Rogue Pan-African makeover sparks new Central District crosswalk design

The crosswalk stripes that were colored in by members of United Hood Movement in homage of the neighborhood's African American history will spark a redesign of the crosswalks with input from the community, says the city. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)
Earlier this week, a man walks near a crosswalk that was colored in by members of United Hood Movement in homage to the neighborhood’s African American history. The makeover will spark a redesign of the crosswalks with input from the community. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)

Looks like the red, green and black crosswalks that were painted by members of United Hood Movement last weekend can keep their color scheme, for now. Seattle transportation officials say they’re meeting with Central District leaders to design new crosswalks reflecting the community’s African American heritage.

Over the weekend, the United Hood Movement, a community organization of former and current gang members painted over the white stripes of several Central District crosswalks in red, green and black — the colors of the Pan-African flag — to recognize the African American legacy of the neighborhood. The crosswalks are along MLK near Cherry Street.

The repainting of the Central District crosswalks came a few weeks after the city painted the 11 crosswalks in rainbow colors in Capitol Hill, the historic base for Seattle’s gay community.

As a temporary measure, the city has put down white tape around the Central District’s painted crosswalks, while the city and local leaders, including the NAACP, work on a new design, said Seattle Department of Transportation spokeswoman Marybeth Turner.

Crosswalks in the city have to have white lines perpendicular to the sidewalk, so they are visible to pedestrians and motorists, she said.

The department is also developing a process for other neighborhoods to request and design crosswalks different than the usual black and white stripes, Turner said.

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