NORWALK, Conn. — Mayor Harry Rilling cut the ribbon Tuesday on what he called the “first rainbow crosswalk in New England.”
Its completion comes 21 months after the Common Council approved a $76,780 expense for the artistic crosswalk at the intersection of West Avenue and Connecticut Avenue in September 2019. This is expected to spur economic development by sending a signal that LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning) people are welcome in Norwalk and is the first use of a newly created process to invite the community to create artistic crosswalks.
Video by Harold F. Cobin at end of story
The intersection is next to Lockwood Mathews Park, where the annual Pride in the Park event was held for 6-7 years before being sidelined by the pandemic, and near the Triangle Community Center.
“It’s so important to have representation, and visibility,” Triangle Community Center Executive Director Edson Rivas said. “I think that this is a great way to do it, not only is this permanent it will stay for quite, quite a while and it’ll always be a reminder, everyone in the city of Norwalk is welcomed, appreciated and affirmed.”
Rilling said it’s made of freeform ThermoFlex. Norwalk Chief of Economic and Community Development Jessica Vonashek explained in 2019 that the thermal tiles would be embedded into the pavement, making them able to withstand snowplows, seawater and more than 50,000 cars driving over them for 10 years or more.
The Transportation, Mobility and Parking Department developed a creative crosswalk program to encourage communities to install artistic crosswalks to promote neighborhood unity and tactical urbanism, and the Triangle Community Center submitted an application for the West Avenue location, then-Director of Transportation, Mobility and Parking Kathryn Hebert explained in a 2019 memo.
Colin Hosten said Tuesday, “As a proud gay black man who serves as the Chair of the Board of Education, I can tell you from a personal level how important it is to see this symbol of diversity and welcoming in the city that I love, the city that I call home.”