The Price to Pay

Money. There is never enough of it to go around, however it’s interesting what one will pay for. Reggio Emilia is special because it has a charm to it that is hard to beat. It’s traditional streets and buildings make it one of a kind and impossible to copy. However one needs to ask themselves if everything that is traditional if it is also practical. While walking across any street that has a crosswalk in Reggio Emilia, you may notice something missing. Reggio Emilia does not have crosswalks built for those who are blind and disabled. 99% of the time, anywhere you go in the United States will have crosswalks that flash lights and have sound for those who cannot see, however after being in Europe for over a month I have not seen one here. Not having an accessible crosswalk for those who need it is eliminating the possibility for one with disabilities to get around by themselves safely. Imagine crossing the street with your eyes closed, not being able to see when it’s your turn to go. It is just a disaster waiting to happen, and with it being 2016 shouldn’t ever be a scenario for someone. APS stands for Accessible Pedestrian Signals, and is what the device is called that alerts a blind person or those who are disabled when it is okay to cross the street. According to The Volpe Center, (The National Transportation System Center) it is estimated the additional cost for an accessible pedestrian pushbutton compared to conventional pushbutton is $350 per unit. The total additional cost to provide accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons, including labor and other equipment such as stub poles varies by location.Overall, The Volpe Center estimated that the total additional costs are $3,600 per intersection based on a published cost study and interviews with local transportation departments. (US. Access Board,2016) Reggio Emilia is a town of over 100,000 people and with this cost one has to wonder why nothing has been done to change this issue. When doing the math, each person would only have to donate around 15 cents in order for a whole intersection based crosswalk APS system to be installed. One also has to wonder what Reggio Emilia’s City budget is, and why they haven’t given this matter enough attention. A big problem in society is that if a problem doesn’t affect them, they won’t even think about it, however Reggio Emilia has a chance to better its community. A call for action needs to be done.