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City of Richmond Agrees to Complainant’s Terms and Settles Human Rights Complaint

Posted in News Bytes

In the wake of a Human Rights complaint, filed on behalf of Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers in February 2009 and following a 90-day evaluation period at several accessible pedestrian signal sites within the City of Richmond, the city has committed to the following configuration of all APS signals commencing January 10, 2011. We share in part, the text of their letter of the same date:

Re: Accessible Pedestrian Signal Features to be Deployed in Richmond
File: 10-6450-07-03/2010-Vol 01

Thank you for meeting with City staff on December 13, 2010 to provide your feedback with respect to the accessible pedestrian signal (APS) features tested at six pedestrian crosswalk locations in Richmond City Centre during the period of mid-September to the end of November 2010. We particularly appreciate your efforts in soliciting and summarizing the feedback obtained via a survey of users. The survey responses, along with the discussion at our meeting, certainly assisted us in determining the features and their settings to be deployed. Based on that information, the items below identifies the implementation settings for each of the APS features.

APS Feature Implementation Setting

  • Pole Locator Tone – rate of 1 tone every 2 seconds (30 bursts per minute)
  • Button – high contrast (yellow and black) button with three raised dots on surface
  • Directional Tactile Arrow – High contrast (yellow and black)
  • Volume – Responds automatically according to ambient noise
  • Audible Confirmation Tone- Not implemented as wayfinding message provides confirmation
  • Wayfinding Message – Sounds upon button press; format of ”Broadway crossing Main”
  • Walk Cycle Indications – Audible cuckoo/chirp active for duration of walk cycle and tactile arrow in direction of crossing vibrates for duration of walk cycle
  • Special Crosswalk ”Caution” Message- Two repetitions ? long message followed by short message (equals 2 repetitions): 1st Message: ”Amber lights now flashing. Use caution. Vehicles may not stop immediately.” 2nd Message: ”Amber lights now flashing. Use caution.”
  • Volume on Demand – Available with extended push of 1.5 seconds

We will continue to work with you and the manufacturer to address the technical issues related to the operation of the APS features that were identified at our meeting, which include:

  • the volume on demand feature to apply to all audible sounds with the exception of the pole locator tone (i.e., applies to wayfinding message and walk indications);
  • the wayfinding message should not be interrupted if the button is pressed repeatedly (i.e., the message should play in its entirety and then reset); and
  • the volume level provided should be consistent for the duration of the wayfinding message.

The city-wide rollout of the devices will commence with their implementation at all special crosswalks, which has already started and will be completed by March 31, 2011, followed by all pedestrian signals, which will be completed by December 31, 2011. As you are aware, a number of City-owned full traffic signals along No. 3 Road have had the new APS devices added in 2010 as part of the No. 3 Road streetscape project. The retrofit of the remaining 133 City-owned full traffic signals would commence in 2012 and is anticipated to take up to eight years, pending Council approval of the annual capital program. Staff will continue to seek these signal upgrades as part of redevelopment activities in the area as well as external funding support towards these improvements in order to accelerate the timing of completion.

Please feel free to contact me at 604-276-4131 or if you have any questions in regards to this matter. Thank you for your continued participation in this project and we look forward to a greatly enhanced level of mobility for all pedestrians in the near future.

Yours truly,

Victor Wei, P.Eng.
Director, Transportation