|October 22, 2002|
My name is Sarah Lanier. I am blind, and reside in a rural community in southern Alabama. I do not belong to either consumer group of the blind, but I do want to express my opinion on the audible traffic signals and detectible warning strips.
I support the audible pedestrian signals. I think there are several manufacturers of these signals, and I believe that the best ones are the ones that adjust to ambient noise and have a button that activates them. In this way, the people who do not wish to activate the audible announcement don't have to use it. Traffic patterns are becoming increasingly hard to interpret, and vehicles are becoming increasingly quiet. Quiet cars, such as the hybrid cars, make it very difficult to determine the traffic pattern at an intersection, and also make it hard to determine right-on-red turns.
As for the detectible warning strips at curbs, I am concerned that these strips might make an elderly person fall. I use a Seeing Eye Dog as my mobility aid, and she's awesome at stopping at curbs. I have had limited experiences with the warning strips. My father and I were shopping in a mall, in Mobile, Alabama, when I first encountered the strips. They were placed near a set of steps. I thought that somebody had dropped something on the floor the first time we passed the strip. Then, I realized that the bumps went in a pattern. I could see them tripping somebody who doesn't have good balance, or who doesn't pick his/her feet up off the floor very far. I'd rather see the money spent on getting audible traffic signals in towns, especially those without mass transportation and those with lots of pedestrian traffic--such as college towns, like Auburn, Alabama.
Thanks for your time,
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