Bennett Prows, J.D.
October 25, 2002
I am strongly opposed to the proposed rule promulgated by the Architectural and
Transportation Barriers Compliance board (Access board) concerning the provision
of special audible street signals and warnings, and other audible and tactile
way-finding devices. As a blind person, I find this kind of costly, custodial
Rule to be detrimental to blind persons in general, and to me as a traveler in
particular. As a part of my job, I have traveled extensively throughout many
states, and particularly in the District of Columbia. Whenever I have
encountered audible signals, and tactile strips, I am more confused than
assisted. I find it much easier to use the existing audible information, such as
moving traffic, etc, to assist me in navigating across streets, and even busy
I recognize that some individuals are afraid of crossing the street without
assistance. I recognize that some believe that they are helped tremendously by
any and all signals, etc, that are available. However, because of the costs
involved, and the stereotypical notions reinforced by the unnecessary equipment,
I believe these suggested rules would do much more damage to blind persons than
good. The money used for expensive equipment etc, could be better spent to
assist the blind persons who are not as competent travelers to become more
proficient and able to cope with the myriad of conditions in their communities
and around the world.
My wife is also blind. She has a partial hearing loss, and is extremely opposed
to any kind of audible traffic signal that would interfere with her ability to
hear and directionalize traffic. She travels confidently, knowing that she has
developed alternative techniques for determining where the traffic is, and when
to cross. She is extremely concerned that if these signals and locator tones are
installed that she would not be able to effectively cross without human
Please do not set up more barriers to our crossing streets by adding sounds that
would obstruct the important sound of traffic in front and beside us.
Bennett Prows, J.D.