New Chinese Zodiac Sign Crosswalk in Chinatown

What’s your Chinese Zodiac sign? I’m a goat, personally, and loved spotting my sign’s symbol at the intersection of 7th and H streets NW in Chinatown.¬†

Goat chinese zodiac sign at the intersection of 7th & H streets in Washington, DC

Six years ago, that busy intersection got a little more interesting when it became a “barnes dance” crosswalk (also known as pedestrian scramble) meaning people could cross it in every direction, including diagonally, at the same time. Now the diagonal section of the crosswalk was just enhanced by a permanent two-dimensional artwork featuring colourful dragons — Chinese dragons of course, because the city tries *very* hard to give its Chinatown a semblance of Chinese identity ūüėČ ¬†

Barnes' Dance Crosswalk in DC's Chinatown

Zodiac Sign on the crosswalk in DC's Chinatown

The installation was done by Alternative Paving Concepts, based on a design by Charles Bergen, a DC-native and Yale educated architect turned full time artist¬†who is responsible for a few public art features around town, including one of the¬†Alphabet Animal Art Project¬†aluminum plate¬†in Capitol Hill (the Capitalsaurus is chasing a Falcarius across F and 1st Streets SE). He¬†won the commission from DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities¬†to paint the intersection to be more distinct and unique. The dragons allude to the Chinatown’s history of hosting an annual parade for Chinese New Year, which features a traditional Dragon Dance. What do you think of it? I’m a fan of anything that brings a little colour to the city… whether on walls on streets ūüėȬ†

Postcard from Philadelphia: 13th & Locust’s Rainbow Crosswalk

It was the day after the Supreme Court’s landmark¬†ruling¬†legalizing gay marriage nationwide in the U.S. My parents and I were in Philadelphia to catch the Hermione tall ship while she was making her way up the East Coast.¬†We were wandering around the city’s Mural Mile, a 2.5 mile loop¬†through downtown, to catch some of Philadelphia’s most iconic street art. Suddenly, a pop of colour on the ground caught our attention for a change. At the intersection of 13th street and Locust, rainbow stripes had been painted on the pedestrian crosswalks, forming a bright and bold¬†square.

Rainbow Crosswalk in Philadelphia

 

Turns out, this didn’t just pop overnight following the Supreme Court decision. It¬†had been planned long before ūüėČ Starting with West Hollywood back in 2012, a handful of North American cities brightened up their crosswalks in historically gay or gay-friendly neighbourhoods like Vancouver’s Davie Street Village,¬†San Francisco’s Castro,¬†Seattle’s Capitol Hill¬†or¬†Toronto’s Church Street. Even Key West’s got a Rainbow Crosswalk¬†and now Philadelphia. Isn’t it time DC got one as well!? As the Washington Post highlighted in this article last year, why can’t crosswalks be more fun, like this series of artist-designed crosswalks up¬†in Baltimore’s new¬†Bromo Tower Arts & Entertainment District¬†or San Jose’s crosswalks at Paseo de San Antonio?¬†We got a decent start with the¬†awesome star-spangled crosswalk that livens up the intersection of 14th and S streets NW, but it could use a little sprucing up right now, it’s looking quite faded. And we could use more!! Wouldn’t you love a rainbow crosswalk in DC? If yes, where do you think it should be?¬†