TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,
I have been made aware of the reccomendations set forth by the committee on
transportation concerning the mandate that all traffic signals in the United
States of America shall be equipped with audible traffic signals. I am also
aware that it is this committee's supposition that all surfaces with drops such
as curbs, should be fitted with tactile warning devices so as to let blind
people know that we are in so-called danger.
I appreciate the good-will and laudible intentions of this committee and those
who have the best interest of blind people at heart. It is praise-worthy that
such individuals are concerned about our welfare and safety. However, I must
strongly disagree with the reccomendations set forth for a variety of reasons.
The complications of such an implementation are many and varied. They are also
extremely costly and wasteful.
As I understand the provisions, each and every lighted intersection would
include a locater tone at each corner as well as a tone that would signify a
green light or an appropriate time to cross said lighted intersection. In such a
sanario, there could be as many as 8 different tones sounding at once, all with
varying pitch and noise level. This creates an impossible situation for a blind
traveller who finds it unnecessary to employ such methods in getting around from
place to place. As a rule and with a few basic lessons, a blind person, barring
any cognitavie or other impairing disability, is able to learn to cross a basic
lighted intersection using audible traffic cues already in existence. When a
green light flashes, the traffic runs parallel to the pedestrian crossing the
street because it is obviously to the left or right of said pedestrian. This
traffic pattern is different from the one which takes place when a red light
flashes because this traffic, the perpendicular traffic, is running in front of
the person. This is also very distance because. The aforementioned training
eliminates the need for such unobtrusive auditory signals. If these measures
were to be enacted into law, the traffic patterns that we as blind people depend
on will be skewed or totally masked by the meriod of beepings, chirpings, and
other well-intentioned technological gadgets and gismoes which would actually
hinder rather than help us. If some sort of signal must be put in place, then it
should be the type previously known in Australia where a series of audible
unobtrusive clicks would sounds when it would be safe to cross the street. These
are quieter and more tolerable than the current proposal.
The problem with truncated domes and other tactile warnings on curbs is that
they are paternalistic and custodial in nature. A cane or a dog is sufficient to
warn a blind person of an impending drop-off if these aids are used properly.
The expense of these proposed aids is 12 billion dollars, which is 12 billion
dollars too much in this writer's opinion. As a blind traveler who lived in Los
Angeles, I can speak from experience when I say that the beeping signals on
Vermont Ave are distracting to say the least. A person who depends upon such
things will not listen to traffic patterns and will end up making a diagonal
crossing because he has not been trained properly in the alternative techniques
of travel as a blind person.
I hope this E-mail is read with great care and consideration and I sincerely
wish no malice or ingratitude. I am voicing my concerns as a blind individual
who is concerned about the persistent trend toward paternalism within our
My telephone number is [ ... ] and my address is [ ... ] if you have any
comments regarding this correspondence. Please do not hesitate to call or write.
Edward Robert Salcido