|August 30, 2002|
Tile over-all accessibility movement will suffer a significant setback if the Access Board requires the ubiquitous installation of “accessible” pedestrian signals and detectable warnings. These technologies are neither essential for the blind to travel safely and efficiently nor to improve access to public rights of way. The blind people I know are already crossing streets and negotiating dangerous areas without them. In fact, they do this so well that I often forget that they are blind.
The Access Board is at a historical decision point. It can either take a bold position recognizing as I do that people with disabilities are competent human beings who would benefit most from proper training or it can buy into the generally held view in society that people with disabilities are little more than wards of the state. My blind friends are certainly not wards of the state.
I have many friends who are blind, and all of them agree that detectable warnings and audible traffic signals are not really needed in most cases. Intersections which really are a problem for the blind might be helped by this kind of technology, but for tile most part, blind people just want to be left alone. Please don’t make their lives any harder by putting up stuff they don’t want.
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