Making Cities Safer for Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals

Crosswalk buttonSan Diego Center for the Blind has long had a history of advocating for making San Diego a safer city for blind and visually impaired individuals. For example, in 2013, CEO Kim Gibbens advocated to the mayor to fix the sidewalks.

Services, safety, and accessibility are still not always available to blind and visually impaired individuals. Yet, there are changes coming about slowly but surely. Internationally, the President of the Maldives - a nation of small islands in the Indian Ocean - recently met with blind individuals, as well as the parents of blind children, to better understand their needs and challenges.

A more high-profile and significant example of change just occurred in New York City. A judge recently criticized officials for not making all of the 13,000 intersections in New York City safe for blind and visually impaired individuals.  He ordered the city to install more than 9,000 signal devices to make it easier for pedestrians to cross the streets. These devices use sound and vibration to inform people when it is safe to cross the street.

“There has never been a case like this. We can finally look forward to a day, not long from now, when all pedestrians will have safe access to city streets,” said Torie Atkinson, a lawyer for the American Council of the Blind and two visually impaired New Yorkers, who filed the suit. “We hope this decision is a wake-up call not just to New York City, but for every other transit agency in the country that’s been ignoring the needs of people with vision disabilities.”

We at the center applaud this win for the advancement of disability rights. Advocation works, so keep your voice heard in efforts to impact other major urban centers.

"Why New York City May Soon Be More Walkable for Blind People"

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Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post