Paint Rainbow Crosswalks in City’s Gay Neighborhood Cost Taxpayers Nearly $200,000

The cost to install the rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue cost the City of Atlanta nearly $200,000. Four crosswalks at an intersection in a predominantly gay Atlanta neighborhood were just adorned with “permanent” rainbow colors — not painted, but via thermoplastic tiles .

The tiles are supposed to last 10 years before maintenance is needed, and the price tag is 0.3 of 1 percent of the city’s transportation budget, the station said. But WXIA still asked those footing the bill if spending nearly $200K to add rainbow colors to four crosswalks in what’s considered the heart of Atlanta’s gay community was a good idea.

“I say that money should be spent in schools,” one man told the station.

The station said at least eight other U.S. cities — including Philadelphia, Houston, San Francisco and Seattle — also have installed “permanent” rainbow crosswalks. Another American city — Key West — installed permanent rainbow crosswalks using preformed thermoplastic color blocks at one intersection in 2015 at a cost of $4,000.But it should be noted that the Key West intersection looks much smaller than the Atlanta intersection, the Key West color blocks alternated with white stripes that apparently were painted — and it isn’t clear if Key West’s thermoplastic blocks are in some way different that the ones used in Atlanta.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office says this project does not take away from the funding in place for repairing Atlanta’s roads. “To folks who talk about potholes and other things, it’s a false choice, because we did the rainbow doesn’t mean we’re not filling potholes.”

The installation of this year’s permanent rainbow sidewalks began at 5 a.m. July 1 and finished ahead of schedule the next day, in time for runners in the annual Peachtree Road Race to dash across the intersection in the historically LGBT part of town.

“Our contractor will make any necessary repairs, including normal wear and tear updates, as part of the warranty for the first year at no charge,” the city said in a statement.

The funds for the rainbow crosswalks came from the city’s transportation budget.

“The annual transportation budget is approximately $44 million, and the cost of installing the rainbow crosswalks is approximately three-tenths of one percent of the transportation budget,” the statement said.

The life expectancy of the crosswalk is 10 years.