Rainbow crosswalk headed to Newport Village

The proponent of a rainbow crosswalk in Port Moody has mixed feelings that city council went against a staff recommendation and voted to locate it at Newport Village instead of Murray Street between Rocky Point Park and Brewers Row.

Amy Lubik, who made the initial pitch last summer for a crosswalk on behalf of the community group Creating LGBT+ Community in Port Moody, said the new location between 200 and 242 Newport Dr. is “not optimal, but we have one.”

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She said the group’s request for the Murray Street location was based on feedback collected from social media that indicated putting the crosswalk near Rocky Point Park would be especially attractive for young people and kids, who might initiate a conversation with their families about its meaning.

(Rainbow crosswalks have been adopted by various cities like New Westminster, Maple Ridge, Victoria, Kelowna and Squamish as a symbol of acceptance and pride for the LGBTQ community.)

Lubik said while not as many young people are likely to see the crosswalk at Newport Village, she’s appreciative the new location means it will likely get painted sooner rather than later.

“We’ve been waiting for this,” she said. “It does mean something to the community.”

“The point of a rainbow crosswalk is to make people feel included, especially young people,” Lubik said.

A staff report presented to council at Tuesday’s meeting recommended the Murray Street location as the most suitable for the crosswalk, based on factors like its visibility, traffic volume to reduce wear and tear, and the possibility of coordinating its installation with other planned work to help minimize costs. The report said it would cost about $11,000 to prepare the roadway there and paint the crosswalk.

But it was some uncertainty about the timelines for various construction projects on Murray Street that prompted Coun. Zoe Royer to introduce a motion to locate the crosswalk at Newport, one of the alternate sites suggested in the report.

She said since the planned extension of the Murray Street bike lane had already been delayed once and extensive projects to replace the watermain underneath the street as well as upgrade traffic controls near the Moody Street overpass haven’t yet been finalized, it would be better to locate the crosswalk at Newport Village, where it could be painted at the same time new permanent curb bulges are installed, a project already in the city’s 2018 budget. The staff report said the Newport Village site is “a good candidate” because of high visibility, less vehicle traffic and a shorter distance. It’s also about $3,000 cheaper.

Mayor Mike Clay said he preferred the Newport site because all the commuter traffic that uses Murray Street could make it dangerous for kids excited about the crosswalk.

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