The disability unit is excited and fully supports the textured pathway initiative. Juan Erwee, technical officer at the disability unit, believes textured pathways will “make a big difference on campus if it does come to be a reality”. Ntimane’s responsibility has been to source the material for the path. He has chosen tactile paving as it is cost effective, sustainable and requires less maintenance. Tactile paving is “like pavement, but it has bubbles on it so you can feel where you are going with your cane or…your feet”, explained Ntimane. This choice was also motivated by the use of tactile paving in the Hatfield area as it makes it easier for blind students “to navigate around campus having something that they already know”.
While the project has taken some steps forward there are still things that need to be worked out. Ntimane explained that they are still in the process of determining how much the project will cost. The team has been working with blind students to see how to plan the route. Two weeks ago Wyrley-Birch, Sgwane and Ntimane, together with some blind students, assessed campus grounds to better understand where the difficult and dangerous areas are. Wyrley-Birch said that “the intention is to be clever about where the path is built so that it does not disrupt everyone as well.”
Nasmirha Dilshad Bhamjee, the SRC member with the sport portfolio, is blind and believes that textured pathways will “help people who are blind to mobilize themselves on campus”. She added that “it will just make life easier and it will give us a sense of independence.”
Textured pathways on campus. Image provided.