Breaking News
More () »

Community members not fond of metal plates installed by Midtown rainbow crosswalk

Businesses say they impact all drivers in the areas -- not just the ones driving recklessly.

ATLANTA — The City of Atlanta has installed new deterrents to hopefully prevent any more damage to the city's iconic rainbow crosswalks.

"You know, hate has no place and destruction is not going to be condoned or celebrated. We're going to get right back out there and clean up behind their mess, but now I've got something for them if they come do it again," Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said Thursday, speaking of recent incidents of street racing that have damaged Midtown's colorful landmark.

Police have been investigating for weeks after the crosswalks were damaged by cars doing doughnuts and laying drag twice last month at 10th street and Piedmont Avenue. Now there are four metal plates that line the intersection.

Atlanta Police said the idea is that the new additions will act as a speed bump and make it more difficult for street racers. However, people who live and work in the area aren't too fond of this new security measure.

"I understand why they're doing it. I just hope it doesn't affect everyone else who's driving normal (compared to) the knuckleheads who want to act like they're Vin Diesel, and they're not," Jerrelle Anderson, the manager of Skate Escape said.

Anderson said he's seen all kinds of bad driving behavior by his shop on Piedmont Avenue. He added that it can also be a nuisance for business.

"It actually gets a little irritating being here trying to help customers or be on the phone, and these loud, crazy engines go by," he said.

Loud engines erupted in the area last Saturday, leaving burn marks behind on the rainbow crosswalks and attracting a crowd to watch it all happen, according to video. 

After utilizing surveillance footage and social media, investigators said the culprits responsible for defacing the iconic Atlanta landmark are not residents of the city "but simply people who drove into our city to conduct their foolishness," as phrased by Deputy Chief of APD's Community Services Division, Carven Tyus.

Anderson said the reckless drivers make it uncomfortable for other people to be on the roads.

"It makes some customers nervous about driving in the city. I literally have some customers, especially those who live in rural areas, who get a little intimidated," he said.

As for the solution installed by the city, people believe it might hurt more than help.

"Metal plates don't make a difference. They're going to do it somewhere," Abigale Boren said.

Boren works at Caribou Coffee by the intersection. She doesn't like the idea of the metal plates, especially since they affect every vehicle that drives past them.

"It kind of messed with my car a little bit, so maybe it wasn't the best decision," she said. "I think it was just a decision that was going to be quick."

Anderson said there are other solutions that won't affect the everyday community.

"Make a space for drivers to be able to do things like that," Anderson said. "Make it so Atlanta Motor Speedway will open on the weekends when they're not (racing)."

Besides the metal plates, Atlanta Police said officers will also be patrolling the area through the weekend trying to catch any inappropriate drivers on the rainbow crosswalks. They are also working with other law enforcement agencies locally and at the state and federal level to bring charges against the drivers and vehicles they believe to be behind the original damage.

Before You Leave, Check This Out