Crossing

Oxford St has had a makeover in time for Mardi Gras, with the unveiling of the long-awaited rainbow crossing strip at Taylor Square on Tuesday.

The crossing, which will adorn the street on a trial basis until the end of March, was launched by Lord Mayor Clover Moore along with Sydney state MP Alex Greenwich and Sydney Mardi Gras’ Michael Rolik, Siri Kommendal and Peter Urmson.

The City of Sydney council voted unanimously to install the crossing in December last year, but a vote on Monday night to allot $30,000 in additional funding to the project was opposed by Liberal councillors Edward Mandla and Christine Forster, as well as Living Sydney councillor Angela Vithoulkas.

Greenwich said that the additional $30,000 may not be needed as it was earmarked for the crossing’s removal, a ruling by the state Roads and Maritime Services department that he intends to oppose.

“I’ve already spoken to the roads minister about keeping the crossing. We’ve seen a tremendously positive community response already, and I think that people will push very hard for the colours to stay,” Greenwich said.

Moore said the rainbow would help make Oxford St the number one destination for the tens out thousands of people visiting Sydney for Mardi Gras

“The city is determined to support local businesses along Oxford Street. This time of year is a vital opportunity for the cafes, shops, galleries and other small businesses and we want to make sure all eyes are on this iconic strip,” Moore said.

“Along with our colourful rainbow banners, our artwork on the former T2 building, the flower installations in Taylor Square and a pop-up Mardi Gras museum, the new rainbow crossing will make Oxford Street an unmissable sight.”

The City of Sydney’s ongoing support for Mardi Gras includes $400,000 for the festival in 2013 and 2014, as well as $252,700 of in-kind sponsorship.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO Michael Rolik said the rainbow crossing is a bold and beautiful tribute to Sydney’s LGBT communities.

“It further cements Sydney Mardi Gras in the heart of Oxford Street itself,” Rolik said.

Rainbow crossings were first installed in West Hollywood in 2012 ahead of the gay pride celebrations there in June. Public support is reported to have been very positive in the city.

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