|October 27, 2002|
To the members of the Access Board:
I am writing to voice my opinion on the universal installation of audible traffic signals and detectable warning strips. These are not only unnecessary, but a safety hazzard to both blind and sighted people alike. I am totally blind and use a guide dog in my daily travels. We travel considerably and without the use of audible traffic signals or detectable warning strips. If a blind person is uncomfortable in crossing streets independently, there are many rehabilitation centers available to help them with obtaining additional mobility lessons. Guide dogs schools are also available to assist their graduates in additional work in crossing streets safely. Mobility training is the solution to the problem, not loud, intrusive, goofy audible signals. It would cost tax payers billions of dollars to install and maintain these unnecessary signals.
Imagine being totally blind and waiting to cross a busy intersection. In addition to the traffic and environmental sounds, you hear the audible traffic signal and eight locator beeps going off simultaneously. Instead of simplefying the street crossing, it would then be more confusing. We cross with the paralell traffic, so that flow of traffic is sufficient to signal when it is time to cross the street. For those blind people who choose not to receive additional mobility assistance, they might have some difficulty crossing safely if the ATS mal function or if they encounter an intersection that has not had an ATS installed. Good travel skills come with practice; if a blind person is depending on an audible traffic signal, they may not have the mobility skills to cross safely.
There are the occasional intersections that have complicated traffic patterns and an ATS would be helpful in these cases, but these situations are not that common.
When I travel with either my white cane or my guide dog, it is not difficult to discern the curb from the street. Detectable warning strips would not only be unnecessary, but it is a safety hazard as well as very costly. With pedestrian traffic, bicyclists, skate boarders, roller bladers, wheel chairs, and weather conditions, the maintanance costs would be very expensive. People could easily trip and fall on these strips. How can something be a safeguard when it is a safety hazard?
Universal installation of audible trafic signals and detectable warning strips are not required for a blind person to live an active, independent productive life. Believing in yourself, your own abilities, and being aware of your surroundings are all a blind person needs to successfully travel anywhere in this country or the world.
Thank you for your time and for considering my comments.
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