Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Accessible Pedestrian Signals with Breakfast

RantWoman's day started out with email on the WA Council of the blind email list. Email isabout a KIRO news story. Residents somewhere in Seattle are upset about the volume of the voice in new talking traffic signals. URK, RantWoman chairs the WA Council of the Blind Environmental Access Committee and as such should reasonably be expected to be able to say something constructive in the conversation (Besides that the Chair of the WA Council of the Blind Environmental Access Committee has an alter ego called RantWoman.)

--A search of Twitter to find @SeattleDOT and see whether that would take RantWoman to a topical news story. Yes. Video with RantWoman's morning oatmeal but the video was not very specific about where the offending signals.

--Finish oatmeal. Pay attention to cat. More Tweeting: SDOT, RantWoman would like to talk by phone. Everyone, where are the problem signals? Dear disgruntled neighbor, Blind people live and travel in your area too and we appreciate @SeattleDOT following ADA.
--Go to meeting for the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme Computing and tweet intermittently over the morning.

Tweets go back amd forth. Email for @SeattleDOT ADA Coordinator. RantWoman available after 1 pm by phone. Location near Denny / Belltown/ the Denny Regrade

Emails from smartphone back and forth to WA Council of the Blind Email list. Topics: characteristics of different systems. Some systems are supposed to adjust automatically to ambient noise for example all day on Denny as opposed to very early morning or late at night. List members summarize understandings of distances one is supposed to hear signals and other characteristics. Example reference. Just put the phrase Audible Pedestrian Signals into Google and turn up a whole bunch of things.

Note: Google translates search string to Accessible Pedestrian Signals

Here is one page that references something called the Manual on
Uniform Traffic Control Devices MUTCD and also  the guidelines
that a list member is referring to. MUTCD gets to be the official crunchy acronym of the day.
This page is written for a broad audience, engineers, members of the public, educators. A great resource.

The Access Board page
The Access Board can draws on members of the public and less directly on people with engineering background, but it's also an important channel in the discussion.

Chat by phone with new @SeattleDOT ADA Coordinator. He is new in town and RantWoman forgets to tell him that besides things like events at Seattle Center and daily life, The WA Talking Book and Braille Library is near the Whole Foods on Denny.

Final check from Search results: @SeattleDOT list of Audible Pedestrian Signal Locations:
Very cool for screen reader users to have the list above the map; one teeny usability enhancement would be headings for the different sections of town so that RantWoman does not have to listen to the whole list.

One more cool Inclusive cities moment: another WA Council of the Blind member has been working with the city of Tumwater and reports great progress and commitments going forward.

So, with all this in mind, RantWoman hopes that @SeattleDOT and the disgruntled neighbors can work out what sound to RantWoman like some kind of glitches!

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