|September 22, 2002|
I am writing to you so that you urge the Access board not to allow Audible Pedestrian signals on every street corner. The reason that I urge you not to allow these signals is;
1. As a safe and independent traveler, I am capable of listening to the flow of traffic. Sometimes, it will take several cycles if I have not been in that area before, but once I have the flow by listening to the cars I am capable crossing and I have never had any problems where the traffic going the opposite way is waiting for me.
2. These Audible Pedestrian Signals are very noisy which can cause a person to think that the flow of traffic is going the way they want it and it really is not and then they can become seriously injured.
3. If a person relies on these mechanical signals to know when it is time to cross, and one day they are not working for whatever reason, that person may not be able to navigate the crossing due to the fact that they have been relying on the signal for long now they can't manage without it so they can't get around.
4. some people will tell you that they need these signals so that they can find the way properly with their guide dog, this is not the case. I am Guide dog user and have been for over 15 years, and I know that the dog will take you to the curb and wait for the next command. When a person hears the traffic flow going in the direction they want to cross, they give the command to the dog to cross and the dog will walk them in a straight line across the intersection to the up curb where they are heading so it is a misnomor that they need these to find the corner or to find their way.
The other issue that I want to bring to your attention, is Detectable warnings at the edge of every curb. These are not necessary and I urge you to ask the board not allow this to be approved. The reason for this,
1. when a person uses a cane or a dog for that matter, they will be able to find the edge of a curb or platform without any assistance. The dog will stop just before the edge and the cane will find the edge before the person gets to it.
2. When a dog steps on these warnings, it hurts their paws since they are very sharp and they eventually will stop short of them which will throw the blind person off on their stepping off the curb.
3. If a person is wearing dress shoes and they get caught on the edges of these Detectable warnings, they could lose their balance and fall. If they happen to fall into the street, they could seriously be injured.
Again, I urge you not allow these costly and ineffective means of travel for the blind of this country. It would be more effective to work with the National Federation of the Blind to find ways of training people so that they can become efficient and safe travelers.
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