The signs installed at 72 intersections will remain in operation after the festival as well
From June 23 to July 2, Madrid will be the home of the 2017 World Pride Festival, celebrating LGBTQ rights and attracting over 3 million visitors from all over the world. The logistics involved in organizing any event this large are noteworthy, but it’s one small tweak to the city’s intersections that has the world taking notice and applauding.
A total of 288 of those ubiquitously familiar traffic signals (“Walk/Don’t Walk”) in the city center will be replaced to represent same-sex couples, both men and women, in honor of the event. Some show the couples simply walking together, while others will depict the couples holding hands. Upon the conclusion of the World Pride Festival early next month, the new devices will remain in operation at the 72 intersections throughout the progressive city.
🌈 Semáforos que representan la diversidad de la que Madrid se siente orgullosa. Estarán en los 21 distritos.… https://t.co/y2eLUJsWdT— Ayuntamiento Madrid (@Ayuntamiento Madrid) 1496689112
The cost of replacing the lights, according to El Mundo (via A Plus), came in at around $25,000, but that pales in comparison to the over $300 million in revenue the city expects from hosting visitors during the event. Remarkably, Madrid’s not the first Spanish city to come up with this gay-friendly twist on pedestrian control. San Fernando de Henares made the switch earlier this year in a show of support during Valentine’s Day.
While it may not be a testament to Spain’s ingenuity—such lights have proliferated in other cities as well, with the Austrian city of Vienna having installed them two years ago—something tells me that Madrid officials won’t mind coming in third on an effort like this.
City officials are also considering repainting black and white crosswalks with an array of rainbow colors, as other gay-friendly cities, such as West Hollywood and Philadelphia, have adopted.
Earlier this year, Madrid officials made headlines on the LGBTQ front by banning an anti-trans campaign bus that bore the verbiage, “Boys haves penises and girls have vulvas. Do not be fooled.” The country was also among the first to allow same-sex marriages on a national level.