Sydney’s rainbow pedestrian crossing was removed overnight despite widespread public calls for its preservation.
The crossing at Taylor Square was painted in rainbow colours as part of celebrations for this year’s Mardi Gras. Road workers moved in last night and tore the crossing up, resurfacing it with asphalt. The crossing was removed on the orders of NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay after a month-long trial.
The City of Sydney Council wanted the crossing retained as tourist attraction, But Mr Gay argued that pedestrians sitting or lying on the crossing to take photos posed a safety risk.
“The behaviour we have seen recorded by CCTV cameras … set off alarm bells at the high risk of injuries and fatalities,” he said in a media release. “This is a matter of road and pedestrian safety which has no association whatsoever with my respect for the history and community of Oxford Street.”
Sydney Mayor Clover Moore said she had hoped to meet with the Minister to discuss extending the trial but he had refused.
“I think the gay community is very upset, as am I. I think it’s a real slap in the face,” she said.
NSW independent MP Alex Greenwich has demanded an apology from Premier Barry O’Farrell for what he said was the government’s use of emergency powers to rip up the crossing.
“It’s one thing to call for the removal, but to divert RMS crews under the guise of emergency road works is an aggressive act that Sydneysiders will not forget. The Premier must apologise for this aggressive act against both Sydney and the GLBTI community.” – Kaycee Jane Shingles-Moore
Photo from Eligius4917’s photo stream.