Rachele Rose poses for a picture being taken by Vanessa Rose in front of the new rainbow crosswalk in downtown Ferndale.

Rachele Rose poses for a picture being taken by Vanessa Rose in front of the new rainbow crosswalk in downtown Ferndale.

Photo by Mike Koury

Ferndale paints LGBTQ rainbow flag onto city crosswalk

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published July 9, 2019


FERNDALE — A new, colorful addition has been brought into a small section of downtown Ferndale.

The city painted a crosswalk in the colors of the LGBTQ rainbow flag Monday, July 1, and it will be a permanent fixture in the downtown area.

The design is something that had been in the works for several years, according to City Councilwoman Melanie Piana, with residents proposing the idea after seeing other cities across the country do something similar.

Ferndale Pride organizer Julia Music, who also helped with planning the new crosswalk, said that the finished work “makes the city feel a little bit brighter.”

“It feels like it belongs there,” she said. “It’s really cool to watch people from all over the world on social media posting really kind things about how nice it looks and how they want to move to Ferndale and how they feel welcomed.”

Music said the city had to go after grants to fund the new art, which is part of Ferndale’s efforts to show its love for the LGBTQ community.

The crosswalk art was installed July 1, as weather concerns forced the city to wait out rain.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” Music said of the final artwork. “It was really interesting to watch people from all over kind of staring and running out while the street was closed to get their selfie with it. I think it’s going to be a nice place for people to feel like, ‘I have to cross the road here.’”

“I really like it,” Piana said. “I think it’s bright and colorful. … I think it’s a really interesting, engaging way to have people look at their streets in a new way.”

Piana said this project could be the start of something more in Ferndale, as city officials are piloting the rainbow crosswalk to test how others might fit into the city.

“Artistic crosswalks is about placemaking and creating and enhancing your sense of place, and so I see possibilities for some of our smaller crosswalks,” she said. “We are piloting it out … to see how this new treatment fares under the snow, salt and basically the elements.”

Piana said she would like to see the crosswalks in Ferndale where they make the most sense, but the Downtown Development Authority Design Committee and the Ferndale Arts and Cultural Commission can weigh in on what those locations could be.

“I would want it to be a community-driven process, but this is the first one. We’re going to see how it works,” she said.