|October 20, 2002|
I write to express my objections to the proposed plan of installing audible traffic signals nation-wide at every intersection with walk/don't walk signs. My main objections to this plan are that it would cost money that could be spent on better travel training for blind people, which would decrease the need for these signals in the first place, and they would reinforce the negative stereotypes the public often has regarding blind people traveling independently.
Each of these audible traffic signals costs approximately $500, which means that to put one on each of the four corners of an intersection, it would cost $2,000! Multiply that times the number of intersections with walk/don't walk signals in any given town and the cost of this endeavor would be ridiculous and definitely not worth the money, considering how few of us blind people there actually are. Compare this to the much lesser cost of simply teaching people to listen to the parallel traffic and the very idea of installing the signals everywhere becomes absurd! When I learned to travel with no vision, it only took two hour-long lessons for me to feel completely comfortable with crossing the average intersection.
Secondly, I think the installation of audible traffic signals would reinforce to the public that we, as blind people, need our environments adapted for us or we simply aren't safe, which obviously is not true. There's a long enough list of misconceptions about blindness without adding to it needlessly.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
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