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Minority groups give advice on major construction project

Posted at 10:25 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 16:19:33-05

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — People with disabilities complain it can be dangerous to get around Salt Lake City.

Before investing in a multi-million dollar construction project on 300 West, city planners are going straight to the source to make it safer.

Everett Bacon relies solely on a cane to get around.

“I have been blind my whole life,” he said.

Born with a degenerative eye disease, Everett uses his other senses to navigate Salt Lake City, including touch and sound.

He is sharing his experience with city planners designing a reconstruction project on 300 West between 900 and 2100 South.

On Thursday, planners also walk the route alongside people with hearing and mobility disabilities.

“We are really here to listen and observe and ask questions about what their needs are and what doesn’t work for them now,” transportation planner Will Becker said.

One thing that doesn’t work, according to Everett, the chirping sounds to notify people when it’s safe to cross the road.

“That was something years ago city planners thought we would like. We really don’t. We find it kind of frustrating. You can’t really hear traffic too well,” Bacon said.

While this is one of the first times the city’s sought on-the-street advice from people with disabilities, their advice won’t be limited to 300 West.

“We are really interested in taking this opportunity so that we can apply it to other projects in the future,” Becker said.

“Honestly, it’s a great partnership,” Everett said.

The $17 million construction project will last approximately two years.