PRIDE 2019: What to know about Boystown's new rainbow crosswalks

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After months of planning, the Boystown neighborhood finished installing rainbow crosswalks on North Halsted street, just in time for pride month.

"We were very lucky to have the support of both of the Aldermen who represent our community, Tom Tunney and James Cappleman," said Eric Santiago, Northalsted Business Alliance assistant director. "We worked extensively with the Chicago Department of Transportation. There had not been a project done like this before in Chicago, so CDOT really worked with us to kind of tailor and customize the application process for us."

The business alliance unveiled the first half of the crosswalks in May.

It included six pride flag crosswalks and one transgender flag crosswalk, on the intersection of North Halsted and Melrose St.

Now, all fourteen of the crosswalks are complete.

"I've seen so many cities put them out there and I've always wondered like 'when is that going to happen here?'" Artist Sam Kirk said. "I'm glad to see that our city thought outside of the normal box and included a transgender flag as well."

The crosswalks are made from thermoplastic, a malleable sheet of pre-formed, aggregate reinforced plastic. It's used for projects all around the city and is said to be more durable than regular road paint.

As a result, it comes with a price. But the installation didn't cost the city a dime.

"We are proud to say this project was fully funded by public donations," Santiago said. "We host two large street festivals every summer, Chicago Pride Fest in June and North Halsted Market Days in August. So when people attend those events they donate and we take those donations and we invest them back into the community."

Santiago said he hopes the crosswalks show how committed Boystown is to being the "center of LGBTQ people and culture," long into the future.
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