LeCOBDA: NOTICE! October 5 Outing cancelled

An important message from the president of LeCOBDA, Sara Chung:

Happy October!  Hope all is well.

I hate to break the news to you, everyone.  We know we’re having the Farmers Market outing tomorrow.  I just learned there will be isolated thunderstorm in the morning becoming more widespread in the afternoon.  A few storms may be severe.  Chance of rain 80%.

 

Unfortunately, I’m afraid that we have to cancel the Farmers Market outing.  Whether it will rain or not, it would be better if we stay home.  It would be difficult for transportations to get to places on time during the thunderstorm/rain.

Please call your transportation immediately and cancel your ride arrangement.

 

I’m truly sorry that we have to miss the Farmers Market outing, but I have to do what’s best for everyone.

 

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

See you all in November.

Sara,

LeCOBDA President

 

 

Happy October, hope all is well!

 

 

LeCOBDA: Let’s Go Shopping!

Warmest greetings to all from Sara Chung, Le COBDA President!

Hope everyone enjoyed the BBQ party. I was so pleased with how well the meeting went, especially with new activities for the year 2013-2014. We definitely have a busy schedule which is good 🙂

The Farmers Market outing is around the corner. Please be aware that the Farmers Market outing is on October 5th, not the 12th. We changed the date due to Illinois RID State Conference which is held on October 11-13.

Farmers Market
When: October 5, 2013
Time: 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Where: Dearborn & Polk (Printers Row Park)
700 S. Dearborn, Chicago, IL
***Bring your cash only as the vendors selling do not accept credit cards.  Also bring your own bag for the vegetables you buy to take home***

After the Farmers Market, we’ll be having lunch at Hackney’s Printers’ Row which is close by walking.  Please bring your money to pay for your own lunch.

Hackney’s Printers’ Row
733 S. Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60605

Please have your transportation ready by 2:30 PM. Be aware that we’ll be not assisting anyone after 2:30. Be sure to get your ride ready no later than 2:30 PM.  For people who use a service car for transportation, the address is 700 S. Dearborn for drop off and pick up.

For people who drive, there is a parking lot at the corner of Dearborn and Polk.  Parking is $10.00 or little more for all day.

If you plan to use public transportation:

  • State Street CTA buses are one block east of Dearborn.  Take #29 or Southbound #62 and exit at State Street and Polk.  Then walk one block west to Dearborn Avenue.  Cross the street on Dearborn Avenue and then turn right..  700 S. DearBorn will be on the left (South) side of the street.
  • Northbound #62:  If you are coming from the south via Northbound #62 bus, get off at DearBorn and Polk and cross the street to 700 S. DearBorn.
  • Red Line:  Exit at Harrison Street station.  Walk North on State Street to Harrison Street corner.  Turn left and walk one block to Dearborn Avenue.  Then cross the street and turn left again and you will arrive at 700 S. Dearboarn Street on your right side.
  • Blue Line: Exit LaSalle Station.  Walk East on Congress Parkway to Clark Street.  Turn right on Dearborn.and walk two blocks to 700 S. Dearborn.  It will be on your right side.
  • All other CTA Trains:  Exit the Loop at Van Buren/Library Station.  Walk south on State Street to Harrison.  Turn right on Harrison Street.  Walk one block to Dearborn Avenue.  Cross the street and turn left at the corner.  Then cross the street again.  Walk south to 700 S. Dearborn which is on your right side.

 

Don’t forget Friday’s Tactile Nights!

We’re hearing a lot of buzz and it looks like quite a few people will come to this Friday’s Chicago Tactile Nights.  The second of our monthly gathering to celebrate and embrace the art of Tactile signing.  As always, you do not have to be DeafBlind to participate.  You just need to know at least some signing.

Everyone who is there will get a chance to practice reading tactile sign and explore ways to improve your ability to comprehend and deliver effective tactile signing.

It all happens this Friday, June 21 at:

Potbelly’s on State Street
190 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60601
 
Start time is at 6:30 p.m. until closing.
 
Potbelly’s is located on the southwest corner of State Street and Lake Street, directly across the street from the famed Chicago Theatre.  Take any elevated train and exit at State/Lake and you are right there.  Don’t even have to cross streets!
 
Except Blue line.  You have to get off at Clark/Lake and walk one block east on Lake street to get to State Street.
 
