[tabi] Local Volunteer Has Braille Added to Bus Stops

  • From: "Chip and Allie Orange" <acorange@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2013 07:00:27 -0400

From today's Democrat:

(thanks Doug for making this happen)



Local volunteer has Braille added to bus stops


Volunteer helps StarMetro stops become accessible

Oct. 27, 2013 11:36 PM


John Plescow was given the Paula Bailey Award by Lighthouse of the Big Bend
for brokering

a deal with StarMetro to have braille plaques installed on bus stops.

John Plescow was given the Paula Bailey Award by Lighthouse of the Big Bend
for brokering

a deal with StarMetro to have braille plaques installed on bus stops.  /

to Democrat

Written by

Arek Sarkissian II

Democrat staff writer

Filed Under

TLH Local

TLH Local Volunteerism

Four years ago, StarMetro announced a plan to do away with its hub-and-spoke

system in favor of  a decentralized network using 40 stops as transfer

The move would make  Tallahassee's bus system more efficient and perhaps

its reliance on  the city budget. But the plan included nothing for members
of the

visually-impaired community who rely on Braille signage to keep up with bus

John Plescow found no use for StarMetro's new system, which went online in
July 2011,

and at the suggestion of his fellows in the blind community, he volunteered
his time

to make a difference.

"It served me much better the old way," Plescow said. "They really opened up

Box with the new system. It was much more difficult to navigate."

Plescow brought in the help of Lighthouse of the Big Bend, Ability1st and
the city

to find a roughly $24,000 federal grant to purchase and install Braille
plates on

bus stops across the system so blind people can determine route numbers and
a text

code for schedules.

Plescow's work earned him the Paula Bailey Inspirational Award at the

Dining in the Dark event on Oct. 13. The award is given  to people who
inspire others,

are visually impaired and are residents of the 11 Big Bend counties the


City transit planning manager Brian Waterman said the StarMetro C.K. Plaza
was used

as the main transfer point in the former route system and was outfitted with

placards to meet federal Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The

system turned former stops into transfer points and the ADA did not require

to have signage for the visually impaired, Waterman said.

"Braille is not common at bus stops," Waterman said. "You have to do it so
it's readable

and also, bus stops are prone to damage or being removed."

Plescow said he was determined to come up with a solution and found former

city manager Jay Townsend willing to help.

"It sort of became my second job," Plescow said. "But it was something that

doing and it was a distraction from everything else."

Plescow said the signs have been ordered and should be installed in the next

months. He applauded the city's initiative to make StarMetro the first
public transit

system to equip all stops with Braille signage.

"Everyone likes to be recognized and told, 'hey you're doing something
good,' " Plescow

said. "But the true reward is that there is going to be Braille at every bus

That is a plum for Tallahassee and a very positive thing."

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