New Brunswick

Rainbow crosswalks hit the streets of Riverview

Riverview Town Hall jumped at the chance to add a second rainbow crosswalk after Moncton decides to keep

After Moncton balks on rainbow crosswalks, Riverview paints another one

The Town of Riverview has painted rainbow crosswalks as a way to be inclusive and supportive of the LGBTQ community, (Yasmine Hassan/CBC)

Over the river and across the road, mere minutes from Moncton, the rainbow comes to life.

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple are spread across the crosswalk in preparation for Pride Week in Riverview.

The crosswalk in question is also the entrance to the Riverview Town Hall, a nod to the town's determination to be inclusive and supportive of the LGBTQ community.

And since Moncton has the annual Pride parade but has rejected rainbow crosswalks, Riverview decided it would jump at the idea of painting crosswalks of its own.

Tyla Finlay, the director of human resources for the town, said the location of the newest rainbow crosswalk wasn't a coincidence.

The town wanted to paint the crosswalk at the end of the road leading to Town Hall to show support for the LGBTQ community and inclusiveness, she said.   

Not a message for Moncton

And it wasn't a a case of one-upping Moncton, Finlay said.

"Moncton has the Pride parade," she said. "They are getting involved in different ways, and we don't have the Pride parade here, so it's our way to kind of show our support for that community."

Because it doesn't allow rainbow crosswalks, the City of Moncton has added the rainbow colours elsewhere.

River Pride, a not-for-profit organization run for LGBTQ community in Moncton, agreed.

Charles MacDougall, the project co-ordinator of River of Pride, said that rainbow crosswalks mean a lot to the community.

"It's a visible symbol of solidarity and support. It's showing people of the LGBTQ+ community, either lesbian or queer or transgender non-binary that they can belong here and that they can live here and that they deserve to live safely," he said.

Confusion over province's stance

Rainbow crosswalks made headlines earlier this year when Moncton decided against painting them for Pride celebrations, believing the province wanted only white crosswalks on its roads for safety reasons. 

The provincial government said whether to paint crosswalks in rainbow colours is up to an individual municipality, but a  study is now being done to assess whether the colours are a safety hazard.

Riverview now has two rainbow crosswalks. and both are outlined in white. (Yasmine Hassan/CBC)

Finlay said Riverview was able to bypass that conversation by painting the crosswalk on a local road rather than a provincial one.

"Both crosswalks are on town roads, they're not provincially designated highways so we had the choice whether or not to do it that way," she said.

Other ways to show pride

Finlay said the rainbow crosswalks still have a white outline.

The City of Moncton said it would find other alternatives to showing pride through flags and creating a Pride trail. Down by the water, on the Riverfront Trail, the city decided to paint a rainbow on the sidewalk to join the festivities for Pride week.  

Moncton remains the only city in the area not to paint the crosswalks but did send the crew to paint the crosswalk in Riverview at the corner of Buckingham Avenue and Fatima Drive. 

"So we ended up getting help from the city of Moncton," Finlay said.