MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – Collin County is growing fast, but can the infrastructure keep up with the demands of the people who live there?
A McKinney man says a busy intersection is a sign the city is neglecting its citizens with disabilities.
Intersections like the one at Lake Forest Drive and 380 have a pedestrian signal, but in order to get to the button to activate it, pedestrians have to cross a sometimes busy turning lane without one. Now one man says if you have to do that with a disability, it could get you killed.
Blind since birth, when Justin Mann shot video of the intersection to post on Facebook, he could only hear what he wanted you to see.
“I’m not recording this video out of pity or anything, but I want you to see, this is where Garvey earns his mettle in this kind of traffic,” Mann narrated in the video.
Garvey is Mann’s guide dog. It’s Garvey’s responsibility to keep Mann from getting hit by a car, but Mann says he’d also like a little help from the city.
“For all of the press coverage that its given of how great this is, this is not a place I could recommend somebody live with a disability,” Mann said.
The problem, according to Mann, is twofold. First pedestrians have to navigate their way through an often busy turning lane just to get to the post with a button to activate the pedestrian signal. That succeeds at regulating the traffic, but signals at similar McKinney intersections don’t have audible signals for blind people.
“You have to listen and time the light based on your perpendicular and parallel traffic,” Mann said.
A McKinney spokesperson said the city has already installed some audible signals with more to come including at the intersection in Justin’s video, but Justin said it can’t happen soon enough.
“This is something that needs to happen right now because it’s going to get a lot more expensive later,” Mann said.
In a statement released by the city, a McKinney spokesperson wrote the following:
“The City of McKinney values the safety and wellbeing of all our citizens, and we are committed to making our city accessible for everyone who chooses to make McKinney their home.
Mr. Mann has worked with city staff on numerous occasions to make safety improvements. For example, the city constructed sidewalks, providing an accessible route from his home to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center.
The intersection of Lake Forest Drive and U.S. 380 is designed to the current national standards and the city continues to make improvements in an effort to make them even safer for our citizens. The concerns that Mr. Mann points out are valid, and the city has been evaluating the different design options for other locations.
The city has been actively installing audible pedestrian signals (APS) throughout McKinney to further improve pedestrian mobility for all users. Another APS will be added at the intersection at Lake Forest Drive and U.S. 380 by the end of next week, and additional APS will be installed in the coming months as we continue to develop these parts of our rapidly growing community. The city will also look into additional safety improvements, including signage and pavement markings to alert drivers of the presence of pedestrians within the yielded right turn lane at the location in question and other similarly designed intersections.
We appreciate citizens who bring these issues to our attention so we can work to enhance our citizen’s quality of life.”
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