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Houston Gets Texas’ First LGBTQ Pride Crosswalks

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Rainbow-colored structures to be installed this weekend at Westheimer and Taft in Montrose.

By John Wright

Houston will be the site of the state’s first rainbow-colored LGBTQ Pride crosswalks—at Westheimer Road and Taft Street in Montrose—which are set to be installed this weekend in advance of the city’s LGBT Pride festival and parade on June 24.

The four crosswalks are expected remain for at least two-and-a-half years, at which point they’ll be replaced with a permanent installation when the city completes its Lower Westheimer project.

The design and construction of the crosswalks is being paid for by Pride Houston, at a cost of $15,000, and has received approval from both the city and the Montrose Management District.

“As the mayor pro tem for the city of Houston and the council member representing District C, which includes Montrose, I am thrilled that the first Pride crosswalk in Texas will be located in my district,” Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Cohen said in a news release. “Installed just in time for Pride 2017 and located along the historical former route of Houston’s Pride Parade, the new crosswalk will bring visibility to pedestrian safety and stands as a colorful symbol of Houston’s strong support for our LGBTQ community.”

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The site of the crosswalks was chosen in memory of Alex Hill, a 21-year-old killed in the same intersection by a hit-and-run driver in January 2016. A traffic box mural nearby also honors Hill, showing him surrounded by friends with a rainbow sunburst in the background.

“While this project was initially requested by friends of Alex Hill, the idea behind the crosswalk is to also honor the support and friendship many find in Houston’s LGBT community,” said Matthew Brollier, a member of the Houston Pride Crosswalk Committee. “Hill’s friends join countless Houstonians in encouraging the city to improve safety conditions for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers on its roadways.”

The crosswalks were designed by Houston-based UP Art Studio—which specializes in public art commissions—based on the Pride flag created by the late Gilbert Baker in 1978. A traffic control plan for the installation of the crosswalks was donated in kind by Houston-based Traffic Engineers Inc.

The Montrose Center is a fiscal sponsor of the project, providing accounting and ensuring financial transparency. Harper Brothers Construction and the Montrose Management District provided in-kind support for the installation, and the Montrose Management District will maintain the crosswalks.

“Pride Houston is excited to help bring the state’s first rainbow crosswalk here to Houston and just in time for the nation’s fourth largest Pride celebration,” Pride Houston President Frankie Quijano said. “These crosswalks are a symbol of the rich LGBT culture that Montrose is known for and serves as a bridge to future generations so they know how far we have come. Let this be a reminder to everyone in the state and country that Houston welcomes everyone and embraces diversity.”
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John Wright

John Wright is the editor of OutSmart magazine. He has spent two decades in the mainstream and LGBTQ media. Most recently, he served as senior editor of Dallas Voice, and covered LGBTQ issues in the state Legislature for The Texas Observer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Wright earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida. He resides in the EaDo area of Houston, where he is currently remodeling a 1930s row house.
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