Accessible pedestrian signals consist of two parts: a visual element and an audible element that makes a “tock” sound. Each part of an accessible pedestrian signal is activated by a separate button.
Chicago is behind other US cities in terms of pedestrian accessibility, as only 11 intersections out of 2,672 have accessible pedestrian signals. Chicago leadership plans to improve accessibility by installing 100 new accessible pedestrian signals in the next two years, but Disability Rights Advocates filed a class action lawsuit that alleges that this is not a sufficient fix. “Sighted people wouldn’t accept having safety information about only 11 out of 2,670 intersections,” says one plaintiff, “Why should I?”
The United States Department of Justice has shown an interest in the case and has moved to intervene. The Chicago Department of Law made a statement saying that the city has not broken federal laws, but that it welcomes federal assistance to help resolve concerns. Only time will tell which party will prevail.