‘Rainbow crossing’ coming to Kitchener core

News Jan 29, 2018 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

The city is working with local community groups to install a rainbow crossing in the vicinity of downtown.

The project was spoken to briefly at a downtown advisory committee meeting last week and is being seen as an initiative to support the LGBTQ community, representing “diversity and strength,” said Hilary Abel, the city’s manager of downtown development.

Abel said the design and exact location of the crossing will be brought forward at the next meeting in February.

Two local organizations with a similar vision had applied for a city placemaking grant last year. Those applicants include KW Counselling’s OK2BME program and Spectrum, a regional LGBTQ support network.

According to Washington Silk, OK2BME project co-ordinator, the rainbow crosswalk, like the rainbow flag, is designed to demonstrate that diverse people come together to form something beautiful.

“It is our hope that the crosswalk will be welcoming to all and help to bring a smile to the faces of those who cross it while also helping to foster a sense of belonging for our vulnerable community members,” Silk said.

As was reported by the KW Community Foundation in their 2014 Waterloo Region Vital Signs Report, only 36.9 per cent of LGBTQ+ people have a strong sense of belonging in this community, Silk noted.

“The rainbow crosswalk will give the intersection a new sense of identity. The neighbourhood will stand out to all who pass on foot, by car or on the LRT.

“It will mark our neighbourhood as one that is welcoming.”

Silk added that youth members of the OK2BME leadership group are very excited about the project and want to help make the “dream” come true.

“This crosswalk is really a symbol that we are fully behind, because it’s so visual, it’s so visible,” said Kitchener’s manager of volunteer resources, Denise Keelan, on behalf of the city.

Keelan said the applicants are working with the city's transportation department, as well as members of the Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area.

“We are very much a community with a city-driven focus that any hate and intolerance is not welcome in Kitchener, and we’re well aware that unfortunately there is that presence in Kitchener. I don’t think that’s a secret.

“So we want to make sure that the LGBTQ community and anybody that’s of a diverse background that we strive to be a supportive and inclusive community.”

Keelan says that Kitchener has a very active LGBTQ community with the Tri-Pride festival coming up at the end of May.

“The impetus was to get this to see if we can get this crosswalk in and done by that period … and it looks as though we are.”

She said the rainbow crossing is estimated to cost about $15,000 and will likely be applied using a thermal plastic material that has a greater friction that the asphalt it’s bonded to, making it more resistant to the outdoor elements than some of the community-led crossings installed in other areas. 

 

‘Rainbow crossing’ coming to Kitchener core

Location yet to be determined for community-led vision

News Jan 29, 2018 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

The city is working with local community groups to install a rainbow crossing in the vicinity of downtown.

The project was spoken to briefly at a downtown advisory committee meeting last week and is being seen as an initiative to support the LGBTQ community, representing “diversity and strength,” said Hilary Abel, the city’s manager of downtown development.

Abel said the design and exact location of the crossing will be brought forward at the next meeting in February.

Two local organizations with a similar vision had applied for a city placemaking grant last year. Those applicants include KW Counselling’s OK2BME program and Spectrum, a regional LGBTQ support network.

“It is our hope that the crosswalk will be welcoming to all and help to bring a smile to the faces of those who cross it while also helping to foster a sense of belonging for our vulnerable community members.”
— Washington Silk, OK2BME program co-ordinator

According to Washington Silk, OK2BME project co-ordinator, the rainbow crosswalk, like the rainbow flag, is designed to demonstrate that diverse people come together to form something beautiful.

“It is our hope that the crosswalk will be welcoming to all and help to bring a smile to the faces of those who cross it while also helping to foster a sense of belonging for our vulnerable community members,” Silk said.

As was reported by the KW Community Foundation in their 2014 Waterloo Region Vital Signs Report, only 36.9 per cent of LGBTQ+ people have a strong sense of belonging in this community, Silk noted.

“The rainbow crosswalk will give the intersection a new sense of identity. The neighbourhood will stand out to all who pass on foot, by car or on the LRT.

