October 25, 2002
My name is Roger Erpelding, my address is [ ... ]
I am 52 years old, and have blind since birth. For the past 27 years, I have
been an employee of the Iowa Department for the Blind. With our agency, I have
served as a Rehabilitation Teacher, a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, and
Administrator of the Business Enterprises Program.
I own my own home, I walk aabout 3 miles each day (schedule permitting), I am
parenting a 15-year-old son, and my hobbies are cooking, gardening and reading.
In other words, I lead a very normal life.
As one might expect, my life has involved crossing streets of all kinds.
Fortunately, this has been done, successfully, without truncated domes and
audible traffic signals. They are totally unnecessary, and installing them is a
waste of valuable governmental resources.
Installation of such devices will harm blind people philosophically, as it
simply sends the wrong message. Think of the employer who watches a blind person
cross a busy street with these added features. "If they can't cross the street
without that kind of assistance, how in the world will they function in my work
environment" would be a natural, although unfounded conclusion.
I have found that traffic at intersections can be more helpful than harmful.
Adding to the noise and confusion by installing audible traffic signals may well
make crossing the streets less safe, not more. For blind travelers, good hearing
is essential, and any distractions are a definite hazard.
I see no value to truncated domes. At best, they are a tripping hazard for the
general public, and do nothing to insure the safety of blind pedestrians.
I wish to thank you for taking the time to read my comments, and for your
consideration. This is a very important issue to me, as well as to the blind
community, and I appreciate this opportunity to respond.
Again, thank you.