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Mayor: Midtown’s rainbow crosswalks aren’t going anywhere, despite what feds say

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The Federal Highway Administration has claimed the colorful walkways can be a safety hazard

Work progressing on painting the rainbow crosswalk.
The crosswalk being painted in 2017.
Alex Woodall via Instagram

With this year’s Atlanta Pride festivities in the rearview, the city might not seem as vibrant as it was this past weekend.

But the prominent rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of Midtown’s Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street are here to stay, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s office told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

If you’re wondering why scrubbing the colorful crosswalks of their rainbow decoration is even a topic of conversation lately, look no further than the federal government.

The Federal Highway Administration has (erroneously?) claimed that rainbow crosswalks are a safety hazard for pedestrians and motorists, since, apparently, the bright colors could be distracting to people in traffic.

The FHA has even asked some cities to remove rainbows from roadways and revert the walkways back to plain white striping.

The city council in Ames, Iowa recently voted to ignore a letter from the FHA requesting the municipality get rid of its rainbow crosswalks, according to the New York Times.

“Honestly, I just do not think they have any jurisdiction over the roads in the city that we’re paying for with our own tax money,” Ames city attorney Mark Lambert told the paper.

A spokesman for Bottoms told the AJC the FHA hasn’t yet asked Atlanta to wipe away its Midtown crosswalks, but if that happened, the city would thumb its nose at the Feds.

“Much like glitter, the crosswalk is here to stay indefinitely,” said Bottoms spokesman Michael Smith.