Philly’s Rainbow Crosswalks Marred By Utility Work

The bottom line: Enjoy them while you can.

A picture of the crosswalks at 13th and Locust yesterday afternoon, 8/19/15.

A picture of the crosswalks at 13th and Locust on 8/19/15.

I received several tips that the rainbow crosswalks at the corner of 13th and Locust looked like they had been vandalized. That’s not the case: There’s been a series of utility work that has transformed the intersection into something of a mess, just like any intersection would look during utility work.

But that was bound to happen: As I reported, the rainbow crosswalks were not in good shape a week after their installation, and a Streets Department representative told us back in July that the crosswalks “were always intended to be temporary. The Streets Department will touch up the crosswalks in time for the July 5 ceremony. After July 5, the rainbow colors will gradually fade away.”

To be frank, many readers from the Philly LGBT community didn’t like the notion that the crosswalks, even after a touch up, would “gradually fade away,” but that’s the facts. This was solidified after I took a few shots of the intersection during the current utility work:

I reached out again to the Streets Department who confirmed that, even after the earlier touch up, the rainbow crosswalks would eventually be worn away. Keisha McCarty-Skelton from the Department told me that they would “evaluate [the crosswalks] after the utility work is complete. If the utility work results in minimal damage and the rest of the crosswalk is holding up well, we will consider painting over the utility patch.”

She also added, “We emphasize that these crosswalks, even with the touch-up and application of a sealer on July 3, were intended to be a temporary treatment. We expect that rain, snow and ice removal, construction activity, and normal wear and tear will significantly degrade these markings within a year.”

In short: Enjoy them while you can.