Sydney plans loss of rainbow

Correction — April 8, 2013
The cost of painting the crosswalk was misstated here as 11,000 AUD; the cost was reportedly about 80,000 AUD, with funds allocated of 110,000 AUD including about 30,000 AUD for removal if necessary. We apologize for the misstatement.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The rainbow colored sidewalk
Image: Bidgee.

Yesterday, the deadline expired for the rainbow colored sidewalk located at Rainbow Oxford St, Taylor Square in Sydney, Australia to remain intact.

The pedestrian crossing had been painted with the colors of the rainbow to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT) pride march in Sydney during this year's Mardi Gras celebrations, at a cost of AU$11,000 and, according to a spokesman for the City of Sydney, it had a very positive impact for local tourism and within the community.

The initial idea plan was to conduct a month long pilot and, if positive, keep the crossing painted in rainbow colors for twelve month period. However, the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) warned of the potential danger the painted the road could pose for drivers and demanded the road be painted over. Despite an online petition gathered almost 15,000 signatures to save the rainbow, the Roads Minister Duncan Gay and Premier Barry O'Farrell decided not to meet the requests from the City of Sydney for the road to remain with the colors of rainbow.

A spokeswoman for Gay's office cited road safety hazard and unsafe behavior as the reason for removal, including people who sat in the road to take pictures. Alex Greenwich, the local representative from Sydney in the New South Wales state government, had organised the petition earlier and said Gay exaggerated the potential safety hazards, and said that people took pictures during the parade of Mardi Gras, when there was no traffic.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore also disputed Mr Gay's claims, citing no safety hazards, "The audit also shows that generally the risk to the public of having the rainbow crossing is low. This is bureaucracy gone wild — the Minister wants to remove the crossing because he doesn't like some pictures that people have been taking. Those pictures are a drop in the ocean compared to the tens of thousands of other pictures of the crossing that have ... promoted Oxford St as one of the best LGBT tourism destinations in the world." The walk is scheduled to be painted over this week and will cost about AU$35,000.