Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Accessible Pedestrian Signals to Be Installed in San Francisco

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Accessible Pedestrian Signals to Be Installed in San Francisco

Article excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency recently announced a comprehensive agreement negotiated with representatives for the community of people who are blind or visually impaired covering audible traffic signals in the city. Under the agreement, the City of San Francisco, California, will commit at least $1.6 million over the next 2 1/2 years to install accessible pedestrian signals at no fewer than 80 intersections in the metropolitan area. In addition to the city, parties to the agreement are the California Council of the Blind; the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco; the Independent Living Resource Center-San Francisco; and Damien Pickering, a private citizen of San Francisco. In the negotiations, the community of blind and visually impaired San Franciscans was represented by disability fights lawyers Lainey Feingold and Linda M. Dardarian.

The agreement, which was reached without litigation through a collaborative process known as "structured negotiations," represents the first of its kind in the United States, according to advocates for people with vision loss. The audible signaling devices that will be installed emit a rapid ticking sound in tandem with the familiar WALK symbol that is displayed for sighted pedestrians to help pedestrians who are visually impaired determine when it is safe to cross a street. Other accessibility features include locator tones and vibrating push buttons to help those with visual impairments locate the devices, as well as the ability to provide audible information about the surrounding area, such as street names, when pedestrians press the push button for one second or longer. …

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