ADA compliant sidewalks: 'Truncated domes' assist visually impaired

Truncated Domes

ADA compliant sidewalks: 'Truncated domes' assist the visually impaired

Published March 5, 2019 FOX 10 Phoenix

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Crosswalks around the Valley are getting a makeover, and it's all to help those who are visually impaired become more independent.

The new updates are a requirement by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

You may have come across the detectable warnings on sidewalk ramps before crossing the street. They're called truncated domes, which are surface indicators designed to assist those who are visually impaired, like Rachel Fisher.

Fisher has been visually impaired since birth. By the age of 23, she lost all of her central vision, and over the years, it became worse.

"There wasn't enough of those when I was first diagnosed.. not being able to feel.. to stop underneath my feet or feel with my cane.. I could continue to walk," she said.

Now there are more and more truncated domes added to sidewalk ramps in Phoenix.

"What we would like to do is provide those safe connections for all of those residents to activity centers, to places of employment, their homes, etc.," said City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department Deputy Director, Mark Melnychenko.

Melnychenko says the additional feature is a mix of private and public investment.

A major intersection will cost anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000 per corner, while in a residential neighborhood, it's $2,000 to $3,000.

"After we've done these mobility studies in neighborhoods throughout the city, many times for future projects, we are going to improve sidewalks as well as the ramps at the intersections," explained Melnychenko.

It's something Fisher is grateful for.

"I think people are just a little put out with the construction and not realizing how helpful and beneficial it is to give us that accessibility because accessibility equals inclusion," she said.

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