The federal government requested that the town of Ames, Iowa get rid of its rainbow Pride crosswalks. But after mulling it over, the town’s officials have decided to simply ignore the request.
The colored crosswalks are designed to represent the LGBTQ+ community. There’s a Pride rainbow flag, a trans flag, and a non-binary flag, plus black and brown stripes for racial inclusivity.
City officials recently received a letter from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration requesting that they remove the crosswalks. The request claims that the bright colors are a safety hazard.
“Crosswalk art has a potential to compromise pedestrian and motorist safety by interfering with, detracting from, or obscuring official traffic control devices,” the FHWA letter said, per CNN. “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. It also creates confusion for motorists, pedestrians, and other jurisdictions who may see these markings and install similar crosswalk treatments in their cities.”
It concluded: “Allowing a non-compliant pavement marking to remain in place presents a liability concern for the City of Ames in the event of a pedestrian/vehicle or vehicle/vehicle collision.”
However, the city council has opted not to comply with the request. They determined that the federal government has no jurisdiction over the streets in question.
“My only question is, do we need to do anything?” council member Chris Nelson asked at a recent meeting, the Ames Tribune reports. “Can we just accept the letter and say thank you?”
Since the Pride crosswalks don’t appear to violate any actual rules, that’s exactly what they’re going to do.