Let’s face it, Collier County is mainly a car-dependent town. The roads are wide, traffic volume is high and for the most part neighborhoods do not connect. Collier is not a pedestrian friendly town. Therefore, crossing these wide streets can pose a challenge for the Collier County residents who cannot drive.
Now imagine trying to navigate the streets as a person who is blind or visually impaired. Add to that, crossing a multi-lane intersection such as Immokalee and Airport Pulling Road. This is no easy task. Not all people with vision impairment would take the risk. However, as a result of communication and advocacy between the Lighthouse of Collier and the County and Florida Departments of Transportation (DOT), Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) have been installed throughout the County. These APS’ announce the street name, when it is safe to cross, and provide a verbal count down during the crossing. For a visually impaired person this helps eliminate the guesswork of when it is safe to cross.
As of this January, four new APS’ have been installed in Collier County. Three have been installed by the Florida DOT along Tamiami Trail (at Anchor Rode Drive/Ohio Drive, Parkshore/Cypress Woods Drive and Neapolitan Way/Grenada Boulevard) and one by the County DOT on Immokalee and Airport Pulling Road.
Accessible Pedestrian Signals are a vital component of any pedestrian safety program for people who are blind or visually impaired. They are a sound investment for the safety of some of our most vulnerable residents.