|Mary Hartle-Smith||September 5, 2002|
Comments on Draft
Guidelines for Rights of Way
I have reviewed the draft guidelines and want to provide the Access Board with a few comments. I am a deaf/blind person who has a balance problem. There is no need for detectable warnings at street crossings, except, perhaps, in limited situations were there is no slope from the main part of the sidewalk to the edge of the street intersection. Detectable warnings would be harmful to me as a person with a balance problem, as bumpy surfaces tend to make me lose my balance. Also, the detectable warnings would be hazardous in snow belt states, with ice and snow getting into the crevaces of the truncated domes.
The guidelines would require audio/vibrating traffic signals. The cost of these devices far outweighs the benefits they would provide to blind persons. For decades, blind persons have been taught to travel by listening to traffic patterns to know when it is safe to cross a street. In places where I have heard audible traffic signals, I have found them distracting and have been unable to cross the street myself due to this distraction. Vibrating signals would prevent noise pollution, but the vibrating signal would have to be near the crosswalk so the blind person could quickly cross the street before the light changes to red.
The requirement that there be no projecting overhead items from buildings or other places which is contained in the draft guidelines is an excellent inclusion. Too often, blind persons have been injured by such things protruding into space where a person's head might be hit by the protrusion..
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