October 28, 2002
To Access Board Members:
My name is Josie Armantrout, I live at 11524 S.E. 308 Place, Auburn, WA 98092. I
am writing you to let you know how important the stopping of the audible traffic
signal devices is.
It is absolutely unnecessary to install an audible traffic signal at each and
every intersection. As a member of the National Federation of the Blind,
becoming blind four years ago, and with the assistance of blindness skills
through my rehabilitation department and the philosophy learned at the NFB
meetings, I am able to travel quite safely and confidently. So much so, that I
am also a member of the Washington State Independent Living Advisory Council
which demands I travel across the state for quarterly meetings. I do so
independently and in a safe manner with the skills I have acquired with proper
training on using my long white cane, common sense, and audible clues from the
environment. This past year alone, I had many commitments throughout the U.S., I
traveled to Lewisville, KY; Boise, ID; Baltimore, MD; Philadelphia, PA;
Portland, OR; and various cities in Washington state. I am also a fulltime
college student and serve as president of the National Federation of the Blind
of Washington Seattle Chapter which also requires me to travel to various
locations throughout the city on public transportation and on public streets
with busy intersections.
The busy intersections are exactly where these signals are not necessary. The
environmental clues are enough to assist a trained blind person cross a street
safely and efficiently. The cars are the best clue, but with the audible traffic
signals making noise, one will not be able to hear the ever quieting engines
which could result in a dangerous situation. The weather plays tricks on audible
traffic signals which results in a false indication of a light change. The wind
carries the sound and the rain mutes it. These are two very critical variables
to the signals thus creating very dangerous situations.
I admit, there are times I'd like a signal of some sort to tell me when the
light has changed. Those times are when the traffic is not prevalent, not even
slightly. I live in a rural area and at times there are some residential
intersections I'd like a signal to tell me when to cross the highway.
The most important way to spend our funds is training. Without proper training,
a blind person cannot confidently and most importantly, safely, travel. So, I
propose, a minimum amount of installations, with advice from the National
Federation of the Blind along with research made on traffic frequency for rural
and minimally traveled roads.
President, NFBW Greater Seattle Chapter