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Jerusalem Light Rail Ready to Go

Jerusalem Light Rail Ready to Go 

Interview with Dr. Avi Ramot, Head of SHEKEL's Accessibility Center and government advisor to the Light Rail 

 

Dr. Avi Ramot: "There is an accessibility advisor for the company and an accessibility advisor for the government. My job is more of supervising the company. Regarding the accessibility solutions you asked about: for people with special needs, the light rail's entry and exit have no steps, so you don't go up or down, but simply enter or exit the tram. There is room for wheelchairs, enough room inside for wheelchairs to turn around and also room for people with physical disabilities who do not use a wheelchair. There are seats for the blind with seeing-eye dogs and seats for the elderly. As for transmitting information inside the tram, this will be done vocally and visually, so people can either see or hear (or both) the relevant information. Therefore, a hearing-impaired person can see signs such as "Next stop Zion Square", and other people in the tram can hear it. Every few seats there is an intercom so passengers can contact the driver if necessary. The colors in the tram have been chosen so that people (sight-impaired, not the blind) can identify handrails, doors and seats by contrast and find their way about easily. Signage is also suited to the sight-impaired, designed in consultation with sight-impaired people. The signage meets and even supersedes international standards. 

In the light rail station: 

There are seats for people who have trouble standing, reserved seats for wheelchair-users and signs indicating the tram's accessible doors for the sight-impaired. There are also warning strips with bumps for the sight-impaired and a public address system and signs for people who cannot hear or see. Information on when the next train arrives will be announced and written on signs in the station. Information about the light rail will be available by phone, fax, sms or any other easy way of conveying information. Sagi: "About crossing the tracks – people will really cross them, for example, on Jaffa St.?" Dr. Avi Ramot: "There will be several places, not many, where there will be crosswalks. As you may know, there are places where roads cross the tracks, such as Davidka Square. There cars can cross from the Clal Center to Prophets St. The tram will occasionally stop to let cars and pedestrians cross. Near the walking mall on Jaffa St., people can cross the tracks just like in Europe and other places". 

Sagi: "That won't be a problem?" 

Dr. Avi Ramot: "I agree, it will definitely be a problem." 

Sagi:" About the noise. If the tram is quiet, won't that be dangerous for the blind?" 

Dr. Avi Ramot: " OK, let's not exaggerate. The tram does make some noise. It’s quieter than a bus, but it does make noise. Of course a person who is both sight and hearing-impaired will be in some danger, as he is on any street. It should be stressed that the light rail travels at low speeds in consideration of the city environment, and it can brake better than a bus".  

Avi invites us all to enjoy riding the light rail soon. 

 

Sagi Yudovitz   

   

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