Pedestrian lights in the heart of Canberra have been changed from the ‘walking man’ to walking male and female same-sex couples, in what is believed to be a nation-wide first.
Eight green pedestrian lights at the intersection of Cooyong Street, Lonsdale Street and Genge Street in Braddon have been changed thanks to a new initiative by the City Renewal Authority.
City Renewal Authority CEO Malcolm Snow said the project would replace selected pedestrian lights around the precinct in order to better recognise the diversity of the local Canberra community and the different characters of its places.
The new green pedestrian lights have been installed for nearly three weeks and Mr Snow said the busy intersection was selected because Braddon has “distinctively been the place of celebration for Canberra’s LGBTIQ community”.
Nearly three out of every four Canberrans supported a change to the Marriage Act — the highest ‘yes’ result in the country, with Lonsdale Street hosting an impromptu street party after the same-sex marriage survey results were announced last year.
“A year ago we saw this area filled with people, colour and joy after the country voted overwhelmingly in favour of marriage equality,” Mr Snow said.
“The rainbow roundabout installed late last year has been a popular feature, and the area has hosted significant events as part of this year’s SpringOut Festival, which includes the SpringOut Community Picnic in Haig Park this Sunday.
“Starting this project, with this theme, at this location was a really easy decision.”
Mr Snow said the authority will now look for other sites within the City Renewal Precinct to upgrade pedestrian lights at intersections to highlight the diversity of the nation’s capital.
“The City Renewal Precinct is full of many different people and places and the authority sees strengthening diversity as a critical element of a successful city,” Mr Snow said.
“Where we can match up shapes that capture a specific area’s character and identity, and those shapes can practically be made into a pedestrian light shroud, we will look to extend the project in other parts of the precinct.”