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West 4th Bars, Restaurants Oppose Rainbow Crosswalk

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A rainbow crosswalk in Vancouver.
A rainbow crosswalk in Vancouver.
Photo: Anita Hart/Flickr

A proposal to paint a rainbow crosswalk in Austin's tiny gayborhood hit unexpected opposition, The Chronicle reports. A trend first popularized by West Hollywood, cities like San Francisco, Vancouver and Boston have all installed similar crosswalks. But in Austin, a number of West 4th restaurant and bar owners want to block the move:

When Paul Huddleston, president of the Austin Pride Foundation, and Council Member Mike Mar­tin­ez held discussions with local business owners, the two were met with unexpected hostility from the Hangar, Truluck's, Cedar Street Court­yard, and Péché. . . . Rob Pate, Péché's owner, said, "Oilcan's, Castro's, and Rain are absolutely wonderful neighbors, but when you deviate from the norm, it could open a Pandora's box."

Update! A rep for Peche passes along the following comment from owner Rob Pate: "We always have been and always will be proud to be in a gay-friendly neighborhood. We embrace every customer who walks through our door. The Pandora's comment was taken out of context, and if the legalities surrounding the rainbow crosswalks pass, we are 100% behind it. No question."

Update 2! When reached via phone, Rob Pate adds, "The Pandora's box I referred to was the possibility of any special interest group being able to come in and alter the street. If altering the crosswalk is legal, then I 100% support the rainbow crosswalk. We value our community here."

When asked if he would offer his support if it turns out there were legal changes that needed to be made, Pate said he would consider it, depending on what the changes were. He also says the issue is on the agenda for next week's city council meeting.
· What's a Little Rainbow Crosswalk Between Friends [Chronicle]
· All Controversies [EATX]