A rainbow crosswalk will be painted at the north-end intersection of Kenberma Street and Nantasket Avenue to celebrate Pride Month in June.
Hull Pride member Jason McCann explained the concept to the Board of Selectmen this week before the members voted, as the town’s traffic commissioners, to support the project.
“The intention is to celebrate the town’s commitment to inclusion and diversity; to support economic development in the Kenberma business district; and to complement the town’s streetscape beautification efforts,” McCann said.
This acknowledgment of Pride Month comes at a time when the annual Hull Pride celebration will be cancelled for the second year due to the pandemic.
“This has been a hard year for everyone,” McCann said. “While the rainbow crosswalk is for everyone’s enjoyment, for young people especially who haven’t felt included or who are figuring out who they are, seeing the rainbow symbol can have a big impact.”
The Economic Development Committee, the Hull-Nantasket Chamber of Commerce, and several local businesses and residents have voiced their support for the project.
Hull Pride’s mission is “to strengthen local community connections through events and outreach that promote diversity, acceptance, and inclusion,” and painting a rainbow crosswalk is seen as one way to accomplish that goal.
A white crosswalk with rainbow stripes similar to ones that have been painted in Plymouth and Provincetown will be painted by Chip King, of Mashpee-based Parking Lines, at a the time of year when the town normally restripes crosswalks and also in time for Pride Month.
The estimated $3,575 cost for the project will be raised through donations, a GoFundMe page, and potential support through government and corporate grant programs, supplemented with existing funds in the Hull Pride account.
Retail supporters Good Geeks and Scoops will sell Pride/rainbow-related items and souvenirs.
The part of the roadway where the work will take place is expected to be closed for four to eight hours while the painting is being done, but King said the project will more likely wrap up in about four hours.
Hull Pride also plans to raise the funds to pay for re-painting the crosswalk every two to three years as needed.
Despite some potential liability issues cited by Town Counsel James Lampke – in response to comments made by Hull Police Chief John Dunn, who was asked to comment on the proposal – the selectmen unanimously approved the project. Selectman Domenico Sestito was not present.
One issue, raised by Dunn, centers on the fact that crosswalks that vary from the usual design are not in compliance with Federal Highway Administration guidelines, Lampke explained. Another concern is that once one group’s request is approved, other organizations or individuals might also submit similar proposals.
Following the vote, Board Chairwoman Jennifer Constable asked Lampke to draft a policy regarding any future requests.
According to McCann and confirmed by Lampke, “There have been no reported safety issues with rainbow crosswalks. Many towns in Massachusetts have added them without any reported incidents.”
After reviewing the proposal and sharing his concerns, Dunn deemed the proposed location “an excellent one, located at a 24-hour-a-day traffic control point/traffic light that causes the flow of traffic to slow naturally. In addition, it is at the beginning of our shopping district [where there is] pedestrian traffic” and thus good visibility.
McCann and the other Hull Pride members and supporters who were on the call during the remote meeting were pleased with the outcome.
“This is a way to show pride in our community,” McCann said. “This will mean a lot to a lot of people.”
Constable commended Hull Pride for the work the group does in the community.
Donations, made payable to the Town of Hull and designated as a rainbow crosswalk contribution, are welcome. The mailing address is 253 Atlantic Ave., Hull, MA 02045.