TUCSON, Ariz. - They were introduced as bright beacons to welcome all people to Tucson’s Fourth Avenue, but less than a year later, the city’s rainbow crosswalks are dirty and hard to recognize.
“They just look like stains in the asphalt,” Ana Alcaraz said as she walked with her son Matthew to lunch on 4th Ave.
The two said they like the colors of the crosswalks when they were installed and dedicated at 4th Avenue and 6th Street of August of last year. But now that the colors are hard, if not impossible, to see under a layer of dark dirt and grime and they wonder if it wouldn’t be better to repaint the crossings as traditional crosswalks.
“It should have lasted a lot longer than it did,” Matthew Alcaraz said.
“You can't even tell that it's a crosswalk,” Ana said. “It needs to be painted white, actually, because I was hit in a crosswalk before and that's not good right there.”
Alcaraz says she was a young teenager when a car hit her while she crossed a street in a crosswalk on the west side.
“My ankle was all broken, twisted totally backward, and just hanging like a dog,” she said.
The Fourth Avenue Merchants Association is responsible for upkeep and maintenance of the crosswalks. Executive Director Fred Ronstadt said workers power wash the crosswalks at least once a month but because 4th Avenue and 6th Street is such a busy intersection the crosswalks are under constant bombardment from cars. The material has a lifespan of three years Ronstadt said.
The colors come from color-treated glass that is applied to adhesive on the street. Most of the labor and materials were donated from the company that installed the crosswalks but the city reportedly spent $10,000 for the project.