|October 20, 2002|
To date, there has been no research on accessible pedestrian signals which states their benefits. However, many of the negative consequences which will result from mass installation of these signals can be drawn from simple inference.
Accessible pedestrian signals are often equipped with a beeping locator tone so that the blind can find them with greater ease. However, the constant beeping of four separate signals on four separate corners of an intersection can be confusing to a traveler. Furthermore, the repeated tones produced by these devices often serve as a nuisance and an annoyance to the sighted public.
When a blind person crosses the street, he or she must listen to traffic patterns not only to determine when it is safe to cross, but also to determine of vehicles are turning in front of him or her. The chirps and tones produced by accessible pedestrian signals can often occlude the sounds of traffic, especially when large structures in the immediate area amplify the sound by means of echoes.
The truncated domes which are proposed to be placed on every corner in America will not always prove useful. In Nebraska, where I am from, the ground is frequently covered by snow and ice in Winter. When this occurs, the tactile warnings will be absolutely useless.
Again, I urge you to consider the factors which surround this situation, and
I strongly urge you to withdraw this upcoming ruling. The blind do not need
accessible pedestrian signals; they simply need training.
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