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Thousands Of Bus Stop Signs For The Blind Are Coming To The CTA

By Kelly Bauer | September 5, 2017 5:10am
 The CTA is using a grant to create signs with Braille and raised letters for visually-impaired riders.
The CTA is using a grant to create signs with Braille and raised letters for visually-impaired riders.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

DOWNTOWN — The CTA is creating bus stop signs with Braille or raised letters to help those who are blind.

The agency's goal is to place the signs at more than 10,700 bus stop poles. The project — still in early stages — has no set timeline, according to a CTA spokeswoman, but it received a boost when the Regional Transportation Authority awarded the CTA a $380,350 grant for the signs this month.

The CTA hasn't determined what the signs will say or look like, but they'll include Braille or raised letters so people who are blind or otherwise visually impaired can read them through touch.

Current signs are placed too high on poles to be easily seen by those with visual impairments, according to the CTA's application for a grant from the RTA. The signs can't be used at all by those who are blind.

The agency is "finalizing" its plans for when and where it will roll out the signs, according to a CTA spokeswoman. The signs will include information about the location of the stop, helping "riders transferring from and to rail stations," according to the CTA's grant application.

The CTA also hopes the signs can help attract visually impaired people who have relied on the CTA's  paratransit service, which provides door-to-door reserved transportation for people with disabilities. Some of those who use paratransit rather than fixed-route buses may do so because they "feel uncomfortable" figuring out what stop they're at with the current signs, according to the agency's grant application.

The CTA estimated that creating all of the signs will cost more than $1.4 million. The agency is looking for more funding to pay for the rest of its signs since the grant from the RTA and local funding will only cover part of those costs.

The project "complements" the CTA's All Station Accessibility Plan, according to the agency. The plan, set to be released later this year, will show the CTA's plans for making rail stations wheelchair-accessible within the next 20 years and updating and replacing 155 elevators in the system.