Federal Government claims rainbow crosswalks are a safety hazard; Seattle says: Not here

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration says rainbow-painted crosswalks are a safety hazard, but Seattle officials say their data counters that notion.

The issue recently came to light in Ames, Iowa where the town recently painted a crosswalk in rainbow colors as a symbol of inclusiveness, but then received a request from the Federal Highway Administration to remove the colors.

Seattle has 11 rainbow crosswalks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood alone, says Dong Ho Chang, Seattle City Traffic Engineer.

“They’ve been used other locations across the U.S. and world,” Chang said. “And when we were deploying them, we were very careful to make sure that they were located at spots that were very high profile and they were going to operate safely.”

Seattle received a similar letter in 2015, but contends their data from three years before and after crosswalks were painted have shown vastly-improved pedestrian safety at those intersections.