AT ISSUE: Has rainbow crosswalk opened up possibilty of other symbols?

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando that rainbow crosswalks at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue in Midtown. AJC file photo

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando that rainbow crosswalks at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue in Midtown. AJC file photo

On the first anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando, Altanta Mayor Kasim Reed declared the city would restore the rainbow crosswalks at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue in Midtown.

“On June 12, 2016, amidst the celebration of Pride Month, 49 individuals lost their lives in an unspeakable tragedy in Orlando, Florida,” Reed said in a release. One year later, he said, “I cannot think of a more important time to reaffirm our unwavering and unqualified support for our LGBTQ residents.”

“Symbols of unity matter,” Reed said. “This intersection in Midtown is recognized for its history as a hub for Atlanta’s LGBTQ community, and it is fitting that such an important and recognizable place should feature the rainbow flag.”

The rainbow originally was painted for Atlanta Pride weekend, Oct. 9-11, 2015. Pride organizers thought the display would be permanent, but the Department of Public Works informed them it would be removed after the festival.

At the time, Reed told Georgia Voice, the LGBTQ news site, “Unlike most artwork in the city’s collection, public safety is a significant factor in determining when to display the Rainbow Crosswalks.” Reed cited Federal Highway Administration rules for traffic control devices in not making it permanent.

In April, Atlanta musician and LGBTQ advocate Sarah Rose started an online petition urging Atlanta to restore the rainbow. The petition, which got more than 22,000 signatures, “was about more than a crosswalk; it was about over 20,000 people coming together to show they exist,” Rose said in a statement.

When At Issue presented this question earlier, some readers were concerned that this would open the floodgates for many other groups to insist upon special symbols in places throughout the city. What do you think about that?. Send comments by email to They may be edited for length and/or clarity and published online or in print.


Despite efforts by the Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources to educate the public, the county has experienced no less than seven sewage spills since January. In each case, the county cleans up the spill, posts signs to alert residents and notifies the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

DWR offers education about how and why to avoid grease, fats, oils and other ‘fog in the line’ at

The Gwinnett sewerage system is designed to dispose of very specific things: water, toilet paper and human waste. Many things people think of as flushable, like facial or baby wipes and sanitary napkins, do not break down like toilet paper. At another county website:, citizens can learn more about what can and cannot be disposed of down drains and toilets.

Here are reader’s suggestions for solving the problem:

I think the county needs to take a comprehensive look at what additional steps can be taken under the premise that these waste products will continue to flow within our sewers as people are unlikely (and in the case of human oils unable) to adjust their behavior. If there are trouble spots, they should be checked more regularly or their design fixed to be more able to handle the waste that everyone seems to be generating. — Richard Williams

Why do manufacturers advertise "flushable" wipes? Can't we do something about false advertising? — Pam Hopper

It is very possible that the people that are doing this don't watch the news, read a newspaper or belong to any online Nextdoor groups. Gwinnett needs to come up with way to get this information out to everyone. — Mary Jones

Take the responsibility of this out of the government. Let private industry run this. — Danny Halel

Companies make toilet paper much thicker today to appeal to comfort. Where this does meet the expectations of the consumer it also takes longer for it to break down. I stopped using the ultra thick paper after having to call a plumber to unclog the drain line a couple of times. If on a septic system I'm sure using paper that breaks down faster is much better for the system. — Richard Fallin

‪ Stop putting cooking grease down the sink!!! — MaryHelen Morgan‪

Every time there is a spill the cause is wipes and grease forming a large solid mass. Wipes do not decompose and should never be flushed. Grease and oil need to go in the trash. Some recycling banks accept used cooking oil. This would be less of an issue if people flushed only toilet paper and human waste. — Karla Kelley

I understand with the popularity of garbage disposals we have inadvertently increased the amount of grease into our sewage lines. Back in the day prior to garbage disposals, leftover food went into the trash or was composted. — Pam Hopper

Karen Huppertz for the AJC