A crew of painters armed with tape, rollers and buckets of the six colors in the Pride flag installed the Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks on Thursday evening, painting a big dose of gay just in time for the city's massive Pride celebration.
The crosswalks at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street – the traditional heart of Atlanta's gayborhood – ends a months-long journey for the organization through bureaucratic snafus and fundraising. It's only a temporary victory, though. Organizers hoped to permanently install the crosswalks but the city – for now – agreed only to have them in place through Oct. 16.
The installation came Thursday evening with the help of two Atlanta police officers who stopped traffic as the painters slowly progressed – three colors at a time – across the busy intersection. Organizers will celebrate on Friday with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 6 p.m.
Robert Sepulveda Jr., founder of the Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks, went public with his year-long quest for the crosswalks in July. The project gained initial city approval in August and organizers launched a fundraising campaign that quickly raised more than $44,000 – twice the amount they hoped for – to pay for the installation and maintenance of the permanent project. On Sept. 15, city officials formally notified Sepulveda that the crosswalks could be installed but only temporarily.
On Sept. 21, the Atlanta City Council approved a resolution allowing the crosswalks. Four days earlier, on Sept. 17, organizers met with supporters during a reception and addressed the change in scope of the project. Sepulveda addressed critics of the project in a YouTube video released on Sept. 19. The groups has also launched an online petition urging the city to make the crosswalks permanent.
On Sunday, the hours-long Atlanta Pride parade will pass over the crosswalks. The intersection is among the most crowded along the parade route.