Since they first began painting the pride crosswalks in the downtown area of Lethbridge in 2016, there has been a constant struggle to upkeep these displays of inclusivity sitting in our streets. Of course, due to being driven, biked, and walked on, there has been regular wear and tear that begins almost immediately once the paint has dried.
This year, however, conscious efforts were made to distinguish a way forward that would be both longer lasting, just as vibrant, and more cost-efficient for the city. Lethbridge Pride Committee is pleased to say they found a way, and are now able to say that both the pride flag and transgender flag crosswalks on 3rd avenue and 7th street are here to stay.
There is more than just a difference in the paint they are using this time around, as special preparations were made to the street in anticipation of the permanent crosswalks by replacing the pavement with concrete; this is believed to help the paint settle and stick to the surface it rests on, which should in turn help counteract the everyday wear and tear.
The other component supposed to aid in the longevity of the display is the fact that this paint was made with a cold MMA (methyl methacrylate, a powerful organic compound capable of withstanding considerable stress) thermal-based paint instead of the standard thermoplastic paint. The result is not only a stronger display of pride but a longer-lasting display as well.
When asked about the past vandalism and the future protection of the crosswalks, Lane Sterr, President of Lethbridge Pride Fest, says he has "a lot of hope,” in the future of the crosswalks and the community’s ability to keep them from being vandalized.
Construction and paint pouring for the crosswalks began around 1 PM on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022, and went until later in the day. By Wednesday morning, the paint had dried completely and all barricades on the street had been removed.
With the crosswalks, louder and prouder than ever, it is expected these crosswalks, with their superior paint choice, will be able to withstand the regular everyday wear and tear its already faced for up to 10 years. Moving from painting the crosswalks yearly to every 10 years will surely help cut the cost to maintain them. As well, the crosswalks have been updated to include the newer iteration of the pride flag, featuring the colours of the transgendered flag, as well as black and brown striped to represent queen people of colour.
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