“It will mark our neighbourhood as one that is welcoming.”

Silk added that youth members of the OK2BME leadership group are very excited about the project and want to help make the “dream” come true.

“This crosswalk is really a symbol that we are fully behind, because it’s so visual, it’s so visible,” said Kitchener’s manager of volunteer resources, Denise Keelan, on behalf of the city.

Keelan said the applicants are working with the city's transportation department, as well as members of the Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area.

“We are very much a community with a city-driven focus that any hate and intolerance is not welcome in Kitchener, and we’re well aware that unfortunately there is that presence in Kitchener. I don’t think that’s a secret.

“So we want to make sure that the LGBTQ community and anybody that’s of a diverse background that we strive to be a supportive and inclusive community.”

Keelan says that Kitchener has a very active LGBTQ community with the Tri-Pride festival coming up at the end of May.

“The impetus was to get this to see if we can get this crosswalk in and done by that period … and it looks as though we are.”

She said the rainbow crossing is estimated to cost about $15,000 and will likely be applied using a thermal plastic material that has a greater friction that the asphalt it’s bonded to, making it more resistant to the outdoor elements than some of the community-led crossings installed in other areas. 

 

‘Rainbow crossing’ coming to Kitchener core

Location yet to be determined for community-led vision

News Jan 29, 2018 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

The city is working with local community groups to install a rainbow crossing in the vicinity of downtown.

The project was spoken to briefly at a downtown advisory committee meeting last week and is being seen as an initiative to support the LGBTQ community, representing “diversity and strength,” said Hilary Abel, the city’s manager of downtown development.

Abel said the design and exact location of the crossing will be brought forward at the next meeting in February.

Two local organizations with a similar vision had applied for a city placemaking grant last year. Those applicants include KW Counselling’s OK2BME program and Spectrum, a regional LGBTQ support network.

“It is our hope that the crosswalk will be welcoming to all and help to bring a smile to the faces of those who cross it while also helping to foster a sense of belonging for our vulnerable community members.”
— Washington Silk, OK2BME program co-ordinator

According to Washington Silk, OK2BME project co-ordinator, the rainbow crosswalk, like the rainbow flag, is designed to demonstrate that diverse people come together to form something beautiful.

“It is our hope that the crosswalk will be welcoming to all and help to bring a smile to the faces of those who cross it while also helping to foster a sense of belonging for our vulnerable community members,” Silk said.

As was reported by the KW Community Foundation in their 2014 Waterloo Region Vital Signs Report, only 36.9 per cent of LGBTQ+ people have a strong sense of belonging in this community, Silk noted.

“The rainbow crosswalk will give the intersection a new sense of identity. The neighbourhood will stand out to all who pass on foot, by car or on the LRT.

“It will mark our neighbourhood as one that is welcoming.”

Silk added that youth members of the OK2BME leadership group are very excited about the project and want to help make the “dream” come true.

“This crosswalk is really a symbol that we are fully behind, because it’s so visual, it’s so visible,” said Kitchener’s manager of volunteer resources, Denise Keelan, on behalf of the city.

Keelan said the applicants are working with the city's transportation department, as well as members of the Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area.

“We are very much a community with a city-driven focus that any hate and intolerance is not welcome in Kitchener, and we’re well aware that unfortunately there is that presence in Kitchener. I don’t think that’s a secret.

“So we want to make sure that the LGBTQ community and anybody that’s of a diverse background that we strive to be a supportive and inclusive community.”

Keelan says that Kitchener has a very active LGBTQ community with the Tri-Pride festival coming up at the end of May.

“The impetus was to get this to see if we can get this crosswalk in and done by that period … and it looks as though we are.”

She said the rainbow crossing is estimated to cost about $15,000 and will likely be applied using a thermal plastic material that has a greater friction that the asphalt it’s bonded to, making it more resistant to the outdoor elements than some of the community-led crossings installed in other areas.