You can also take bus numbers either 6, 29, 139, 62 or 36.   Or if you are driing into downtown, there are nearby parking lots available, and possibly also some street parking if you drive around enough to find something.  🙂
 
See you all tactually this Friday!

DeafBlind Representation on CTA

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.

My Goals:

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!!!

 

 

Equip for Equality events

Last week, we informed you that Equip for Equality will host a general forum on Friday, June 21 to gather input from the general disability community on prioritizing their resources for the next three years to protect the legal rights of people with disabilities.

There is now an additional meeting scheduled for June 28 which is focused on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing issues.  If you want to attend either or both meetings, you need to send an email to Cecille Escartin at cecille@equipforequality.org.

Both meetings will provide a sign language interpreter.  However, you need to notify Cecille if you require your own interpreter..

Here are the two meeting dates and locations:

General Forum

Friday, June 21, 2012
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
James R Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph Street,  Room 9-031
Chicago, IL  60601
 

Getting here is very easy.  Simply take any of the Downtown Loop trains and exit at Clark/Lake.  The Thompson Center is connected to the train station.  When you enter the building lobby, ask for assistance to guide you to Room 9-031.

If you are taking the Red Line train, you will need to exit at State/Lake and walk one block west to Clark Street.

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Forum

Friday, June 28, 2013
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
20 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 300
Chicago, IL  60602

Take any Loop train to State/Lake.  Walk east two blocks to Michigan Avenue.  Then walk tww blocks south to Washington.  Continue for about half block and the building will be on your right (West side) of the street.

Can’t Make it?

You can still provide valuable input to EFE even if you cannot attend either meetings.  Simply go to EFE’s website and either fill out the online survey or download a printable version and mail/fax to them.  Here is the link to their website, which has lots of interesting information for you to browse:

EQUIP FOR EQUALITY Website

 

 

 

Busy Week Ahead

Road Sign - Busy Week AheadThe Chicago DeafBlind community has some pretty busy and exciting things going on for the next week including advocacy and social interaction.  Here’s a look at what happens next week.

PACE City ADA Advisory Committee

PACE Bus logo

 

 

On Monday, June 17, the PACE transit authority will have its regular meeting.  This is for topics related to use of PACE within the city of Chicago.  If you use PACE buses or use Paratransit, you’ll want to attend this meeting to offer your insights as a DeafBlind person.  They want to hear from you!

June 17, 2013
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Willis Tower (Formerly Sears Tower)
Chicago Metropolitan Planning Agency
233 S. Wacker Drive, 8th Floor
Chicago, IL  60606

If you wish to attend this meeting, you MUST contact PACE to request an interpreter.  Call Linda Swedlund at voice/relay:847-228-4254 or send an email to her at linda.swedlund@pacebus.com.

Equip For Equality

Equip for Equality Logo

 

 

Equip for Equality is a legal organization dedicated to “Advancing the Human and Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Illinois.”   This month they are hosting two meetings to discuss the agenda for the coming year on legal advocacy.  This is where you, as Chicago DeafBlind community members can make an important contribution to raise awareness of any legal issues or legislative improvements you wish to see happening in Illinois.

Friday, June 21, 2013
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph Street, Room 9-031
Chicago, IL  60601

A sign language interpreter will be present for Deaf attendees.  However, if you need special accommodations, you must notify Equip for Equality to make arrangements.  That means if you need a dedicated interpreter for your DeafBlind needs, don’t assume the general interpreter to be your personal interpreter.

To reserve your place at this meeting, you must contact Cecile at voice: 1-800-537-2632 or tty:1-800-610-2779.

Chicago Tactile Nights

As recently mentioned, the next Chicago Tactile Nights will be held on June 21.  Here’s the details in case you missed it:

Friday, June 21, 2013
6:30 p.m.
Potbelly’s on State Street
109 N. State Street
Chicago, IL

No reservations required.  But if you can let us know, we can anticipate how many tables to hold when we get there on Friday.

See you all at these many exciting events next week!

