Athens to dedicate new rainbow crosswalk

A rainbow crosswalk has been installed at the intersection of College Avenue and Clayton Street in downtown Athens on Oct. 4, 2022. (Courtesy: Jessica Gratigny / Red & Black)

Athens will be dedicating a new rainbow crosswalk next Tuesday as part of this year’s Pride Festival.

The crosswalk, located at the corner of College Avenue and Clayton Street, has been three years in the making for the Athens Rainbow Crosswalk Initiative, spurred by the Athens Pride and Queer Collective.

The rainbow, long a symbol of the promise of peace and the LGBTQ+ community, is serving as a promise of the Athens Non-Discrimination Ordinance. The Athens-Clarke County Commission passed the ordinance a year ago to ban discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and race. The measure was a considered huge victory for the LGBTQ+ community.

The Red & Black reports more than 8,000 people signed a petition to install the new cross, more than any other petition presented to the unified government in recent history.

Unlike the iconic rainbow crosswalk in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, which is painted directly on the asphalt, the Athens crosswalk is made from textured plastic strips that are heat-bonded to the asphalt.

Workers have been installing the crosswalk over the last week and it will be dedicated next Tuesday during a special ceremony. That will be held at 11 a.m. at the entrance to College Square.

The installation was paid for out of the county’s TSPLOST fund for artwork.