The New Jersey town of Maplewood just put down a marker on the future.
The Garden State township was the first urban area in New Jersey to lay down permanent rainbow crosswalks.
Maplewood, in the northeastern part of the state, has a population of approximately 24,000 (as of the 2010 census).
The colorful stripes run on all four sides of a two-street county road intersection. According to NJ.com, “The crosswalks will be at the intersection of Valley Street, a county road, and Oakview Road.”
According to Gay Star News, Dean Dafis, (the first openly LGBTQ member of the Maplewood Township Committee) said that the town set down the rainbow pattern because Maplewood wanted ” to do something that would serve as a permanent marker or symbol of our commitment to inclusion.”
A complementary video prepared by the city proclaims that “LGBT Pride isn’t only for Pride Month.”
Dafis noted that federal guidelines require code compliance to make crosswalks work properly, and “it so turns out [rainbow colors are] also a public safety benefit.” Dafis said that the rainbow striping adds to the crosswalks’ effectiveness and visibility.
Maplewood joins other cities with permanent rainbow crosswalks: Atlanta, of course. But Denver and West Hollywood have also installed similar designs.
The public premiere was part of the larger Maplewood and South Orange’s SOMA Celebrates Pride initiative.