The West Hollywood City Council voted Monday night to make the permanent.
The Council with the intention to restore the bricks to their original red color at the end of June. However, the crosswalks have proved so popular, they will now be a permanent part of the Boystown section of town, a popular destination for LGBT tourists.
Councilmember John Duran said the crosswalks, as well as the rainbow flags along Santa Monica Boulevard, are important for the soul of the city. He said while locals may take such things for granted, visitors do not.
“[The crosswalks] are critical to the tourists and young gay and lesbian people and not-so-young gay and lesbian people who are passing through from Iowa or Montana or Kansas,” Duran said. “They cannot believe that they actually see a municipality where the rainbow colors are on display all year long. It tells them it is a sanctuary. It tells them there is a safe place in America where the LGBT community is celebrated.”
Mayor Jeff Prang said that West Hollywood is a hospitality-based city and the crosswalks are now an important part of branding and marketing for the city.
Councilmember John D’Amico suggested creating a special Twitter hashtag and painting it on the crosswalks. He said the hashtag would likely turn up repeatedly as tourists come to West Hollywood.
Since it was originally intended to be temporary, the paint used for the crosswalks was not durable. That paint has faded and shows dirt and skidmarks from tires.
With the decision to make the rainbow crosswalks permanent, the city will have the crosswalks regraded and apply thermoplastic pavement markings like is used in other crosswalks. That thermoplastic marking will be slip and slide resistant, is less likely to fade and cleans easily.
The estimated cost to upgrade the crosswalks is $67,364. The estimated cost to temporarily paint the crosswalks was $13,000.