Rainbow crosswalks coming to Norwalk
NORWALK — The intersection surrounding Lockwood Mathews Park and West Avenue is about to get a whole lot brighter. The Common Council approved the first of four permanent rainbow, artistic crosswalks to be installed across West Avenue, Lockwood Mathews Park and Connecticut Avenue.
“It’s the first permanent artistic crosswalk in the state of Connecticut,” Jessica Casey, the city’s director of economic and community development, told the Common Council on Tuesday.
The $76,870 contract with Laydon Industries LLC out of New Haven. Casey said the actual work on the four crosswalks cost $37,000, of which the Triangle Community Center, a partner on the project, will contribute $7,500.
“I think this rainbow crosswalk is a powerful symbol,” said Sean Michael Hazuda, the executive director of the Triangle Community Center.
Casey said they decided to use thermoplastic tiles for the rainbow instead of a water-based design, because the tiles will last longer and need less maintenance. The remainder of the contract will be used for milling and paving work around the roadway.
“It’s something that’s really exciting — being able to have these thermoplastic tiles embedded into the pavement, making them last,” Casey said.”I hope it’s the first of many of its kind.”
Hazuda said he hopes the crosswalk serves as a symbol of inclusivity and acceptance.
Anna Keegan, the city’s civil rights/fair rent investigator, spoke in favor of the crosswalk on the Human Relations Commission’s behalf, stating she hopes it encourages “mutual understanding and support.”
“Our society has a long history of suppression and marginalization of LGBTQ+ people,” she said. “Many still remain at daily risk.”
Other members of the public also voiced support for the project.
“I think it is all about what kind of message Norwalk wants to send — we want to send a message of welcome,” resident Joe Andrasko said.
Resident Donna Smirniotopoulos said she supported the idea for the crosswalks, but wanted the city to get a better deal and spend less on them.
“I support the idea conceptually — I do not support the amount of money,” she said. “I would like you to go back to the drawing board. I think we can do better. I also think there are great ways to spend $75,000 — this is a great idea, it just costs too much.”
Mayor Harry Rilling said he would like to see more artistic crosswalks come before the council.
“I think this is absolutely remarkable — Norwalk takes the lead in so many areas,” he said, highlighting the community partnerships that also helped make this possible.
Casey said the work should begin around late October and will take about one week to complete.