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 streets as a person who is blind or visually impaired. Add to that, crossing a multi-lane intersection with high volume traffic. This is no easy task. Not all people with vision impairment are willing to take the risk.
However, as a result of two-year application process between the Lighthouse of Collier and the Collier County Traffic Operations Division, a new Accessible Pedestrian Signal (APS) has been installed at the intersection of Vanderbilt Beach Road and Airport Pulling Road. This APS was requested by “Tom,” a Lighthouse client who crosses the intersection bi-weekly to/from the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt. To encourage client participation in the process, Tom was asked to test the APS (upon initial installation) and report any necessary changes to the traffic engineer. Sometimes minor adjustments need to be made after installation, such as increasing the volume of the APS. The Lighthouse believes it is important for clients to be involved in the process so the County may know first-hand the impact of their efforts.
Generally, an APS announces the street name to cross and provides a verbal count down during the crossing. For the visually impaired traveler, the audio output provides additional confirmation to help identify the fresh green light, which is imperative for ensuring a safe crossing. Now with the new APS, Tom can more confidently navigate his route to the Galleria Shoppes and continue to maintain his independence. Moreover, other visually impaired folks who are not as seasoned of a traveler as Tom, may now decide to cross at Vanderbilt and Airport Pulling to enjoy the Naples community and stores and restaurants of the Galleria!