Clover Moore’s proposal to introduce rainbow-coloured pedestrian crossings on Oxford St is likely to be approved.

In December, City of Sydney Council unanimously approved Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s proposal to paint the Taylor Square and Whitlam Square pedestrian crossings in rainbow colours to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Mardi Gras. The city has earmarked $75,000 towards the project to cover road safety audits, designs and installation.

A statement released by the Moore’s office called the proposal “a new opportunity to further acknowledge and promote Oxford St’s GLBT character and its significance to the GLBT community”.

Council will have to obtain approval for the plan from Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), as Oxford St is a state-owned road. RMS has indicated the plan is likely to be approved provided the crossings are installed on a trial basis and a risk evaluation is carried out. While the city considered painting all three Taylor Square crossings rainbow, the trial-based nature of the installation meant that only two crossings were selected for the project.

The idea comes from the City of West Hollywood, which installed temporary rainbow crossings on San Vincente and San Monica Boulevards in June in celebration of Gay Pride Month. The fixtures were made permanent in October after receiving a warm reception from the local community and from tourists.

Liberal City of Sydney Councillor Christine Forster said the proposal would also help bring much-needed business and tourism to the area.

“If we can spruce Oxford St up that will be great for local business – it’s an area that needs revitalisation. People often say that Oxford St looks dull – there are a lot of boarded up shops, and that really doesn’t make it look like a thriving business area. Anything we can do to make it look a bit more vibrant is a good thing,” Forster said.

Forster also emphasised the potential for attracting tourists.

“Having these crossings at Whitlam Square and Taylor Square is ideal – it’s the entry point to that central part of the gay community. A lot of visitors come to Oxford St to get a feel for gay and lesbian Sydney, and having these crossings will help identify that area as the community’s heart.”

If approved, the crossings will be installed in February before the start of Mardi Gras.

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