By Jennifer McGraw

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The federal government warned one city that “crosswalk art” is illegal and must be removed; similarly to a crosswalk rainbow paved locally.

The colorful LGBTQ inspired rainbow jets across the intersection of 20th and J streets in the Lavender District.

The groundbreaking was a milestone for diversity, showing off not only Sacramento’s pride, but also for other cities across the country the bay, Chicago, New York, and even Lexington, Kentucky.

But now that artwork could be in jeopardy.

“If they pull off this rainbow crosswalk, could you imagine the message that sends?” said City Councilman Steve Hansen who led Sacramento’s efforts to install the rainbow crosswalk.

When he heard the mayor of Lexington was told theirs must be removed, he was floored.

“This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of,” Hansen said.

Federal Transportation officials sent a letter to Lexington’s mayor saying it’s a dangerous distraction and warns forms of “crosswalk art” are not compliant.

“Mayor Gray should absolutely stand up and fight,” Hansen said. “It seems a little fishy that everywhere else in the country this is ok.”

To the LGBTQ community, it’s personal.

“Seeing that rainbow flag and that rainbow crosswalk, is actually a beacon of hope,” said Enrique Manjarrez of Sacramento.

“If you remove those crosswalks, you remove a part of us,” said Dana Vendley with Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce.

The Federal Transportation letter also said with the emergence of self-driving vehicles there will be a need for clear uniform pavement.

Hansen confirmed the city hadn’t been notified, but won’t be backing down.

“We would absolutely fight and work with our members of Congress and the US Senators to deal with it very quickly,” he said.

It’s a rainbow this community stands by.

“I think we’re going to fight if they try to remove them,” Manjarrez said.

The mayor’s office in Lexington, Kentucky, said it has not yet responded to the federal government, but said the crosswalks would stay until there’s a further investigation.


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