John Mattioli, Jr.
|September 13, 2002|
I am writing to express my support of detectable warnings and audible pedestrian signals. As a blind resident of Arlington Massachusetts, I live very near an extremely busy city. As a business person, I tend to travel to unfamiliar areas. Allow me to describe two situations I must face daily.
My daily commute to and from work involves a walk, two bus rides and a subway trip. The subway platform I use daily is the same platform where, several years ago, a blind woman fell into the pit. Subsequently she died from injuries sustained during that incident. At the time of this incident, there were no detectable warning strips on this platform. Fortunately, they were installed not long after.
This woman was traveling to visit a friend. In 1998, a few years after the incident, that friend became my wife. When I started this daily commute, my wife was extremely nervous whenever I was on the platform. I firmly believe that her stress level, as well as mine, is substantially reduced by the fact that warning strips have been installed. Although I travel with the aid of a dog guide, and although I am a good traveler, it is reassuring to know that I will be informed if I get too close to the platform's edge.
Also during my commute I must cross a typical intersection where two major roads meet. Despite some effort on my part, this intersection does not have an audible pedestrian signal. I cross this intersection at least twice a day. Sometimes I cross it with my 14 month old child on my back. The intersection is extremely busy and I believe that drivers regularly ignore the walk signal. Since there is no audible pedestrian signal, it is sometimes hard for me to be sure of this. Nevertheless, I often find that, during my trip across the street, cars will travel through the intersection. This is dangerous for me, and dangerous for our young son.
Any attempt to claim that tactile warnings and audible pedestrian signals are not critically important is an attempt to diminish the value not only of my life, but of the life of my son. Not surprisingly, I reject this point of view. I am a software engineer, earn a good salary, pay my taxes, am a husband and father and give of my time and energy to my community. What more can a person do with their lives. My son deserves the same degree of safety as does the son of any sighted parent.
I can not emphasize strongly enough my support for tactile warnings and audible pedestrian signals.
John R. Mattioli, Jr.
index previous comment next comment