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LightHouse News

TV Feature on SAFE this Saturday

Catch Jessie Lorenz, LightHouse Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, on Access SF. She is being interviewed about the Sidewalks Are For Everyone campaign.

The program airs this Saturday, February 21 at noon on Channel 29. It will also be simulcast on the web at www.accessf.org/guide/watch/.

Access SF 1 is San Francisco’s award-winning public access television channel. Programming is provided by San Francisco residents and nonprofit organizations on a first-come, first-served basis. The channel features programming reflecting San Francisco’s diverse communities and cultures.

U.S. Representatives Edolphus Towns and Cliff Stearns Introduce Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, NFB Applauds Measure

 
January 28, 2009 12:17 PM Eastern Time  

National Federation of the Blind Press Release

CONTACT:
Christopher S. Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
<mailto:cdanielsen@nfb.org>cdanielsen@nfb.org>

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Representatives Edolphus “Ed” Towns (D-NY) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL) today introduced H.R. 734, a bill intended to protect the blind and other pedestrians from injury or death as a result of silent vehicle technology. The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 requires the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study on how to protect the blind and others from being injured or killed by vehicles using hybrid, electric, and other silent engine technologies. Thirty-two original co-sponsors have already signed on to the bill.

Because blind pedestrians cannot locate and evaluate traffic using their vision, they must listen to traffic to discern its speed, direction, and other attributes in order to travel safely and independently. Other people, including pedestrians who are not blind, bicyclists, runners, and small children, also benefit from hearing the sound of vehicle engines. New vehicles that employ hybrid or electric engine technology can be silent, rendering them extremely dangerous in situations where vehicles and pedestrians come into proximity with each other.

“The National Federation of the Blind appreciates the wise and decisive action taken today by Congressmen Towns and Stearns to preserve the right to safe and independent travel for the blind,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “The blind, like all pedestrians, must be able to travel to work, to school, to church, and to other places in our communities without being injured or killed. This bill will benefit all pedestrians for generations to come as new vehicle technologies become more prevalent. The blind of America will do everything in our power to ensure its swift passage.”

“The beneficial trend toward more environmentally friendly vehicles has had the unintended effect of placing the blind and other pedestrians in danger,” said Representative Towns. “As someone who taught travel with a white cane to the blind for many years, I understand that the sound of traffic is critically important in order for them to travel safely and independently. This bill will prevent many injuries and fatalities while still allowing more clean vehicles on our nation’s roads.”

“I understand the safety concerns of blind pedestrians with these quiet automobiles; I have heard the same concerns from senior citizens in my district, and I appreciate the threat to children, bicyclists, and runners,” said Representative Stearns. “I deeply appreciate the support of all parties in supporting this important safety legislation.”

The bill requires the Secretary of Transportation, within ninety days of its enactment, to commence a two-year study to determine the best means to provide the blind and other pedestrians with information about the location, motion, speed, and direction of vehicles. Upon completion of the study, the Secretary will report the findings of the study to Congress and, within ninety days, establish a minimum vehicle safety standard for all new vehicles sold in the United States. Automobile manufacturers will have two years to comply with the vehicle safety standard.

SAFE Press Conference and Walking Tour

PRESS ADVISORY

214 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco Ca 94102

Tel:415-431-1481; Fax 415-863-7568; TTY: 415-431-4572, info@lighthouse-sf.org

Press Contact:  Jessie Lorenz (415) 694-7361, jlorenz@lighthouse-sf.org

LightHouse for the Blind kicks off their Sidewalks are for Everyone (SAFE) campaign

Where:  19th Ave and Taraval Street

When:   2:00 pm, January 16, 2009

The LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in partnership with the Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco and Senior Action Network will launch the Sidewalks are for Everyone (SAFE) campaign on Friday, January 16, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. in the Sunset District with a walking tour led by Supervisor Carmen Chu. The walking tour will begin at 19th Ave and Taraval and will be immediately followed by a press conference at Ulloa Park, located at 20th Ave and Ulloa.

The SAFE campaign aims to increase public awareness of the impact of parking cars on sidewalks. This common occurrence forces passersby into harm’s way, particularly impacting seniors, persons with disabilities, and pedestrians with small children.

“Rather than a punitive approach, the LightHouse and our partners plan to build capacity for understanding by providing over fifty presentations to community-based groups in the Sunset about the importance of parking with your neighbors in mind,” said Jessie Lorenz, project coordinator and Director of Public Policy and Information at the LightHouse. “There are many things citizens can do to help us spread the word about this campaign, including regularly visiting our blog and signing up to attend a neighborhood presentation,” Lorenz said.

Visit the SAFE campaign blog at www.lbvi.staging.wpengine.com.com/sidewalks for updated information, including a schedule of neighborhood presentations.

The LightHouse is a nonprofit organization that promotes the independence, equality and self-reliance of individuals living with vision loss and is the largest provider of direct services and advocacy for the blind and visually impaired of Northern California.

Jessie Lorenz (LightHouse), Herb Levine (ILRC), Pi Ra (SAN) and Supervisor Carmen Chu survey the neighborhood sidewalks.

Sidewalks are for Everyone Campaign Launches

Beginning January 2009, join us in paving the way for pedestrian safety!

Attend a Speakers Training:
Saturday January 17, 2009 12:00 p.m. to 1:00
LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
214 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94102
Contact us at 1 888.400.8933 info@lighthouse-sf.org

February 3, 2009 4:30 to 5:30
Support for Families with Children with Disabilities
2601 Mission StreetSuite 606
San Francisco, CA 94110

February 17, 2009 9:00 to 3:00
Senior Action Network
965
Mission Street, Ste 705 (Between 5th and 6th)

Beginning January 2009, join us in paving the way for pedestrian safety!
Beginning January 2009, join us in paving the way for pedestrian safety!

Through a grant from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in partnership with The Independent Living Resource Center and The Senior Action Network are working to clear up sidewalks obstructed by parked cars. This common occurrence forces passersby into harm’s way, particularly impacting seniors, persons with disabilities, and pedestrians with small children.

Supervisor Carmen Chu will launch the initiative by leading walking tours in the Sunset District. And we need your support to curb these risky sidewalk blockages! Attend upcoming trainings and gain public-speaking experience. A $50 stipend is available for those who complete at least one presentation at a community-based organization in the Sunset.