October 12, 2002
Subject: 1. Round-Abouts YUK!!
2. Positive Benefits for: A: Audible Signals; B: Raised Domes
Dear Scott Windley, US Access Board,
My name is Judy Wilkins, a multi-disabled person; My disabilities are: blindness
and cerebral palsy (CP) which affects my whole leftside. I travel with a guide
dog; the dog gets use to the C.P. part of things walking pattern and when i lose
my balance etc.
On Tuesday, Oct 8, 2002, from 8:30 AM-4 PM; I attended the US Access Board
conference here in Portland, Oregon at the Hilton Hotel, 921 SW 6th Ave. The day
was good and informative.
I was wondering if you have a cassette copy of the handout "Draft Public
Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines" published June 17, 2002, because I would
like to have a this material on cassette.
TESTIMONY BEGINS NOW
I: Round Abouts YUK!!
As stated at the conference, Tues. 10/08/02 not having adequate audible signals
for blind persons; these types of streets are difficult at best to cross in a
safe manner. It seems like to me that the traffic flow is steadily on the move
and sense the traffic is never required to stop it seems like the traffic speed
is faster. In order to make these road ways safer for all, we need to have stop
signs or spped bumps to slow the traffic on the round abouts Also as it stands
now a blind person could stand at the crosswalk "until the cow come home",
because of the confusing traffic pattern. Also if there were stop signs and/or
speed bumps, this would help the car driver to slow down to give themselves an
allotted time to stop before approaching the crosswalk especially when a
pedestrian is at the street curb to cross.
2. For the car driver: I feel that for those who don't experience the round
about situation on a continual basis could get lost by being on this never
stopping go merry around not knowing how to exit or the beginner driver. I think
the experice could be scary. I don't know if in the driver's education classes
and/or the driver's manual addresses this type of situation if not maybe in
these two venues this should be addressed.
II: Audible Signals -- Positive for All
Audible signals are positive for everyone including the sighted person who at
times may for whatever reason goes into a day dream state; these signals can/do
bring the person back to the real world (RW) by non-verbally saying, "wake-up
and cross the street; if desiring to do so."
These signals are a great asset for us who are blind, because of:
1. Vehicle engines for the most part are manufactured to be quieter than before
2A: Comfort level of crossing the street varies amoung us, e.g. being in a
traumatic experience; for me, my comfort level with regarding to street crossing
isn't grat and when the traffic pattern gets busy, I get real confused on when
to cross the street, because when I was about 12 years old in 1968; my traumatic
experience was I got hit by a car. Even today this traumatic experience affects
This is going to strange, but at times my 3rd retired guide dog would need to
indicate to me "time to cross the street", the dog did this by looking at me by
raising his head and I could feel him doing so. My current 4th guide dog, who
you saw at the conference gives a little lunge. Typically the dogs are not to
assist in this way; it's up to the blind person to listen for the traffic
patterns, which I do. At times I stand at the crosswalk curb to long, because I
feel that traffic is more busy than I feel comfortable with then the dog has
"Turn Right on Red" law really affects my already shaky comfort level, because
when I've listened to determine that I have a clear right of way to cross the
street and then all of a sudden a vehicle comes from no where and wants to make
that right turn, I get panked and thinking OH .... Again I misjudged the traffic
then I hurry myself and guide dog up to clear the pathway. Also, what comes
across in my mind is the car is going to hit us, because they're coming directly
at us. Question: Is there anyway at all that you can dumped the "Turn Right on
Red" law, audible signals would work with the "Turn Right on Red" law, because
one waits for audible signal and to listen for the clear right of way; the
person could begin to cross and then there's this car coming toward the person.
I don't know what's the solution here.
2B: Another aspect of mobility level differs greatly between the generations e.g
an older person who had their mobility in the 1940 maybe not a complex as the
younger person of today; who has to cope with much quieter vehicles, car speeds
are faster today than before. The mobility skill level needs to match up with
what's happening in society at the time.
3. Some blind people are directional challenged and this hard because if a
mobility instructer says to the student meet me at the N.E. corner of 6th ave
and Salmon for example. This is where the audible signal would help (if I
understand this correctly) The coo coo sound is for the direction Noth and South
then for East to West; the chirpping sound. I'm able to figure out the
directions, but it takes time. These directional audible signals are real
important to have so that people don't have to take that extra time here's
excemption number two, I think if a person has a service dog, the signals maybe
not helpful is if this dog is destracted by the bird signal sounds: e.g. my
third retired guide dog got destracted by the coo-coo sound. We were asked a
long time ago to evaluate some audible signals, when we were crossing the street
almost in the middle the dog decides to turn his body in a half circle to return
to the curb so that he wanted to figure out where the sound was coming from. I
had to get him back into line and to urge him to go. at an evening meeting we
were asked to share out thoughts, which I did. The people in charge never had a
complaint about a service dog getting destracted. After the meeting, we were
able to get hands on and then asked them to play the sound for the dog, which
they did so that he would be use to the sound.
III: Raised Domes
The raised domes is a positive way to keep us safe; without them we could get
close to the edge as wait for the lightrail train to arrive. In Portland,
Oregon, we have the raised domes to help keep us safe. I wish that here in
Portland on the bus mall (5th and 6th Ave) we had the raised domes, because one
day as we were waiting at the crosswalk curb a city bus driver noticed that we
were too close to the curb and the bus driver brought this to my attention
saying, you could accidently get hit by the buse's driver mirror, so you need to
step back at least two steps for your safety. After the bus driver mentioned
this to me, I still walk to curbside so that I may line myself up with the
crosswalk properly then I take my two steps back. If the domes were there I
would only have to walk to them to wait to cross the street or to wait for the
1. Again, please dump the "turn Right on Red" law into file thirteen.
2. Audible signals and the raised domes are an assests to all; please keep and
budget for these two mobility aids
I hope the opposing parties don't get their way and then you folks say, well we
can't fund these wonderful mobility aids, because they have a louder voice than
the supporters do. I'm concerned that the more vocal group will get their way.
Audible Signals and raised domes are meant to help[ us keep safe; so please fund
these wonderful projects.
Thank you for coming to Portland to share with us this important information
"draft Public Right of Way Accessibility Guidelines published June 17, 2002.