Wells B. Jones
October 28, 2002
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to state the Guide Dog Foundation's enthusiastic support of
recommendations to make detectable warnings and accessible pedestrian traffic
signals far more widely available than they are today.
The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind strives to improve the quality of life of
people who are blind or visually impaired, and we support measures that
facilitate the independence of this community.
Guide dogs enable blind people to have increased independence and mobility. They
work in partnership with their handler. When crossing streets and intersections,
the blind person listens for parallel traffic and audibly determines when it is
safe to cross the street. The person then directs the dog to proceed forward. In
the face of danger, or oncoming traffic, the dog will disobey the command. The
team will then wait for the next traffic cycle and repeat the process.
As such, it is the blind person's responsibility to determine when it is safe to
cross. However, simply listening to traffic sounds is not as effective and
reliable as it once was. Changing technology in traffic lights, quieter cars,
and other technological and engineering advances have created the need for blind
people to "guess" when it is okay to cross the street. It would be
unconscionable not to take advantage of advances that will make these crossings
safer for the blind and visually impaired.
I strongly encourage you to support the recommendations of the Public Right of
Way Advisory Committee to make detectable warnings and accessible pedestrian
signals widely available. This is in the best interest - and safety -- of people
who are blind or visually impaired.
Thank you for your consideration.
Wells B. Jones, CAE, CFRE
Chief Executive Officer