City Staff Participate in Training to Understand How Blind People Navigate on Streets and Sidewalks

The City of Fresno joins with Valley Center for the Blind (VCB) to provide a unique training opportunity for Public Works Department employees, “Understanding Independent Travel in the Right-Of-Way.”

The Public Works Department plays a crucial role in our citizens’ abilities to move about confidently and safely within our Right-of-Way. On Tuesday, February 25, 2014, employees will have the opportunity to experience what it is like to be blind and navigate the city streets. The training will take place at City Hall, with sessions at 9am – 12pm and 1pm – 4pm.

During this training staff will experience first-hand what it feels like to be blind using a sighted guide to explore their local area with travel both inside and outside. They also will learn how to use a white cane to walk both unassisted and with a sighted guide to travel along a sidewalk and cross a street to better understand the challenges of those with vision loss.

People who are blind or visually impaired routinely travel independently throughout the City of Fresno - to and from work, school, recreation sites, shopping centers, doctors’ offices, organization meetings, or the homes of relatives or friends. The fact that so many blind people participate in the full current of life demonstrates the desirability, the possibility, and the necessity of independent travel.

“This training is especially exciting because it gives our designers and engineers a new way of looking at how their work impacts the community,” said Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator, Shannon Mulhall Simonelli. “It offers a life changing experience to assist City staff in their planning for and awareness of the needs of people who are blind or visually impaired.”