New Brunswick's rainbow crosswalk regulations cause confusion

The City of Moncton is painting its rainbow crosswalks back to white because the Department of Transportation and infrastructure is not approving any multicoloured crosswalks on provincially-designated highways until a committee of experts decides if they are safe.

Moncton to paint rainbow crosswalks white; premier encourages more multicoloured crossings

The City of Moncton is painting its rainbow crosswalks back to white because the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is not approving any multicoloured crosswalks on provincially-designated highways until a committee of experts decides if they are safe. (Brian McHugh/CBC)

The City of Moncton is painting its rainbow crosswalks back to white because the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is not approving any multicoloured crosswalks on provincially-designated highways until a committee of experts decides if they are safe.

Transportation Minister Bill Fraser sent a letter to 13 municipalities in March, stating the province follows guidelines set out by the Transportation Association of Canada stipulating crosswalks should be painted white.

Isabelle Leblanc, Moncton's communications director, said all of Moncton's rainbow sidewalks are on Main Street, a provincially-designated highway.

"Following the reception of that letter we decided to revert back [to] the traditional white until the Transportation Association of Canada has put a committee together to look at the question of rainbow crosswalks," she said.

Premier weighs in 

Premier Brian Gallant offered his thoughts on the crosswalk confusion on Monday afternoon.

"Municipalities are allowed to paint rainbow crosswalks," he tweeted, adding "they are encouraged to do so as an expression of pride and inclusiveness."

Jeremy Trevors, a transportation department spokesperson, said the letter sent to municipalities doesn't ask that multicoloured crosswalks be repainted.

But he said it "simply states that the DTI strives to follow standards and guidelines established by the TAC to provide for consistency within our province and throughout Canada."

Trevors said because there is an increasing amount of requests for "non-standard colours and designs at crosswalks" the TAC is creating a committee to review "decorative crosswalk markings."

He said transportation department is participating in the review.

Leblanc said Moncton is taking a safety-first approach.

"If [it] poses a potential safety problem on Main Street it is likely to pose the same problem elsewhere in the city so our comfort level right now is to paint them all white until TAC recommendation comes in," said the city spokesperson.

Pride group reacts

The crosswalk issue drew a response Monday from River of Pride, southeastern New Brunswick's LGBT group.

"After previous years' great show of support, we are convinced municipalities' support of sexual and gender diversity will not be diminished by this obstacle," the group said in a statement.

Moncton spokeswoman Isabelle LeBlanc Leblanc said crosswalks will all be painted white until a TAC recommendation comes in. (CBC News )
They added there are many ways of being supportive, including participating in pride parades; displaying rainbow motifs in parks, lamp posts and city halls; and "invit(ing) us to offer workshops on LGBTQ+ allyship in their community."

Leblanc said Moncton holds a well-attended annual Pride parade, and flies a rainbow flag during pride week. 

But not all municipalities are taking the same approach as Moncton.

At Monday's council meeting in Saint John, there was a unanimous vote in support of painting a rainbow crosswalk. It is to be painted in Saint John's uptown prior to the city's pride celebrations in August.

Charles MacDougall of the Greater Moncton River of Pride organization thinks the province is confusing people with its mixed messages concerning rainbow crosswalks. 10:25

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