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

Just Posted

Warrant issued for Chilliwack prolific offender

Do not attempt to apprehend David Allen Geoghegan, 29, police caution

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

VIDEO: New supportive housing in Chilliwack almost ready to welcome residents

Grand opening Friday saw dignitaries join with health, policing, and housing reps on Trethewey

Man who once killed a fellow inmate convicted of threatening guard at Kent

No prison time for threat nine years after MMA-style beating death in Maple Ridge

BREAKING: Vehicle fire on Highway 1 between Chilliwack and Abbotsford

One westbound lane blocked after 11:30 a.m. on Friday leading to traffic delays

Listening to Christmas music too early could affect your mental health

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, says preemptive Christmas music can trigger anxiety

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Body found after SUV found fully engulfed in flames in Abbotsford field

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team have been called in

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

VIDEO: B.C. man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

Most Read