[tabi] Points from the Visually Impaired Community

  • From: "daviska9" <daviska9@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 19:28:50 -0500

Good Evening All, 

        Below is my draft of the concerns I have pot together from what you
as a group have submitted to me.  Many thanks to Erica and Chip for
providing the majority of these points.  I would have never managed to dig
through archives for this stuff with my schedule being what it is.  Read the
draft and decide among yourselves how you want to edit this.  When a final
version comes back to me, Erica, you can let me know, I will submit it to
the TAC for consideration. 

 

Sincerely yours,

Kevin Davis

 

 

Dear members of the Transportation Advisory Committee,

          Listed below are the pros and cons, hopes for improvement, and
concerns, of the visually impaired community that subscribe to a news group
referred to as TABI (Tallahassee Area Blind Interest).  The idea is to
provide the TAC with the points of view of a number of the visually impaired
community so that the committee can have this information when they make
their recommendation to the City Commission.  

 

NOVA 2010 Pros:

1. More frequent buses;

2.  Uniform longer hours of operation on weekdays;

3.  Saturday and Sunday service for all routes;

4.  Increase hours of operation for Dial-A-Ride (This is because of
increased 

    hours of operation from the regular system);

5. Some people get a considerably more direct route to their primary 

    destinations;

6.  Greater citywide coverage of routes.

 

NOVA 2010 Cons*;

1. Increased walking distances all bus stops;

2. Inadequate sidewalks to and from bus routes.  (This is an existing
problem, but is made worse by the increased distance);

3. Transferring buses may require crossing one or both multi-lane
thoroughfares at major intersection heretofore unaccustomed, due to their
heavy traffic flow, to pedestrians.

4. Tallahassee is NOT a pedestrian-friendly city. Drivers lack consequences
for law-breaking.

5.  Multiple transfers will be required for a number of cross town trips.
This will be increased from direct routes, or one transfer requirement,
currently experienced;

6.  Increased need for public safety concerns.  This includes police
protection at transfer points, city maintenance of transfer points,
increased safety costs for intersections;  

7.  Limited number of Mobility Specialist to train impaired bus patrons on
the new stops and routes;

8.  Right turn on red currently allowed at major intersections are a danger
to bus patrons crossing to transfer to new routes or return directions of
same routes;

9.  Need to cross busy parking lots at shopping centers and malls;

10. Mid street crossings such as at Miccosukee Hills with no safety
measures;

11. Lack of driver cooperation to announce stops.

 

 

 

 

Points of concern outside standard Pro and Con issues;

 

*       It should be noted that the Cons cannot be completely assessed by
many riders or potential riders because the route descriptions provided to
date do not reference where bus routes cross. Therefore, riders may not have
an understanding of how they would get from point A to point B, and which
intersection crossings would be required.

*       Many disabled individuals will never attain independent travel
skills to allow them to cross large busy intersections safely, nor will the
physical impairments of some ever allow for it.  We therefore need the
ability to transfer without crossing through dangerous intersections or
parking lots;

*       We need ways to make it easier to locate bus stops both from quite a
distance out, and when very close.  I understand tactile bumps on the
sidewalks have been proposed, and they are certainly helpful; but I believe
we need more assistance.  This would include lit bus stops to aid those with
low vision, and possibly a technical aid such as the "SoundPost" or other
location system, designed to guide blind individuals towards the bus stop.

*       There is a need to increased Para-Transit funding until more
mobility impaired patrons can be trained on the use of the new system;

*       The decision by StarMetro upper management to request money for C.
K. Steele Plaza renovation.  The Plaza will now be a minor destination if
NOVA 2010 is implemented.

 

SUMMARY: 

          As you can see, the number of concerns out way the benefits.
While this list is not a representation of all mobility impaired
individuals, it is the majority of people who subscribe and regularly post
to the TABI news group.  

          The views of this group can be summed up in a couple of ways.
First, that the proposed grid system plan is fine, but that safety concerns
and accessibility need to be addressed.  All transfer point such as
intersections, used to get to/from stops,  mid point street crossings, and
busy parking lots, need to need to be made safe and accessible.  This means
improvements made to sidewalks, crosswalks, signals & audible signals.
Where ever possible, routes should be reconfigured to eliminate the need for
crossing mid point street crossings and large parking lots such as the
malls.    There is a subset of this group who believe that some sort of
locating beacon for sign-only bus stops, and/or a GPS-based system on-board
the buses for announcing stops/cross-streets should be added to make stops
and transfer points more accessible.

          There is a second school of thought that feels  that all transfer
points should be scaled-down versions of C.K. Steele Plaza, covered,
off-road, requiring no street or parking lot crossings, and preferably
manned.   These stops would ensure ADA compliance. 

          Both of these groups realize this is asking a lot, but feel that
it would not only be an aid to the mobility impaired, but would be a
wonderful selling point to the public.  Those who may object to using the
bus because there is no nice facilities to stand or sit at while they wait.


          Regardless, it is the feeling of both points of view that these
changes be implemented before the new system is put in place.  That money be
appropriated and spent before busses start rolling.  There have been many
promises made to the visually impaired community in the past, promises that
have never been kept.  The fear is that the new system will go in with many
fine promises of improvements to follow, and then that StarMetro and the
City of Tallahassee will get NOVA 2010 in place and say "we did it, aren't
we great!  We're done, Oh sorry, we can't keep those promises, there is no
money now".  Even ADA has not saved people from being shorted when they
claim that there is no money available to carry out the plan.

          

 

 

 

 

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  • » [tabi] Points from the Visually Impaired Community - daviska9