Norwalk celebrates West Avenue rainbow crosswalk

(City of Norwalk)

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.”


14 responses to “Norwalk celebrates West Avenue rainbow crosswalk”

  1. Norwalker

    Anything is better than the horrible brick “speed bumps” all up West Ave.

  2. John O’Neill

    As long as we have money for symbols, how about spending some money on Fox Run Fields. Our children have to dodge cars to go to playground. Weeds are over-running walkway which has turned into a road. I find it disgraceful, but maybe I’m asking too much.
    I just had an idea: Let’s name the park walking path after a gay trailblazer. Maybe the money will follow.

  3. George P

    As a member of the LGBT Norwalk community myself…no offense…but this is just Rilling shilling for votes. You think he really cares about LGBT people?!

    $76,780 ! The Common Council should be ashamed of their financial illiteracy. That money could have been better spent on “economic development” elsewhere. Are you just signing things without reading what you’re signing???

  4. Shari Brennan

    Beautiful. Pride Day is every day

  5. Outrageous

    Full supporter of LGBT community. But this is absolutely moronic.

    $76 could clean up the fields in Norwalk that the kids play on for an entire year. My daughter played T Ball this year and the fields were in pathetic shape every single time we played. No grass, only weeds and the infield always looked like it hadnt been maintained for months. Mismatched bases, rusting metal, benches that were installed 10 years ago and havent been painted in 5 years.

    Wake up. A leader of the city shouldnt be able to spend money pandering for votes when there is so much that could have been fixed with that exact same allocation. $76k to paint a square on the middle of an intersection should be taken as a slap in the face to every resident of this town who pays taxes.

  6. Tysen Canevari

    Its a nice symbol to the gay/lesbian community in Norwalk. We are a melting pot of diversity and must respect each others values and beliefs. I am surprised at John Oneill for his comment. You have every right to complain about some poor conditions but why insult the LGBT community along the way?

  7. Bryan Meek

    @Tysen. Go take a look at the project. The paint isn’t aligned with the intersection and there is a storm drain right in the middle of LMM’s driveway. For $76k the catch basin should have been relocated to the corner and the lines should have been parallel to the crosswalk instead of just dumping a square that fits on 3 sides. The stakeholders, all of Norwalk, should be ashamed at the shameless pandering and the half-baked job for a lot of money.

  8. John O’Neill

    @Tysen: I’d recommend you reread my comments. If you can point out specifically where I insulted the community, I’d be more than happy to apologize. Besides poor conditions of many fields around Norwalk, I would guess that money would go a long way to put sneakers on kid’s feet and books in their hands. I look forward to analytical data in three years on the economic return noted in story .

  9. JustaTaxpayer

    BLM should be up in arms over this!! In major cities such as NYC and DC the Mayors there supported painting major streets. Norwalk seems to be more like those cities then say Dallas or Boise. I wonder why this street painting and not BLM or George Floyd tributes

  10. Piet Marks

    I have been surrounded by gay and lesbian family members since birth. Followed in the last 79 years by gay and lesbian friends and neighbors. No, they don’t bite. With the new arts center right up the street as well as the existing Mansion, I’d say thank you Harry and others who were there to make both new additions to the City happen. Cheers!

  11. Waitingtoolong

    When they were painting that why didn’t they fix the light on Butler st on the side of the gas station?! Always sit at that light for more then 5 minutes and it doesn’t allow more then 4 cars to go on green.

  12. Norwalker

    For $78k, let’s at least hope the paint lasts longer than the brick sidewalk disasters that are sinking already.

  13. Janine

    Unbelievable waste of money. Just pandering to a bunch of liberal groups when that money could have gone to more important things such as education. But no, rilling and his virtue signaling at our expense….must be election year.

Leave a Reply

Recent Comments