Thursday November 12 12:22 PM ET Blind Man Seeks Cyberspace Access

Blind Man Seeks Cyberspace Access

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A blind man has filed a complaint against a mass transit commission, claiming his inability to access its Web site of bus and train schedules violates federal law.

Randy Tamez, who was blinded 12 years ago by treatment for a brain tumor, cited the Americans With Disabilities Act in his formal complaint Nov. 2 against the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The commission oversees nine Bay Area counties' mass transit systems.

Tamez, 36, sees only shapes, shadows and light.

His complaint is part of a growing mound of paperwork that is steering ADA regulations toward the Web. The disabilities act was passed by Congress in 1990.

``The online world was friendly when it was a text-based medium,'' said Cynthia Waddell, the city of San Jose's ADA coordinator, who is deaf. ``But as it has rapidly grown to a robust multimedia environment, it has erected new barriers that were never there before.''

Devices that allow a blind person to use the Web, for example, work well with a site that has a lot of text. As Web sites fill up with pictures, video clips and sound, though, text often becomes a secondary concern to online designers.

Two other complaints, filed this year against San Francisco and Washington, D.C., allege those cities failed to make touch-screen computer kiosks for the public usable by the blind or deaf. Both cities have promised to work to remedy the problem.

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