Subject: Support for Proposed ADA Guidelines Re, Accessible Rights of Way
My name is Mitch Pomerantz and I reside at 1115 Cordova Street, No.402,
Pasadena, CA 91106. I am writing to express my full support for the proposed
guidelines on accessible rights of way developed by the Access Board.
Specifically, I wish to endorse the comments submitted by Ms. Melanie Brunson of
ACB to you concerning the need for accessible pedestrian signals, detectable
warnings and signalization at round-abouts.
I had the opportunity to address the Access Board at its meeting in Portland,
Oregon, representing the American Council of the Blind (I am a member of the
Board of Directors). Those who state that with proper training in orientation
and mobility, blind persons do not need such assistance are not living in
today's reality. The overwhelming majority of blind persons are over the age of
60 and are unlikely to receive rudimentary o&M training, let alone the kind of
quality training required to learn to move safely through today's complex
traffic patterns. Beyond this basic fact, APS's, detectable warnings and other
accommodations aid nondisabled persons, who are frequently not focused on the
mundane task of walking from one place to the next, until brought sharply back
to reality by the squealing of brakes or the shouted warnings of other
Another specious argument against such accommodations concerns cost. My
employer, the City of Los Angeles, has just finished in excess of 22,500 curb
ramps throughout the City at a cost of approximately $1,100 per installation. No
one claimed that making streets accessible for persons with mobility limitations
was too costly. It was done because it is the law, and because it is the right
thing to do. The same is true for the types of accommodations needed by blind
and vision impaired persons. Yes, cost must always be a factor; but at $400 per
signal (to use APS's as an example), the expense is hardly budget-busting for
most governmental entities.
It is long past the time when ideology should dictate what is best for people
with disabilities. The Access Board's proposed guidelines strike the proper
balance between stake-holders and should be adopted. As automobiles become
quieter, traffic more numerous, and traffic-calming techniques such as round-abouts
more widely used, these guidelines will become even more necessary if blind
persons aren't to be relegated to staying home or always needing to have someone
traveling with them when they go out of their homes.
Thank you and the Board for the opportunity to express my opinion concerning
this vitally important issue for blind and vision impaired persons.
American Council of the Blind