Inclusive sidewalks in Edmonton feature new design

What colour is belonging?

At four intersections in Edmonton, the answer is there to be seen in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and, now, in white, pink, light blue, brown and black. 

The inclusive crosswalks are back, and more colourful than ever. 

“We’re thrilled to see our rainbow crosswalks get an update to reflect a more inclusive city,” said Cherie Klassen, Executive Director of the Old Strathcona Business Association. “Every year when they are refreshed we hear a lot of positive comments from the community.”

Work by City Operations crews on the crosswalk at the intersection of 82 Avenue and 106 Street. Pic taken on May 25, 2021.

The crosswalk design features six stripes of Pride colours and a new five-colour chevron to represent transgender and gender-diverse people (white, pink and light blue) and racialized people in the queer community (brown and black). 

The new colours reflect diversity in the local LGBTQ2S+ community. 

“These crosswalks contribute to a safe and inclusive Edmonton,” said Jill Chesley, Senior Diversity and Inclusion Consultant with the City of Edmonton.

Citizen uses the bike lane to roller ski across 82 Avenue at 106 Street. Pic taken May 29, 2021.

Intersectionality 101…

There is some symbolism afoot, too. 

The inclusive crosswalks are designed to celebrate the resilience and diversity of the city, and the new chevrons highlight the unique experiences of people with these intersecting identities. 

Intersectionality is a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. The concept helps in analyzing how people may experience discrimination differently depending on how their identities overlap. 

A man who is gay and Black has experiences and challenges that are unique to both his race and his sexuality. Similarly, a Latinx nonbinary person would have a particular combination of experiences because of how their race and gender identity overlap. 

As members of the queer community, these two individuals likely share many common experiences. But they may also have radically different stories and challenges because their identities intersect in different ways. There are many possible intersections where race, sexuality and gender identity meet class, ability, religion and other often-marginalized identities.

“Intersections are where things come together,” said Chesley. “Just as roads, sidewalks and bike lanes overlap and intertwine, so, too, do the identities of the people passing through them.” 

Since 2017, the City of Edmonton has used Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) to bring an intersectional approach to how all citizens experience City projects and services. 

The inclusive crosswalk on 109 Street and 104 Avenue. Footage taken on May 13, 2021.

…and Intersectionality 104, 106, 108 and 109, too!

On May 12, the MacEwan University inclusive crosswalk was installed at the intersection of 109 Street and 104 Avenue. Since then, crosswalks have also been refreshed at three intersections in Old Strathcona.

104 Street and 84 Avenue: 

Both sides of 104 Street at 84 Avenue have inclusive crosswalks. Pic taken May 29, 2021.

106 Street and 82 Avenue: 

Pedestrians take the inclusive crosswalk on the north side of 82 Avenue at 106 Street on May 29, 2021.

And 108 Street and 82 Avenue: 

Inclusive crosswalk, 82 Avenue at 108 Street, May 29, 2021.

Edmonton Pride. Edmonton Proud.

The inclusive crosswalks started as a temporary pilot project for Pride Week in 2015. This year’s Pride Week runs June 7-11, 2021, in Edmonton. Please celebrate Pride Week safely. Follow all Alberta Health Services guidelines. 

Keep an eye out for the Pride Bus, an Edmonton Transit Service bus wrapped with inclusive artwork and the words “Edmonton Pride. Edmonton Proud.” The bus is in service year round and can be seen throughout the City on regular ETS routes.

Editor’s note: watch the before and after of the MacEwan University inclusive crosswalk. The pic at the top of the post shows a pedestrian using the inclusive crosswalk at the intersection of 82 Avenue and 106 Street on May 29, 2021.