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Better Design and a 'Level of Service' for the Blind

Scott Schafer pens a column inspired by watching a visually impaired woman navigate a busy corner of Minneapolis. The question raised by the column: How can we improve level of service for the blind?
February 11, 2015, 11am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Scott Schafer's recent column for is thoughtful reminder of the many people neglected by engineering to auto-centric level of service standards. After watching a visually impaired women navigate a busy intersection to get to the Vision Loss Resources center, obviously an essential facility for the women's quality of life, once she actually gets inside the door.

Schafer takes a moment to imagine how scared he would be to navigate the street without the benefit of site. Then he starts to imagine solutions: 

"What can we do to make it better? The Model Design Manual for Living Streets has at least two suggestions to make sidewalks safe. First, make sidewalks level. By making the ramp steeper and routing the sidewalk slightly away from the street, we can keep the sidewalk from sloping." 

Schafer's column ends with a call to shift the myopic considerations of the planners, engineers, and designers shaping the world: "What's Lyndale's level of service for the sight-impaired woman I saw last week?"

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Published on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 in Streets.MN
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