Pedestrians cross by the newly repainted rainbow sidewalk downtown on Thursday morning. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Pedestrians cross by the newly repainted rainbow sidewalk downtown on Thursday morning. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Clear June skies mean rainbow crosswalk repainting downtown

“The community support for this and the support for this from visitors continues to grow.”

Juneau’s downtown rainbow crosswalk got its fourth annual touch-up this week to reinvigorate last June’s faded colors.

The crosswalk, located on Front Street, has been painted by the City and Borough of Juneau Streets and Fleet Maintenance Division since July 2019, following a number of crosswalks downtown getting guerrilla-painted rainbow colors in previous years.

Though the city initially provides the labor and material for the touchup — which cost around $2,300 this year — all costs are billed to and paid for by donations to the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council specifically sent for the crosswalk, said Reggie Schapp, JAHC operations manager.

“If it has something to do with the humanities or arts we are more than willing to help,” she said.

According to Kit Watts, Valley Street supervisor for the Streets and Fleet Maintenance Division of CBJ, the street’s crew began painting the crosswalks in the early hours of Wednesday and finished Thursday morning, each day only painting half at a time to minimize disruption to traffic.

“We try to get it done as early as we can, but a lot of that has to do with weather,” he said. “The first chance we get in June, we get on it.”

Steve SueWing, who helped get the original crosswalk painted and continues to fundraise for it, said continuing the repainting each year is not only a priority for him, the volunteers and donors, but it also serves as a symbol of inclusivity to the community and the visitors of Juneau.

“Representation and acknowledgment for members of our community matters, and the fact that this was a 100% community-driven project — not just my priority, but the priority of the people who volunteer and donate each year — shows that it’s a priority for others,” he said. “The community support for this and the support for this from visitors continues to grow, and that feels like a payoff for all the work we did to make it happen.”

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807.

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