September 28, 2002
I am an orientation and mobility instructor, working with people who are blind
and visually impaired in North Carolina.
I would like to support the placement of pushbuttons for pedestrian crossings
where they are most convenient, and closest to the streets that the pushbutton
regulates. It is an ongoing challenge for blind pedestrians to locate and use
the pushbuttons as they are currently designed in the United States. It should
be part of the Draft Guidelines on Accessible Public Rights-of-Way to have the
pushbuttons right by the crosswalk they control, so there is no ambiguity about
which pushbutton controls which crosswalk, and no one has to go out of the way
to push the correct button.
Of course, these buttons should also have a locator tone.
This is an important safety and legal issue for pedestrians who are blind.
There have been pedestrians who are blind ticketed for jaywalking when they
used the sound of the traffic to time a crossing, unaware that a pushbutton was
on the corner.
Thank you for your consideration,
Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist