AUSTIN (KXAN) — Controversy now surrounds the rainbow-colored crosswalks planned for Downtown Austin. The idea came from the city’s Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation. The crosswalks at the intersections of Fourth and Colorado streets and Fourth and Lavaca streets are basic; simple black and white. The issue of painting them colors of the rainbow is not.
“I’m all for making Austin as colorful as possible,” said J.T. Bundick, who works at business in the area. “I pride myself in living in a city that accepts people for who they are, and hoping that Austin can become not just a community of tolerance but a community of acceptance as well.”
John Korioth, who owns a couple of bars on Fourth Street, thinks it would paint a different picture.
“Putting rainbow stripes down on crosswalks on either sides of a block says exclusion to us, not inclusion, and that’s really our basis for opposing this,” said Korioth.
Fourth Street is home to many of Austin’s gay establishments and is also called Bettie Naylor Street, named for the activist.
“We have always been open to everyone,” said Korioth. “It’s what I’m about; it’s what my mother and father taught me about. We simply have a disagreement on stripes going down a sidewalk.”
Bundick says the rainbow is what the area’s all about.
“It’s the most recognizable way that people can identify and say, ‘This is a safe community. This is an accepting community,'” he said.
The Austin City Council gave the project initial approval. Now the details are getting worked out with the city’s Art Commission. Funding for the project will come partially from city money for public artwork. The Austin PRIDE Foundation is also donating money.
San Francisco and Vancouver, Canada, have similar crosswalks.