Rainbow crosswalks? Feh, says Culver City

While the City of West Hollywood began painting the LGBT flag on two crosswalks along Santa Monica and San Vicente Boulevards (the project is to be finished Friday), Culver City is giving tours of its new $1.5 million rainbow arch.

WeHo’s rainbow crosswalks became permanent features this week. Photo by WeHo News.

The West Hollywood rainbow crosswalks, at first temporarily put down for Gay Pride 2012, were such a hit that plans to make them permanent easily passed the WeHo City Council’s muster in August.

“The landmark Rainbow Crosswalks emphasize the core branding of West Hollywood, and will be a permanent symbol to all that this is a city of tolerance and acceptance,” stated Mayor Jeffrey Prang.

“Since the temporary installation, the crosswalks have not only gained tremendous positive attention from around the world, but not a day goes by that we don’t see hoards of tour buses slowing down to snap photos of the new landmark.”

“This alone will have a tremendous impact on tourism and further establish West Hollywood as a LGBT vacation destination.”

Already, the first phase of the project is complete. Crews will touch up some of the white lines in the crosswalk on Thursday with all work completed by Friday early morning.

In voting the $67,000 to replace the temporary paint with thermo-plastic technology, the council chose to follow state mandates for the treatment of crosswalks and roadways.

Still, not all in West Hollywood are sanguine about the project; residents wanted local artists to do the work and considered the cost excessive and the project beneath the high standards one might expect from the “Creative City.”

The rainbow arch over Sony Studios in Culver City. Images courtesy Sony Studios.

Mayor Jeffrey Prang reacted to the former concern, that artists from WeHo be involved with the painting.

He told WeHo News, “Some suggested we use local artists to paint [the crosswalks], however, California Vehicle Code requirements mandate certain standards for pavement markings.

Addressing the cost, he provided estimates gathered by city staff.

“Here are some rough numbers with respect to different crosswalk replacement options:

a) Red Brick style – NEW – 5-7 year lifespan – $55,000 – $ 60,000 (the existing pavement treatment)

Includes: Asphalt Replacement, Stamping of brick pattern, Color Application – patented multi-layered application and White edge lines.

After the 5-7 year lifespan, the colors can be refreshed depending on asphalt wear. The cost for refreshing colors is somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000 for the two crosswalks.

b) Rainbow crosswalks – NEW – 12-15 year lifespan – $70,000

Includes: Asphalt replacement, new white edge lines and specially designed thermoplastic crosswalk markings in rainbow colors.

The rainbow arch over Sony Studios in Culver City. Images courtesy Sony Studios.

As neighborhood activist Stephanie Harken told the council in August, repeating her assertions in this publication, “the money might be used in a more visible manner that will make a statement that people can see without the necessity for constant maintenance, such as more flags around the city or rainbow-striped power poles or a rainbow arch over Boystown.

“Something truly creative, that will not be covered with skid marks and garbage, as they are at the moment and will be on a daily basis, needing constant cleaning.”

Call her prescient, but Culver City pulled off her Rainbow Arch feat, unveiling Monday their version of an homage to “The Wizard of Oz,” shot in the city in the 1930s.

The 94-foot tall steel structure was designed by artist Tony Tasset and installed near Sony Studio’s Madison Avenue gate.

It stands nine stories tall with a span of 188 feet.

The art installation is visible 24 hours per day, 7 days per week from various locations just outside the Sony lot, including the Madison Avenue gate, as well as from certain vantage points around Culver City.

Sony built the “Rainbow” to fulfill Culver City’s Art in Public Places requirement, which mandates that one percent of the budget for certain development projects goes toward public art.

The project’s total budget was $1,536,516, more than fulfilling Sony’s $614,000 public art requirement.

Public tours of the studio lot ($33 per person, under 12 free) will allow closer physical access.

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