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.