Rainbow Walk hopes to bring colorful crosswalk to KCMO, requires federal approval

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- June is Pride Month, but some members of the LGBTQ+ community are looking for a way to show their pride all year.

One community organizer wants to make it as simple as crossing the street.

In major cities across the world -- San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Toronto, Tel Aviv, France, Athens -- rainbow crosswalks are popping up to show LGBTQ+ pride year round.

Now a new organization called Rainbow Walk wants to bring one to Kansas City.

"We need something that says that people who are LGBTQ+ are here to stay, that they're not just here during the moth of June," organizer Brandon Love said. "That they're not just partiers. That we are here, and we're able to kind of communicate and jump in like everyone else, and we want permanent representation."

Love started the initiative and said he's had difficulty getting it off the ground.

The city said they follow standards set forth by the Federal Highway Administration. To design and implement street signs, markings and the like, they use the Maunal on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

The manual doesn't allow for a pantone color gradient of colors, but only earth tones.

"The colors that they allow in the MUTCD guidelines are earth tone colors," said Maggie Green, spokeswoman for KCMO's Public Works department. "So a traditional rainbow color is not necessarily going to be allowable by MUTCD standards. However, there is a process for residents to request a decorative crosswalk."

According to the manual there is a clear list of approved colors:

"Acceptable colors for these materials would be red, rust, brown, burgundy, clay, tan or similar earth tone equivalents. All elements of pattern and color for these treatments are to be uniform, consistent, repetitive, and expected so as not to be a source of distraction."

Green said Rainbow Walk is able to apply for an exemption to the rules through the FHA. If approved, the city wouldn't be opposed to installing a rainbow crosswalk somewhere in the city.

"We do want to support our residents, support our neighborhoods that are asking us for these decorative crosswalks. But we have to balance pedestrian safety, and also think about implementing traffic control devices, signs and paint that are consistent with the national standards," Green said.

"I think we're a very forward thinking city," Love said. "I think we're small but we're very mighty. I think we're up and coming in a way that other cities just don`t compare to right now. Kansas City is really getting attention, and I think if we want to keep that attention we need to say that we're representing everyone that lives here -- and we need to do it now."

Love said he will apply to hopefully get the plan approved.

He doesn't know where the crosswalk might go. He believes Power & Light would be an ideal location, but thinks the Crossroads or River Market would be good choices as well.

The city said if the group is denied they would be open to working with the group toward a compromise that works within MUTCD standards.

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