Spare a thought for the blind

The Star Malaysia - - Views -

YES­TER­DAY, I took a nos­tal­gic trip to Jalan Tun Sam­ban­than 4 to sat­isfy my crav­ings for the de­lec­ta­ble ba­nana frit­ters and curry puffs that I used to buy when I was work­ing in Kuala Lumpur. The stretch of Jalan Tun Sam­ban­than from Pub­lic Bank to the Mono­rail Sta­tion is a vi­brant com­mer­cial area. It is strate­gi­cally lo­cated near Sen­tral LRT Sta­tion. The ac­ces­si­bil­ity to pub­lic trans­port and con­nec­tiv­ity to other places has en­hanced its po­ten­tial not only as a thriv­ing busi­ness area.

But vi­brancy means traf­fic con­ges­tion. The grid­lock is not a prob­lem for shop­pers, of­fice work­ers, stu­dents and tourists but it is a dif­fi­cult task for the blind and par­tially vis­ual-im­paired peo­ple to nav­i­gate through.

Many of them con­verge on this area as the Malaysian As­so­ci­a­tion of Blind (MAB) build­ing is at the end of the road op­po­site the Mono­rail sta­tion. They come to at­tend cour­ses and meet­ings or seek­ing pro­fes­sional help. Some of them have com­pleted train­ing as masseurs and of­fer the ser­vice in this area.

I have ob­served that they have a strong spirit of self-re­liance. It is amaz­ing to see them walk with great con­fi­dence. Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has done a great job of build­ing tac­tile paving on all pave­ments to as­sist the blind and par­tially vis­ual-im­paired pedes­tri­ans en­hance their mo­bil­ity in this area.

The sys­tem of tex­tured ground sur­face in­di­ca­tors is like braille on pave­ment. In the Tun Sam­ban­than 4 area, DBKL has built yel­low-coloured tac­tile pave­ments of two dis­tinc­tive pat­terns that are de­tectable by walk­ing canes or shoes. The di­rec­tional guid­ance tac­tile paving is to guide blind pedes­tri­ans through open ar­eas avoid­ing haz­ards and ob­struc­tions while the blis­ter tac­tile sur­face pro­vides a warn­ing that they are at road cross­ing. The tac­tile pave­ment sim­pli­fies their men­tal map to their des­ti­na­tion, for ex­am­ple from the Sen­tral LRT sta­tion or Mono­rail sta­tion to the MAB build­ing and vice versa.

Un­for­tu­nately, this men­tal map if of­ten dis­rupted by in­con­sid­er­ate driv­ers who park their ve­hi­cles on both sides of the road, stop their ve­hi­cles on the yel­low box or ze­bra cross­ing, and park their ve­hi­cles on the tac­tile pave­ments. Also, any mi­nor con­struc­tion work on the pave­ment or road sim­i­larly im­pacts on their move­ment. For­tu­nately there are kind peo­ple who guide them away from this dan­ger and di­rect them to the right way.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.