Louisville Magazine

AUG 2016

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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18 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 8.16 THE BIT HAIKU REVIEW CITY IN A SENTENCE OVERHEARD SPACES Photos by Amber Estes Thieneman Four-year-old Pyper Buren is a walking giggle, all cute curls, smiles and energy, ready to run off onto the playground, her cane gliding in front of her — left, right, left, right, left, right. One of her instructors corrals her toward an impressive new addition to the Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS ) building just to the left of the playground. It is a city block without the traffic called Mobility City. There are curbs, a crosswalk, plants, a TARC stop, parking meters and two shiny red fire hydrants. (When a VIPS student touched a hydrant for the first time after Mobility City opened, she said, "It feels so pretty.") "A lot of children will go on to rely on public transportation because they can't drive," says Heather Benson, VIPS' director of development. "So they need to know how to walk down the street safely to function as an adult. They're learning important life skills that we learned just by being able to see." Pyper stands at the crosswalk. Behind her, Maury Weedman, an orientation and mobility specialist at VIPS, reminds her to find the seam between sidewalk and street with her cane and to stand perpendicular to that. A beacon beeps next to Pyper's right ear, guiding her to the button she must press. She touches it. "Wait," a voice instructs. After a few moments: "Walk sign, Terry Lane." With that, Pyper marches into the pseudo-street with giant, confident steps. (VIPS auctioned off naming rights for the street and will do so every year as a fundraiser.) United Auto Workers- Ford Local 862's so-called "ramp team" (known for installing wheelchair ramps for those in need) built Mobility City. It took six months of planning, six weeks of construction and nearly $100,000 in donations. Before Mobility City, students from all over Kentucky and Indiana often learned to navigate streets either while out on field trips or on Goldsmith Lane, where VIPS is located off Newburg Road past the Watterson. It was a bit unnerving and required a lot of supervision. Weedman appreciates the safe space and details. For example, Mobility City has two storm drains, whose little openings can swallow canes or cause a fall. "Plus, drains can be a landmark," Weedman says. "It might be something you look for and think: Turn right. There's my front door." — Anne Marshall Does the "R" in Ramsey stand for "resign"? Striking Back? Goodbye, swimming pool. Hello there, first day of school. Well, if teachers show. "Wait, this place has a new name again?" — woman walking past Time 4 Thai (2206 Frankfort Ave.), which used to be TropicCuba, which used to be Riviera Maya Mexican, which used to be Cubana. And that's just in the past five years.

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