Chicagoland’s DeafBlind community will now have representation! Bryen Yunashko has been appointed as a member of the Chicago Transit Authority’s ADA Advisory Board with a term beginning in October.
So what is this board about? Well, there are several ADA advisory boards for transit authorities in the Chicagoland area, including for PACE and CTA. The CTA advisory board focuses on fixed route buses and trains. Paratransit issues are usually handled by the PACE advisory board.
At present, there are blind and Deaf people representing their communities. But there has been no DeafBlind representation. The CTA recognized that it is important to include DeafBlind people in advocating accessibility on public transit routes.
I won’t be joining the board to represent myself. I’m here to represent YOU! Plese, always feel free to submit your suggestions, ideas, concerns, and issues and I will make sure they are recognized. And I will focus on ways we can innovate Chicago’s public transit system to make it more accessible to all of us.
As an example of some of the ideas I have, I will propose or work on several ideas. Paratransit is a great option for many of us. But for those of us who want to continue to use fixed routes for as long as possible, I believe there are some ways we can make it better:
Making Bus Stops more discoverable: I will propose that current bus stop poles be phased out and replaced with a pole that is distinctive. It can be frustrating to stand on the street waiting for a bus and you find out you were standing at the wrong pole. Making tactile poles will help us to identify exactly where to wait for a bus.
Transmitting Information: Did you know that when a bus makes a stop and opens iits doors, a loudspeaker on the bus announces the bus number and Route name? It’s a great way to make it accessible for Blind people who cannot see the bus display. But, it leaves out DeafBlind people. Maybe you can see the bus but cannot tell if that is the correct bus to get on. How do you know if it is Bus #12, or Bus #36? However, buses are equipped with a GPS display that announces the stops on the route.
Wouldn’t it be great if technology could be changed so that when you are standing at a bus route, your phone or other device would vibrate when the right bus comes by? Wouldn’t it also be great when you are riding the bus, and you cannot see the GPS display, you can have it sent to your device and you can customize the readability including font size and color? I believe that this can be done and will make proposals to seek ways to develop such innovative technology.
Communication Card Development and Driver Training: We need to develop and distribute effective cards to help DeafBlind people communicate to drivers where they want to go. And we need to educate drivers how to recognize a DeafBlind person and provide appropriate assistance.
Comparing Nationally: There are several regions across the United States where transit authorities have developed effective programs for working with DeafBlind travelers. I will work to gather data and strive to make our transit authority equally as accessible or better than other regions.
Communicating Locally: I will work to gather up information from all of you about what you want to see changed within the CTA to make it more accessible for you.
Those are my goals, let’s work together to make Chicago ACCESSIBLE!!!