Chiswick reacts to the new rainbow crossings with bemused tolerance

Chiswick reacts to the new rainbow crossings with bemused tolerance

Picture above: Rainbow crossing at the junction of Chiswick High Rd and Turnham Green Terrace

Four New Crossbreeds to Promote “Love and Inclusivity,” Says Cllr Ranjit Gill

The newly painted rainbow crossings at the junction of Chiswick High Rd, Turnham Green Terrace and Annandale Rd took most people by surprise this morning.

They appeared overnight and workers will return tonight to finish them before a grand opening ceremony at 10am on Friday.

“What are they for?” was the stunned response of most customers talking about it at Snappy Snaps on the corner between two of the intersections. Nonetheless, most felt it was nice that they brightened up the place, whatever they were for.

The colors in the crossings are those of the Progressive Pride flag, which celebrates LGBTQ people and also Black Lives Matter. The crossings were organized by the West London Queer Project and Ollie Saunders, one of the directors of Chiswick Flower Market, with the support of Chiswick Councilor Ranjit Gill, a Conservative councilor of Hounslow Council who is gay himself.

Cllr Ranjit Gill

“I raised it with the council to make them aware that we need it,” Ranjit told The Chiswick Calendar. “It’s an all-encompassing thing to show that everyone needs to be included in our community, whether they’re gay, transgender, black, whoever they are.

“Unfortunately, homophobia still exists. You can see that some people are against it, but we are all taxpayers and we all need to be involved. All other counties do, so Hounslow should too.

“Young people today should be made aware that you can be who you are and express yourself whoever you are.”

Ranjit and his 43-year-old partner Peter have both experienced homophobic abuse.

Aubrey Crawley

Aubrey Crawley, founder of the West London Queer Project, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“I know some people will say it’s a waste of money, but it would have meant a lot to me to see something like this growing up. It’s a real public endorsement of support.”

No problem for guide dogs

The crossbreeds were the subject of discussions on social media today, with some commenting such as: “The world has gone mad” and “We’re all going mad”.

Critics were more or less divided into two camps – cyclists who feared the safety markings were gone, perhaps unaware that the crossings still have a night of work to do – and those who thought the rainbow crossings were visually dangerous to people with Disabilities because guide dogs would not be able to recognize them as crossbreeds.

Picture above: Rainbow crossing on Chiswick High Rd

Dogs are color blind, at least they don’t appreciate the full human color spectrum. They can only distinguish between blue and yellow.

The original idea was that there should be a rainbow crosswalk, which Transport for London vetoed as visually impaired people and guide dogs could not make out colors as easily as a black and white crosswalk.

After more than two years of discussion, TfL and the Hounslow cabinet agreed that there could be rainbow crossings at this junction, given the already existing audible crossing signals for the visually impaired.

One of Chiswick’s blind residents, Eran, who uses a guide dog, told us:

“As long as the tactile and the crossing buttons stay the same, I really don’t care what color it is.”

TV presenter and Chiswick resident Nicki Chapman will be present at the opening on Friday 3 February at 10am, along with organizers Aubrey Crawley, Ollie Saunders and Cllr Ranjit Gill, and Hounslow Council leader Shantanu Rajawat .

Picture above: Rainbow crossing on Chiswick High Rd

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