Key West installs rainbow crosswalks to show ‘everybody is welcome’

Paul Cassidy, center, a Key West Public Works foreman, uses a propane torch to embed thermoplastic strips representing a rainbow flag into asphalt June 15, 2020, in Key West. (Rob O'Neal, Florida Keys News Bureau)

KEY WEST, Fla. – The walk down historic Duval Street in Key West just got even more colorful.

On Monday, the city installed four rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of Duval and Petronia streets.

The permanent display in the heart of the island’s LGBTQ entertainment district is a signal that “everybody is welcome, everybody is equal, everybody is recognized,” said the city’s mayor Teri Johnston. “Everybody is a part of Key West.”

The crosswalks are composed of preformed thermoplastic color stripes, according to the city. They were heat-treated with propane torches to attach the colors permanently on the pavement.

The crosswalks were spearheaded by the city and the Key West Business Guild, and their installation was the last step in a project to repave and restripe historic Duval Street from the 100 block to Truman Avenue.

“Rainbow crosswalks were originally installed on Duval in 2015, quickly becoming a city landmark and popular photo stop,” the city said in a news release. “Their replacement, necessitated by the repaving project, also allowed for a redesign that makes the rainbow colors stand out more vividly against the asphalt.”

A man walks a dog as Paul Cassidy, right, a Key West Public Works foreman, uses a propane torch to embed thermoplastic strips representing a rainbow flag into asphalt June 15, 2020, in Key West. (Florida Keys News Bureau)