Newly installed rainbow crosswalks in Nob Hill are already creating controversy, not because of the message but because of the price tag.
The four crosswalks at the intersection of Central and Morningside are now much more colorful. “It celebrates Albuquerque’s inclusiveness,” Johnny Chandler with the Department of Municipal Development said.
“It’s a little reminder the LGBT community is welcome here,” Hunter Riley of Albuquerque said.
The city had the work done last Friday in preparation for the annual Pride Parade this weekend, but the high-quality thermal elastic will stay long past the festivities.
The city said it’s durable enough to last about 10 years. “It was just under $30,000,” Chandler explained. “A typical white crosswalk in that same area, that same style of intersection would’ve been just under $10,000.”
While people seemed overwhelmingly supportive of the rainbow walk, several still had sticker shock.
“Although I think it’s a very cool idea, I don’t know about $30,000 cool,” Ashley Horton of Albuquerque said.
“I think there’s a lot of ways to show inclusively that may be better spent than a rainbow crosswalk,” Natalie Bessios of Albuquerque added.
DMD said it took operating budget money that could have been used for other crosswalks, but that the city felt this project was a priority. “We’re not always going to like how the city spends its money but it’s good to see the city is showing up in this one specific way,” Riley stated.
DMD said it was also keeping Nob Hill businesses in mind. “[The crosswalks] become a bit of a tourist attraction,” Chandler explained. “So, you know, you come and visit those, you get them on your Instagram, Snapchat and social media, and then you turn around and visit a local business, as well.”
This Friday, Mayor Tim Keller is going to formally reveal the crosswalks and also talk about the city’s LGBT-friendly policies to kick off Albuquerque Pride Fest.
The Pride Parade is happening on Central Saturday, June 8 from 10 a.m. to noon. The city said there are currently no plans for any other colorful crosswalks in Albuquerque.