October 28, 2002
Dear Access Board Members,
For almost 30 years now I have been a white cane user. I am totally blind. I've
traveled independently throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan area to school
and to work. I've walked by myself around Manhattan and a number of other major
cities. I've even crossed streets in London by myself.
Nonetheless, I am writing to cast my vote for intelligent, discrete and well
designed systems that give audible feedback to blind pedestrians. Far too many
blind people are injured or killed while trying to cross busy streets. Anything
we can do to reduce that number is a good thing! A useful system should be one
that allows blind travelers who do not wish to use it to simply ignore it. The
system should adjust its own volume based on the level of ambient sound in the
vicinity of the intersection. I'm sure there are many good ideas to make the
system as useful and flexible as possible. But, above all, any system that can
promote increased independence and even save a life is a very good idea.
I urge you to set policies that encourage local authorities to integrate
Accessible Pedestrian Signals and Detectable Warnings at intersections into
their designs for new systems and for upgrades to existing facilities. I look
forward to hearing about your decision in this matter.
Blind pedestrian and