 

Mystic Blue DeafBlind Cruise

Mystic Blue Cruises logo

Mystic Blue Boat

The wait is finally over, and here are the details for the DeafBlind cruise aboard the fabulous Mystic Blue boat.  Let’s get to the details:

Cost:

Cost is only $25 per DeafBlind person.  This is a savings from the full price of $44.90.   This includes:

  • Free Buffet Lunch
  • Coffee, Tea, or Soda
  • Dancing/DJ Music
  • You must pay for alcoholic drinks
  • One free SSP
  • View the Chicago Skyline at no extra cost.  🙂
  • Pre-boarding photographs will be taken by Mystic Blue crew.  If you want a copy, you must pay $25.00

You must notify Joan Rushing no later than June 17 to reserve your ticket.  You must send your check or money order to arrive no later than June 21.  Send check or money order to:

Joann Rushing
c/o Chicago Lighthouse
1850 W. Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL  60608
 

When and where is the Cruise?

 
Chicago Navy Pier
July 13, 2013
11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Mystic Blue port (9th boat from the entrance) directly across from the Stained Glass Museum

The Mystic Blue boat is white with BLUE stripes.  (See picture above.)  There is a large sign in front of the boarding area.   As you walk along Navy Pier, the boats are on the right side.  Don’t fall in the water!

You must be in front of the boarding area no later than 11:30 a.m.

Need SSP?

Everyone can bring ONE SSP free of charge.  If you do not have an SSP, and would like one provided, please contact Mindy Joy Mayer at mindy.mayer@chicagolighthouse.org.  Let her know what time you will arrive and she will send an SSP to meet you at the drop off area on 600 E. Grand Avenue Riva Bus Turnaround area.

If you wish to arrive earlier or stay longer at Navy Pier to tour the area, it is YOUR responsibility to make personal arrangements for an SSP if you need one.  There are lots of fun things to see and do and shop at Navy Pier.  Maybe you want to ride the giant Ferris Wheel and see Chicago from high up in the sky!

Getting there

Getting there is easy.  If you are driving or taking Paratransit, go to the Riva Bus turnaround area to meet your SSP.   If you have SSP, proceed to the Mystic Blue port which is the NINTH boat from the entrance to Navy Pier.

If you are taking public transportation, take any of the elevated subway trains and exit along State Street in the Loop.  From there, take the Bus #29 Northbound, which will take you directly to Navy Pier.  It is the last stop for #29.  It is about 18 minute bus ride from the Loop.

Public parking is also available for a fee, but may cheaper to park elsewhere in Chicago and take public transportation.

Please arrange for pickup after the cruise in the Riva Bus Turnaround at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Fill Your Belly the Tactile Way!

Last week was the first ever Chicago Tactile Nights event, held at Chicago’s Dave & Buster’s restaurant.  What a great first night.  DeafBlind, interpreting students, families… they all came together with a desire to learn more, connect and be a part of something exciting.

We’re gonna do it AGAIN!  YUP!

New Location and new night, this time, on a Friday at Potbelly’s on State Street across from the Chicago Theatre.  It’s a very central location for most public transit going downtown and has an outdoor patio so we can really relax and socialize.

For those of you who missed, what is Chicago Tactile Nights?

Chicago Tactile Nights (or CTN) is a night that embraces and spreads the art of tactile communication.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re blind or sighted, everyone is welcome.  And everyone gets to practice tactile signing.  It’s a great opportunity to  learn tips and tricks from each other in a fun way.  Families, friends, ASL interpreters, students, EVERYONE benefits.   Know only a little sign?  Come on anyway!

And CTN is completely community-organized!  Everyone who participates gets to decide when and where the next CTN event will be held.  What a great way to try out new locations.  Who says learning can’t be a party?

BONUS:  Come to the next CTN and find out why the power of the I Love You sign can make you an even better tactile communicator!  We’re not going to tell you what that is here.  You’ll have to come find out for yourself.

When and Where?

PotBelly’s on State Street
190 N. State Street (Southwest corner of State Street and Lake Street)
Chicago, IL
Friday, June 21, 2013
6:30 p.m. – (Until they throw us out!)
 

Getting There Is Easy

  • Take either Red, Green, Brown, Purple, Pink or Orange Line to State/Lake
  • Take Blue Line to Clark/Lake and walk one block East to State Street.
  • Take CTA buses 6, 29, 139, 62 to State and Lake Streets
  • From Union Station, take CTA 60 bus to State and Washington, then walk 1 1/2 blocks north to PotBelly’s
  • Public parking garages are also very close by.
  • Street parking might be available too.

