Four rainbow crosswalks are planned at the intersection of Cedar Springs Road and Throckmorton Street as part of the new revitalization of the gayborhood. But funds for those crosswalks can’t come from city bond money. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Rainbow crosswalks will be part of the project to update Cedar Springs Road, but money to pay for the crosswalks has to be raised

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer
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When the city made a presentation to the Mayor’s LGBT Task Force in February about plans for street-scaping on Cedar Springs Road, that presentation included rainbow crosswalks in the gayborhood.

City planners were specific about where those rainbow crosswalks would be placed. For example, there were four rainbow crosswalks planned for the intersection of Cedar Springs Throckmorton Street. At other locations, there would just be a rainbow crosswalk across Cedar Springs Road.

Crosswalks are planned, but as it turns out, they will not be part of the redevelopment plans that will be paid for with city bond money, because that bond money can only be used to fund infrastructure with an expected life of at least 20 years. Crosswalks don’t last that long; they have to be maintained and redone more frequently.

North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce CEO Tony Vedda said a private group will be fundraising to install and maintain crosswalks.

He didn’t have an estimate of how much each crosswalk would cost, but said the city has specifications about what materials may be used for them.

The cost of rainbow crosswalks in other cities has varied by tens of thousands of dollars.

In Atlanta, for instance, a box of rainbow crosswalks along Piedmont Avenue cost $196,000. That includes maintenance, according to the Atlanta Constitution. And in San Antonio, the cost was $32,000 for crosswalks along North Main Street, according to News4SA, the NBC TV affiliate in San Antonio.

So whether Cedar Springs Road gets its rainbow crosswalks depends entirely on private fundraising, and how many of the crosswalks are installed depends on how much money is raised.

Other improvements for The Strip are still being finalized. Those improvements include gateway markers placed on either end of The Strip — on Cedar Springs Road at Oak Lawn Avenue and at Douglas Avenue.

A new traffic light will be added at Knight Street between the Oak Lawn Library and ilume, where numerous accidents have occurred.

Landscaping along new sidewalks is being designed to slow traffic and add curb appeal. Some parking will be affected, but spaces have been added along side streets, including several parking spots on Throckmorton Avenue next to Hunky’s, so that the number of spaces in the area will not change.

The sidewalks will be built ADA-compliant at corners, and an area of sidewalk near Hunky’s will be built to allow groups to set up tables to distribute information, sign up voters and encourage other community activity.
Lighting in the area will also be improved.

Several steps are necessary before construction can begin. First, the plan must be completely finalized. Then a request for proposals must be posted for at least a month to allow contractors to bid on the project.

Once a bid is accepted, the Dallas City Council has to approve the project. As long as the councilman in whose district a project falls approves, passage is usually automatic.

This project runs along the border of Districts 2 and 14. Adam Medrano’s District 2 is on the west side of the street, and Philip Kingston’s District 14 is on the east. Both council members have been following the project’s progress, and both it.
Money for the redevelopment was allocated by Kingston’s and Medrano’s predecessors, Angela Hunt and Pauline Medrano, from a 2012 bond election.

Once the project is approved by the full council, the contractor has a set period of time to begin work. The best estimate of when work will begin is sometime in the fall.

Vedda said he hopes that once the project is approved and a contractor chosen, that contractor would wait until after Halloween to begin, since having broken-up sidewalks could present a safety hazard for those attending the annual Halloween Block Party, one of the largest events that takes place in the gayborhood each year.