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Federal Highway Administration Tells Iowa City To Remove Rainbow Crosswalks, They Refuse

In a letter dated September 5, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), a division of the US Department of Transportation, told the city of Ames, Iowa that they would have to remove the rainbow-colored crosswalks at a downtown intersection,d because they didn’t comply with federal traffic control standards.

The city has so far ignored the directive.

Ames, Iowa actually has three PRIDE crosswalks one feature the colors of the Pride flag, designed by Gilbert Baker in the 1970s. Another features the gender-nonbinary colors of purple, black, yellow and white, while yet another features the transgender pride colors of blue, white and pink.

Federal rules state that crosswalks can only use white paint.”Crosswalk art has a potential to compromise pedestrian and motorist safety by interfering with, detracting from, or obscuring official traffic control devices. The art can also encourage road users, especially bicycles and pedestrians, to directly participate in the design, loiter in the street, or give reason to not vacate the street in an expedient or predictable manner,” the FHWA wrote in a letter to Ames City Manager Steve Schainker.

City Attorney Mark O. Lambert sent a memo addressed to the Ames mayor and city council, outlining his own interpretation of the situation.The FHWA doesn’t appear to have jurisdiction over the roads where the crosswalk is since the streets are not part of a federal highway and receive no federal funding.

Members of the Ames City Council discussed the issue at a meeting last Tuesday, and ultimately came to a decision. They would do nothing and leave the crosswalks alone.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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3 thoughts on “Federal Highway Administration Tells Iowa City To Remove Rainbow Crosswalks, They Refuse”

  1. You may want to alter the headline… Iowa City is an actual city in Iowa. Ames and Iowa City also happen to be homes to two of the major Universities in Iowa, and those two institutions are in-state rivals… Just a thought! You might also want to actually get a picture of the real Ames intersection. Ours has four different pride motifs rather than traditional rainbow motifs on all four crosswalks as your stock image portrays…

  2. Small government for me. Overbearing government just big enough to fit in your vagina, your pipe, your marriage, your crosswalks, or your church for THEE.

  3. I think the current Federal Government Agencies are being forced to push a republican/Pence agenda to eliminate any and all signs of LGBT pride and reverse any and all laws protecting the rights of LGBTs in the united States.

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