Potbelly’s is on  the southwest corner of State and Lake Streets, directly across the street from the famous Chicago Theatre, with the big tall Chicago sign lit up (very low-vision friendly!)  There is a patio in front.  You can’t miss it!

Both the underground and elevated subway stations are right there on the corner.  If you take the train, you won’t even have to cross the street to get to Potbelly’s.

See you all there, and let’s make the first day of Summer a Tactile HIT!

 

Update on PACE Meetings

First of all, for those of you who are planning to attend Monday’s PACE City ADA Advisory Committee meeting, it has been postponed.  The new date of the meeting will be on June 17, 2013 at 1:00 p.m.  If you still wish to attend this meeting, you should contact linda.swedlund@pacebus.com to request accommodation services.

Yesterday, PACE held the joint City and Suburban ADA Advisory Committees Meeting at Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower.)  Many things were discussed about PACE fixed routes and paratransit.

A new Ventra system will be implemented that will replace the current farecard system.  The goal is to establish a single point of payment for all your transportation needs.  With one card, you will be able to use fixed bus routes, paratransit, and other services such as vanpools.   But there are concerns about the accessibility of the system, which will continue to be explored.

There are also plans to consolidate paratransit call centers to one location.  This should make things less complicated for determining what number to all for the service you need.  However, there is also a plan to implement IVR which stands for Interactive Voice Recognition.  In other words, this will become an automated system which voice recognizes your commands over the phone when you place a request for paratransit services.

Ray Campbell, chairman of the PACE Suburban ADA Advisory Committee, raised concerns about the lack of an alternative text method for communicating with paratransit services.  While PACE said they did not have a texting plan in place, Ray asked that higher priority be given to finding a solution to texting as an alternative to IVR.  He pointed out that this is a problem for DeafBlind consumers and those who prefer texting over voice calls.

We thank Ray Campbell for recognizing the importance of DeafBlind accessibility in the Chicagoland transit systems.  He is a good advocate for us and we are lucky to have him on our side.

During the public comment period, Bryen Yunashko also raised concerns about accessibility and ineffective communication methods when interacting with transit and DeafBlind travelers.    He urged that they not forget about the DeafBlind population and that an open channel needs to be established with the community so that past issues and concerns are no longer falling through the cracks.  After the meeting, Pace officials approached Bryen to discuss and express their concerns about how to improve relations with the community.

It seems we are on a good start now to building a better future for DeafBlind travelers of the Chicagoland transit systems.  It is up to you all now to voice your concerns and experiences and to share in a dialogue aimed at positive solutions.  Please, attend meetings or post comments here whenever possible.  Your input matters now more than ever.  If the Chicagoland transit authorities don’t hear from you, how can they know to work on solutions?

 

ALERT: Public Transit ADA Meetings

As we have been discussing at LeCOBDA meetings and here on ChicagoDeafBlind, DeafBlind people have concerns about the accessibility and service of public transportation and paratransit services in the Chicagoland area.  These are concerns that need to be addressed to the transit agencies, including CTA, PACE, and Metrarail.

There are two important ADA Advisory meetings coming up that are open to the public and we encourage you to try to show up at these meetings.  Both will be held at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for planning at the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower.)

One good bit of news.  The issue of getting appropriate text notification of paratransit pickups (which is a big concern that DeafBlind people have had for years) WILL be on the agenda for the upcoming May 14 meeting.   And they are interested in learning more about what DeafBlind people experience using the transit services.

Here are the details:

May 14, 2013

Joint PACE ADA City and Suburban Advisory Committee
Willis Tower
233 S. Wacker Drive, 8th Floor
Chicago, IL 
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
 

May 20, 2013

PACE ADA City of Chicago Advisory Committee
Willis Tower
233 S. Wacker Drive, 8th Floor
Chicago, IL
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
 

Accommodations

If you wish to attend these meetings and need an interpreter, you need to contact Linda Swedland, either via voice phone at (847) 228-4254 or email at linda.swedlund@pacebus.com.   Note that with this late notice, we may not be able to get interpreter accommodations in time for the May 14 meeting, but contact Linda anyway and let’s show DeafBlind representation at this meeting!

Security Notice

Be aware that the Willis Tower is a secured building.  You may be required to show proof of identiication and go through a metal detector to enter the building.