LETTER: Edmonton study shows rainbow crosswalks do not decrease safety

The real issue is hate and intolerance

It says something when a vast array of cities across the province, country and the world are installing rainbow crosswalks, while the City of Chilliwack is still clutching its pearls.

Council unsurprisingly followed the recommendation of staff to “deny with regret” the rainbow crosswalk installation. It is obvious that Policy Directive J-11 “Crosswalk Decoration Guidelines,” which was just approved in 2017, was specifically put in place so that future councils had something to refer to whenever the idea of a rainbow crosswalk was brought up. However, rainbow crosswalks are not a political statement or religious movement as the directive implies, they are a purely a sign of a loving and inclusive community.

The staff also recommend that “crosswalks remain consistent in appearance and continue to serve as safety devices for pedestrians” but do not offer any statistics that would indicate that rainbow crossings are unsafe. In fact, the City of Edmonton carried out a Rainbow Crosswalks Pilot Project and released a report that found that “Overall, the rainbow crosswalks did not decrease pedestrian safety” and “The observed motorist behaviour was consistent with the survey findings where people felt the rainbow crosswalks made intersections safer and were not a distraction” (City of Edmonton, 2015). Numerous other municipalities have referenced the report in their decision to install crosswalks of their own.

In a case of hypocrisy at its finest, at the same meeting where the crosswalk was said not to be an “appropriate use of taxpayers’ dollars,” the city announced it will be spending over a million dollars as part of a sponsorship agreement to change the name of the Prospera Centre to the Chilliwack Coliseum, for what basically seems to boil down to good ol’ nostalgia. But if it’s really money that’s the problem, I will personally volunteer to paint the rainbow crosswalk as a work of public art, and I’m sure many others would echo that offer.

Now that we’ve dealt with both the safety and monetary concerns (which, if we are honest with ourselves, are just excuses), we have come down to the real issue — hate and intolerance. The emails that were mentioned in the council meeting should be made part of the public record as reference material in the meeting notes. I’m sure there will be few surprises as to what they say or who they came from. I would also assume they are full of logical fallacies including demands for absurd crosswalks with pro-life and anti-immigration messages, since both those examples were mentioned by Coun. Sue Knott. On a brighter note, I would like to commend Coun. Jason Lum for his dissent, as well as the Squiala and Tzeachten First Nations for demonstrating inclusivity through the recent installation of rainbow crosswalks at Eagle Landing and Vedder Crossing. Your leadership is refreshing and makes me hopeful that we are moving in the right direction as a community, no matter how slowly.

Lauren Mitchell

Rosedale

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial government responds to Ryder Lake bad internet complaints

Anne Kang, Minister of Citizens’ Services, responded to a pair of letters sent to Victoria

Chilliwack Search and Rescue kept busy on B.C. Day long weekend

Six callouts in 10 hours Friday continued a trend of more outdoor enthusiasts needing help in 2020

Fraser Valley Bandits release top forward Cameron Forte

A team leader through four games of the CEBL Summer Series, Forte has been cut loose

The Happy Hiker, Art Lengkeek, recognized with bench and plaque on Mount Cheam trail

The 88 year old is a familiar sight on trails throughout the Fraser Valley and beyond

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch playoff spot with win

Bandits down Niagara River Lions 70-57 on Sunday, improve to 3-2

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

VIDEO: One wounded in Maple Ridge gun battle

Two vehicles reportedly traded shots while driving down street

Most Read