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.