[tabi] Re: Talking Bus Stops?

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2013 12:07:25 -0400

Thanks Owen.

I brought these up several years ago, and tried hard to champion them to the 
TCB, TABI, and StarMetro.  Even going so far as asking for the loan of a trial 
setup from the company (but they would not, because no organization would write 
a letter saying they were seriously interested in purchasing these).

They are costly; they require a power supply or battery changes at each sign 
location, and every customer must be furnished with a hand-held unit which 
guides them to the sign (which is costly and occupies one hand, at least for 
some part of the time).

All of this was pointed out to me frequently; even though I thought if we could 
get businesses, government buildings, etc. to all begin locating their front 
doors and other points of interest with these signs, then individuals carrying 
the hand-held units might feel that it would be worth the trouble.  They would 
even work inside a mall for locating stores.

One advantage is that a relatively few number of people who are blind can read 
braille (I don't have the number handy), while almost everyone could use this 
system; and of course, it does much more than just identify a location, it 
guides you to it from a relatively far distance.

I think it's not going to ever happen though because it requires a relatively 
large expenditure up front at once, before you have a system you can build on 
as more money becomes available.  You must equip anyone who wants to use the 
system with a hand-held guiding unit, and then you must have enough of the 
signs in use so that individuals will feel like it's worth the effort to carry 
the receiver.

Still, if we got both the TCB and the NFB interested in this, we could create a 
fund which these organizations contributed to every year until we felt we had 
enough money to start a program of use.


-----Original Message-----
From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of 
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2013 8:02 AM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Talking Bus Stops? 

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...


-----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 Stops

It 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 Stops

 From 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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