San Francisco’s Castro district has long been famous for its vibrant LGBT community, its commitment to civil rights, and its fabulous festivals. Last week, a spokeswoman from the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefits District announced that the neighborhood would be adding rainbow crosswalks as a part of their latest streetscape revitalization project. The new crosswalks will be featured at the intersection of 18th and Castro, where they’ll display the pride of the local culture while making pedestrians more visible to traffic.
Residents of the Castro chose the rainbow design from of a total of four proposals, including a rainbow paisley motif, a pattern inspired by the tiles of the Castro Theater, and a depiction of the Muni wires overhead. The district will pay $37,000 to install the crosswalks, and they’re expected to be finished by Pride month in June.
“This neighborhood certainly had a much stronger LGBT identity in the ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s, but it’s still an important place in the culture,” community spokeswoman Andrea Aiello told the Los Angeles Times. “LGBT people still think, ‘The Castro, that’s where I can go to feel safe.’”
The crosswalks will join a host of other renewal projects, including wider sidewalks. new trees, repaved roads, bike racks, and better outdoor lighting. MUNI catenary wires will be relocated, and a Rainbow Honor Walk will feature inlaid plaques with the names of LGBT civil rights activists. The whole endeavor is funded by the 2011 Road Repaving & Street Safety Bond and the Federal Transportation Administration and it should make the district more accessible to visitors and residents alike.