CROSSWALK SAFETY: New Tech Helps Visually Impaired

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A new crosswalk in Ames is helping people with visual impairments walk across the street safer.

The new crosswalk was installed across Grand Avenue at the North Grand Mall.

The new technology tells a person when to go and what street they are crossing. Buttons are on separate poles closer to the street. The time of the signal is also doubled to allow people more time to cross the street.

A traditional crosswalk signal runs around $2,500. The new signal runs in the $10,000 range.

Ames Traffic Engineer Damion Pregitzer says the crosswalk is part of new regulations from the American’s with Disabilities Act. It calls for towns to find better ways for hearing or vision impaired people to cross streets as intersections are upgraded.

“Over the last three to five years the standards for accessibility at traffic signals has changed. What you see is the buttons now talk to you they also have locator tones,” says Pregitzer.

The crosswalk audibly warns if the light changes due to emergency vehicles coming.