October 28, 2002
I have just learned there is a movement to discount the importance or
necessity of Accessible Pedestrian Signals and Detectable Warnings at
This, of course, is total nonsense.
The forces not happy with accessible pedestrian signals and detectable
called for within the recommendations of the Public Right of Way Advisory
Committee to the U.S. Access Board have been busy getting out negative
comments to the Access Board, even though most of the negative comments look
like a carbon copy of each other.
I would like to register my support of the PROWAC report.
Although I am not very political, I feel strongly about the passing of
legislation promoting safe and accessible signage for crossing intersections.
Some militant blind people are against these signs, because they feel that
adding crossing information is dangerous. They feel it might make people
reliant. I think this is a pretty weak argument. If adding information about
safe crossing (the purpose of an audible signal) is dangerous, then we should
just go ahead and remove red-green stop lights as well , as they also help
indicate right of way and may also lead to dependence.
Adding high contrast signs, audible signals and other information to increase
safety is a good thing, being blindly lead by this information is not. If a
train arm raises and the green light signals you to go but a large freight
train is also about to roar through the intersection, do you cross?
Likewise, if you are erroneously told by an audible signal that it is "okay"
to cross but a stream of traffic is rushing in front of you, do you just step
off the curb?
If the people who are worried about adding this signage information are at
all concerned about what to do in either of the above scenarios, then it
seems to me that maybe they should not travel on their own at all. Arguments
about environmental invasiveness and personal assaults of one's ambient array
are also bogus, as these things can be subtlely integrated into the existing
infrastructure (and rumor has it that all the noise and smell from the
traffic, the cause of this legislation in the first place, isn't really all
that mellifluous either).
I urge anybody who finds the idea of crossing a street without good knowledge
of the signal indication to be vaguely disconcerting (try it out some time,
the adrenalin rush is kind of like coffee)
We need to make sure that vision-impaired have access to the information
sighted pedestrians take for granted.
I have several friends who are blind - I see no reason to make their life any
Thank you for your time and consideration of this important issue.