City of Milwaukee Dept. of Public Works
Press Release

Statement from City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works Regarding Rainbow Crosswalks

DPW stands ready to continue our collaborative work with community members, Mayor Barrett, and Common Council members to find a solution that works for everyone.

By - Aug 29th, 2018 05:08 pm

Rainbow Flag crossing in San Franciso. Photo by Burkhard Mücke [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Rainbow Flag crossing in San Franciso. Photo by Burkhard Mücke [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

In response to the press release that Urban Milwaukee published on August 28 concerning rainbow crosswalks in the City of Milwaukee, DPW shares the following:

Mayor Tom Barrett’s office recently shared the attached letter with the Department of Public Works (DPW) concerning a request to install rainbow-colored crosswalks in the City of Milwaukee, specifically the Cathedral Square area.

DPW has fielded similar requests from community members in the past, including email conversations with Mr. George Schneider, owner of the This is It! Tavern on E. Wells St. in 2016.

In our research, we found that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has specific rules concerning the colors allowed to be painted in crosswalks.  Having shared that information with requestors, DPW staff also offered to work with community members on alternate sites and designs, including rainbow murals installed in an intersection or at mid-block (not crosswalks), and/or on sidewalks.

At no time did DPW staff “reject Mr. Schneider’s request, citing cost, design and accessibility concerns, stating that the project lacked historical or cultural significance”, as reported by a local media outlet.

DPW is aware of other cities that appear to have rainbow crosswalks as part of their infrastructure.  We would be interested in knowing how these cities addressed the FHWA regulations to allow for these installations, considering the FHWA sent a letter to the City of Buffalo instructing leaders there to “cease and desist” their multi-colored crosswalk installations.

DPW stands ready to continue our collaborative work with community members, Mayor Barrett, and Common Council members to find a solution that works for everyone.

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