To the editor,
I am writing about one of my incredible third-grade students at St. Mary School in Delaware.
Monica Carreno is a young, active resident of Delaware and lives with visual impairment. Her vision is functional; however, she has difficulty seeing features of her environment that ensure her safety, such as the pedestrian overhead signals at traffic light-controlled intersections.
Kelly Kripinsky, Monica’s mobility specialist, noticed the lack of pedestrian push buttons at the intersection at William and Sandusky streets, while doing prep work for Monica’s first orientation and mobility lesson. Kelly and Monica both went to the office of the city engineer to introduce Monica’s situation.
The city was quick to respond to their concerns and invited both of them to attend and speak at the next parking and safety meeting in November 2015.
Monica and Kelly have visited the intersection several times to analyze and practice crossing. The intersection joins two large and busy streets of Delaware and has many different phases (light patterns) depending on the current traffic volume on each street. This makes the intersection very difficult to analyze, especially for someone who has no driving experience.
Kelly says, “It is surprising that such a large intersection located in the middle of downtown and adjacent to a university, which is expected to have a high volume of foot traffic, would not have a pedestrian push button or an audible pedestrian signal (APS).”
Kelly told me that Monica is aware of the benefits of an APS and is very interested in the process of having one installed at this intersection. Growing older and more independent, Monica is being taught to advocate for herself and is able to recognize when a situation is not accessible for her or people who share a common condition.
Monica wrote a letter to the Delaware city engineer and public works director William Ferrigno, explaining how APS gives her the full accessibility, feeling safe and independent in her environment. She also stresses her concerns for others who have the same problem as hers.
She is a wonderful representative and advocate for people with disabilities in the community and longs for their safety. She has an amazing support team and I wanted to stress the amazing work that this little girl has done.
I am so proud of her accomplishments and honored to be her third-grade teacher, although she is teaching me amazing things! She is a wonderful asset and citizen to this community.
St. Mary School