Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What it Takes to Walk - When You Cannot See

American Council for the Blind

ACB releases an updated Pedestrian Safety Handbook, a publication that informs the visually impaired and blind communities "about contemporary approaches to assuring safe paths of travel for blind pedestrians and effective ways to advocate for accommodations like accessible pedestrian signals, tactile warnings at the edges of curb ramps, and mechanisms for routing travelers safely through problematic intersections." This is a valuable resource for two reasons. First, this handbook is an excellent guide to the ADA and how it is implemented in states and localities. Step-by-step advice is given about how to work within the ADA's requirements and when and how to advocate for accessible pedestrian sidewalk and intersection features. Its value is not limited to those who are visually impaired.

Second, the handbook provides detailed information for people who are blind and visually impaired about navigating streets and intersections and what improvements are currently available. Considering how much we who are sighted rely on visual cues, this resource aims to supply those types of details via senses other than sight. For example, cues are described and possibilities explained for what happens at the end of the building line. Airflow changes and a curb is the most frequent, but not the only, possibility of what is in close proximity.

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