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Cynthia A. Kochan: Crosswalk should not have been painted

KEVIN GUTTING
John Burk, left, of Northampton gets a glimpse of the final color of a new "rainbow" crosswalk being painted onto Main Street Tuesday by Northampton Department of Public Works employees Mark Scheel, top, Superintendent of Streets Richard Parasiliti and Fred Pirog, right. The crew started late Monday night painting the white stripes and were still busy applying the 12 stripes of color (two of each) here at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

KEVIN GUTTING John Burk, left, of Northampton gets a glimpse of the final color of a new "rainbow" crosswalk being painted onto Main Street Tuesday by Northampton Department of Public Works employees Mark Scheel, top, Superintendent of Streets Richard Parasiliti and Fred Pirog, right. The crew started late Monday night painting the white stripes and were still busy applying the 12 stripes of color (two of each) here at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Purchase photo reprints »

To the editor:

I do not support painting a rainbow flag on a crosswalk on Northampton’s Main Street at Thornes Marketplace. This was done Tuesday.

We are fortunate to reside in a community where all the citizens are on equal footing. Therefore, special attention to any particular segment of the population is no longer necessary. Besides, Northampton is well known for the diverse population in residence here thus painting a blaring “label” across Main Street is redundant.

Cynthia A. Kochan

Northampton

I'm personally straight. As a straight person I cannot comment on whether LTBTQ people are on true equal footing in Northampton. I have not walked in those shoes. My estimate from my observation is that while things have improved for LTBTQ people over the decades and are better in Northampton than elsewhere, the equal footing has not been achieved. So I disagree with the letter writer on that point. I do believe there are room for several legitimate complaints about how the crosswalk decision was made and executed. Given that the council recently established a protocol for the arts council/committee to review and approve any public art display, why was this done only through the BPW and transportation committee? It would have been approved anyway, but the execution could have better and possibly addressed some of the complaints we hear now. This project was externally funded, which is good. But why did the BPW spend time on this in this month when there are pressing safety issues (pothole repair from a severe winter)? It appears the project was rushed in order to be ready for this year's parade. I can understand the impulse to have it ready for this year's parade instead of next, but I personally would prioritize safety first and painting this mid-summer instead. Further if there is one crosswalk in the downtown area that was going to be refurbished in this way, why not do one of the crosswalks that was more degraded and in need of repair? As noted in the previous Gazette articles, similar attempts by various groups to modify crosswalks in the past have been rejected by the BPW, why was this one passed? How did they differ? How did the review on this project happen so fast? Some people object to the particular design that was chosen. Another thing that could have been mediated through the arts council review/discussion. These are a few examples. There are plenty of reasons to be in support of LGBTQ, support this project, and oppose the process in which it was reviewed and executed.

Objections to this are silly at best, miserable at worst. If you don't like that the crosswalk, in your opinion, pays "special attention" to people still persecuted and killed all over this country for their sexuality, you can just think of it as a colorful crosswalk. If you don't like it, feel free to cross over by City Hall. Or, better, jaywalk.

I agree 100% with Cynthia.

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