Monday, July 11, 2016

Design tirade of the day

Please bear with RantWoman.

RantWoman's head is full of all sorts of trenchant commentary and inspiration after her recent trip to the 55th national convention of the American Council of the Blind, #acb16. RantWoman really wants to herd such commentary out into email and the blogosphere.

But FIRST, RantWoman gets to deal with a headache,  a knot on her head and a deep sense that the world is entitled to a tirade of the clash of blind people titans form about design, mobility, diversity of training and lived experience and things that help or hinder mobility. #canetravel #mobility #visionzero

The knot on the forehead was acquired while tripping over one of those clever concrete edges used at the Husky Light Rail station to help channel pedestrians and bicycles. RantWoman had just joyously walked from  a picnic in Ravenna Park to the Light Rail, on the way to Sunday supper at RantMom's. This meant negotiating various things in the neighborhood and about the UW campus, but RantWoman was glad for the sunshine and enough visual capacity plus or minus the fog and blur to make the walk.

At the moment of tripping, RantWoman's Smartphone was in the last static whimpers of its battery cycle and charging was not going to be an option until RantWoman got to RantMom's so  no RantWoman did not whip out her phone to snap a pic of the offending design element. Stay tuned?

RantWoman is aware that cues of this type are very important landmarks for helping totally blind people navigate.  RantWoman is not sure whether Ambassador Thwack the ill-behaved cane failed to connect with the raised edge or RantWoman was just lazy and taking a shortcut around a corner. either way, RantWoman tripped.

RantWoman has been slacking off about some physical therapy balance exercises intended to help RantWoman remain vertical when such tripping occurs. Memo to self: those exercises really help. Pick up the practice! In this case, RantWoman fell gradually enough that nothing got broken but still managed to conk her head on the concrete. RantWoman conkerd her head enough to get a good goose egg above one eye. RantWoman has been debating about whether the additional increment of fog in one eye needs medical attention or is just swelling that will pass. So far RantWoman is betting on not enough to require more medical attention than ise and patience. RantWoman gets to be grateful only to need to work this tirade into her day.

Pole by yellow dome strip
At Mount Baker
Transit Center
While RantWoman does not have a photo of the offending element near Husky stadium, RantWoman does have a photo of another place with the same problems, the photo here of a bus stop at the Mount Baker Transit Center.

See the little concrete lip to the left of the white pole?


Neither did RantWoman. RantWoman tripped once around some holiday. Now RantWoman knows the little lip is there and works hard to avoid it. RantWoman is not a mobility trainer, but it sort of makes sense to  RantWoman that the lip is there: the point would be to channel people to the yellow dome strip and align them with the yellow domes across the bus lane on the sidewalk.

What about other people, people who think they see more or less normally--Or do not realize how badly they see until they trip over a few things like this? What about people who think they are taking a shortcut?

The white pole in the picture was installed some months after RantWoman tripped.

Now there is a crumbly spot next to the white pole. This leads RantWoman to wonder whether still more people might have tripped also.

Totally blind and deaf-blind people need the landmark that is intended. The question on RantWoman's mind: how many other people trip? Would fewer people trip if the landmark were bigger and harder to miss?

RantWoman could of course do some kind of data request to see whether there is any data available. RantWoman suspects as a first pass, though, that simply posting a picture and seeing whether anyone else has had a hostile encounter with the same transit center element just MIGHT flush out data not otherwise collected.

In the meantime, RantWoman needs to go out and interact with MORE infrastructure....

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