Doug is right; the way John was showcased today was much more prominent than if it had been included in the annual Dining in the Dark article.
Regarding the question of actually finding the bus stop, here's an interesting link to research done by Dr. William F. Crandall, Jr. of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco that explores the idea of talkiong bus stops, which would potentially solve the problem. Given the degree of resistance that the Braille placards met from StarMetro, though, I doubt that anyone could make this happen in Tallahassee anytime soon. Even so, I hope that Mr. Waterman is taking notes...
http://www.ski.org/Rehab/WCrandall/AusOpt/AOSurfaceTransit.html -----Original Message----- From: Blackburn, Douglas <dblackburn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> To: tabi <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Mon, Oct 28, 2013 7:03 am Subject: [tabi] Re: Local Volunteer Has Braille Added to Bus StopsIt was well deserved for John and, the way John was showcased today was much more prominent than had it been woven into the annual Dining in the Dark story. Kudos to John for his efforts. Now, if I could only FIND the bus stops. From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Chip and Allie Orange
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2013 7:00 AM To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: [tabi] Local Volunteer Has Braille Added to Bus StopsFrom today’s Democrat:(thanks Doug for making this happen) Local volunteer has Braille added to bus stops Volunteer helps StarMetro stops become accessibleOct. 27, 2013 11:36 PM John Plescow was given the Paula Bailey Award by Lighthouse of the Big Bend for brokeringa 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 brokeringa deal with StarMetro to have braille plaques installed on bus stops. / Specialto DemocratWritten byArek Sarkissian IIDemocrat staff writerFiled UnderTLH LocalTLH Local VolunteerismFour years ago, StarMetro announced a plan to do away with its hub-and-spoke routesystem in favor of a decentralized network using 40 stops as transfer points.The move would make Tallahassee’s bus system more efficient and perhaps decreaseits reliance on the city budget. But the plan included nothing for members of thevisually-impaired community who rely on Braille signage to keep up with bus schedules.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 timeto make a difference.“It served me much better the old way,” Plescow said. “They really opened up Pandora’sBox 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 cityto find a roughly $24,000 federal grant to purchase and install Braille plates onbus stops across the system so blind people can determine route numbers and a textcode for schedules.Plescow’s work earned him the Paula Bailey Inspirational Award at the LighthouseDining 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 organizationserves.City transit planning manager Brian Waterman said the StarMetro C.K. Plaza was usedas the main transfer point in the former route system and was outfitted with Brailleplacards to meet federal Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The newly-adoptedsystem turned former stops into transfer points and the ADA did not require themto 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 readableand also, bus stops are prone to damage or being removed.”Plescow said he was determined to come up with a solution and found former assistantcity manager Jay Townsend willing to help.“It sort of became my second job,” Plescow said. “But it was something that neededdoing and it was a distraction from everything else.”Plescow said the signs have been ordered and should be installed in the next sixmonths. He applauded the city’s initiative to make StarMetro the first public transitsystem to equip all stops with Braille signage.“Everyone likes to be recognized and told, ‘hey you’re doing something good,’ ” Plescowsaid. “But the true reward is that there is going to be Braille at every bus stop.That is a plum for Tallahassee and a very positive thing.”
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