Last year, residents in the Central District spray painted four crosswalks in Pan-African flag colors on the heels of nearly a dozen Capitol Hill crosswalks getting the pride flag color treatment, prompting the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to decide what to do. Could they stay? Or would they have to go? SDOT chose to make those more permanent by adding white reflective striping, and then launched a new Community Crosswalks Program, in partnership with the Department of Neighborhoods, to allow community groups to stylize neighborhood crosswalks.

What the crosswalk stripes look like with the Pan-African flag colors. (City of Seattle)
What the crosswalk stripes look like with the Pan-African flag colors. (City of Seattle)

In February, Mayor Murray unveiled a permanent Pan-African crosswalk on Martin Luther King Jr Way near Powell Barrett Park. The Central District community has since been in talks with SDOT about adding more Pan-African colored crosswalks. Residents want to highlight their cultural and neighborhood pride, and painting the red, black, and green stripes is one way to do that.

SDOT has agreed to a plan for installation of seven more Community Crosswalks at intersections in the Central District. The first batch is slated to roll out this month. Five crosswalks will get the Pan-African color treatment, including the installation of four new crosswalks and an upgrade of an existing one match the new design. SDOT plans to follow up these installations in a second phase during the month of July by adding two more crosswalks after the 23rd Avenue Corridor Project wraps up in the area.

Phase 1 installation of Central District crosswalks. (City of Seattle)
Phase 1 installation of Central District crosswalks. (City of Seattle)
Phase 2 installation of Central District crosswalks. (City of Seattle)
Phase 2 installation of Central District crosswalks. (City of Seattle)

SDOT says that installation of the crosswalks should be swift. Typically, existing crosswalks will be removed over the course of one day. Temporary markings will replace the crosswalks until crews can return to add the permanent crosswalk designs. The first intersection to get the treatment will be an existing Community Crosswalk at Martin Luther King Jr Way and E Alder St.

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Stephen is an urban planner with a passion for promoting sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He advocates for smart policies, regulations, and implementation programs that enhance urban environments by committing to quality design, accommodating growth, providing a diversity of housing choices, and adequately providing public services. Stephen primarily writes about land use and transportation issues.

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