Lansing enters era of being ‘just about accessible’

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The city of Lansing is now virtually accessible, thanks to a new program that specializes in 3D walk-in tours of public spaces.

“We just thought it was a great resource and we were on board,” said Mariah Martinez, the public engagement specialist at Potter Park Zoo.

The zoo is just one of the many public spaces in Lansing that now offer virtual tours, thanks to a program called Able Eyes.

While the service isn’t new, this latest program allows community members to virtually visit popular attractions and businesses, without ever leaving their homes.

“What that means is that they are on our platform, and there is a virtual tour,” Meegan Winters. “So someone can click through that space and look at whatever is relevant to them. Accessibility is different to everybody, so it’s not as easy as just typing out some text on your website of these are our accessibility features.”

Winters said the idea sparked from her experience as a special education teacher, where she identified a need for virtual tours for disabled individuals, allowing them to plan their visits with more specificity and care.

“Difficulty with transitions, going places new for the first time, or doing things that are out of routine can cause a lot of anxiety and potential behaviors, and really just stress across the board for everybody involved,” continued Winters.

The Lansing area businesses are beginning to see the benefit.

“I’m very proud to be working here in Lansing, and eating, and visiting and doing all these sorts of things in an accessible city, and I take so much pride in it, and I’m not shocked we are the first city ,” said Martinez.

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