October 24, 2002
I am writing in opposition to the proposed guidelines being considered by the
Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, which would require
the installation of audible traffic signals and detectable warnings at
intersections across America.
As a blind person, I have traveled independently in cities in every part of the
nation; I find that I can cross streets merely by listening to the traffic and
using a long white cane. A blind pedestrian with appropriate mobility skills can
travel safely and independently using information which is already available in
the typical intersection without having to rely upon adaptations telling the
traveler whether it is safe to walk, or (indeed) where the street is.
These guidelines are over broad as drafted, and they should be amended to
contemplate the installation of detectable warnings and audible traffic signals
only in those places where pertinent information is not otherwise available.