we could paint the rainbow colors. So that’s what we did.”
Some people, who didn’t want to go on camera, said the lines are confusing and wondered if drivers will be distracted, putting pedestrians in danger, Moore reported.
“These kinds of painted crosswalks happen to be safer, because they’re more visible and therefore they stop drivers, they slow down upon approaching them,” said Dafis.
While it may take some time for drivers to adjust to the colorful new intersection, he said they’ll have at least the next 50 to 100 years to do so.
The township paid for the crosswalk, which cost only the price of the rainbow paint.