You walk to the subway station and turn to step down the stairs. You pull out the MTA Metrocard from a wallet and swipe it through the slot. You pass the gate after you hear a beep and keep moving to the platform. Perfect! A Manhattan-bound express is just arriving so that you can chill and enjoy an Old Fashioned in a bar in East Village before your friends come. This is the everyday life of New Yorkers. These daily moments come as naturally to them as breathing and they can perform these routines even with their eyes closed.
But no, for people who really live in darkness, doing these "routine" tasks are quite challenging. The truth is that the stations have never been designed for blind/visually impaired people. While you may think to fall onto the tracks is the biggest hazard for blind/visually impaired people navigating subway stations, the truth is it is difficult for blind people to even reach that stage. They first have to figure out how to step down the stairs. Then they have to figure out where the card slot to swipe their cards is. After passing through the gate, they have to be in the right direction and walk cautiously to the platform. There is actually a very low probability for them to move close enough to the edge to fall off the platform.
For most blind people, taking a subway is like throwing themselves into the Hunger Games. The subway is a concrete jungle whose design doesn't serve them at all. The streets are congested with hundreds of people always in a hurry to be somewhere. However, the tactile brick made by NIKE Grind could make the urban design of New York City more humane now. A well-designed tactile brick and paving can improve present obsolete systems to create a more inclusive and universal access to guide blind/visually impaired people on a city tour. Our vision is to have the tactile brick installed at all possible public spaces so that a blind/visually impaired person can commute with ease and full independence! Be it metros, libraries, parks, courthouses, grocery stores, and many more.