Minneapolis City Council approves funding for accessible pedestrian signals
Eleven intersections in Minneapolis will soon become accessible to people who are blind. The Minneapolis City Council met on November 27th to discuss funding for Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS).
Don Sobania, an Engineer with the Department of Public Works, described the APS as “a device we attach to a traffic signal. It emits a tone that’s called a locator tone.” People who use white canes or dog guides can safely cross the street by following the pulsating noise generated by the APS. The programmed device will tell the person when it’s time to walk, and give a countdown time for when a person needs to clear the intersection. People who are deaf or who have a hearing disability will be able to actually feel the signal coming from the APS; it will vibrate during the WALK interval of the traffic signal. The tone generated by the APS will vary in volume to compensate for the ambient noise level; it gets louder when competing with noise from buses or cars, and adjusts to a quieter level when the intersection is quiet, such as in the middle of the night.
The City Council selected eleven sites to give APS a trial. After installation, a group of people from the community will be called on to demonstrate how well the APS work and tally how often the devices are used throughout the day. This feedback will be used to assess the future of APS in Minneapolis.
getting APS equipment
• Olson Memorial Highway and Penn Avenue
• Central Avenue and Hennepin Avenue/5th Street SE
• Central Avenue and University Avenue
• Nicollet Mall and 5th Street S
• 5th Street S and 3rd Avenue S
• 12th Street S and 2nd Avenue S
• Washington Avenue/Cedar Avenue and 15th Avenue
• Washington Avenue/19th Avenue S
• Cedar Avenue and 5th Street S (Midblock Crossing)
• East Franklin Avenue and East River Road
• Hennepin Avenue S and 29th Street W