Supporters upset by decision to make rainbow crosswalks temporary

ATLANTA — Supporters of a plan to create rainbow-colored crosswalks at an intersection in midtown Atlanta say they are disappointed the city is demanding the change be temporary.

Robert Sepulveda with Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks told Channel 2’s Matt Belanger he feels that city leaders are going back on their word.

"They're saying you just misunderstood. We didn't misunderstand. We have the emails and have been to the meetings. The city told us it was going to be a permanent installation,” Sepulveda said.

The project will take place at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue.

"Midtown is the epicenter for the LGBT community so it just makes sense,” Sepulveda said.

Sepulveda said he was led to believe the change, paid for entirely by private donations, would be permanent. But earlier this month, city public works officials said the change would have to be temporary and removed after Atlanta’s gay pride celebration in mid-October.

“We're not here for just a week for pride. We are here all of the time,” Sepulveda said.

The mayor's office responded Thursday saying the city's crosswalks must meet federal safety requirements.

Sepulveda has several examples of rainbow crosswalks in other cities on his group's Facebook page. He said he hopes officials in Atlanta will allow the change to stay.

“What about all of the red crosswalks in the city, the brick crosswalks and the Georgia State crosswalk with the huge mascot in the middle? How is that any different? What are the safety concerns you have with the rainbow crosswalks? Let us know what these safety concerns are,” he said.

The mayor's office says the approval the project received was just one of several needed for a project like this to move forward. They say City Council members still need to vote to approve the project.

In the meantime, Sepulveda told Belanger he's working with a contractor to develop a temporary way to color the crosswalks.