Norma A. Boge
|October 16, 2002|
I am Norma A. Boge, a member of the American Council of the Blind. I am writing in support of accessible pedestrian signals. As a person who is totally blind, such signals offer me an extra level of safety when I am crossing streets. It is true that such signals are not a replacement for good skills of orientation and mobility. However, the traning offered in such skill areas is not consistent across the United States. Thus, not all blind persons have a high level of orientation and mobility. But, despite the level of training, all blind persons have the right to information provided to sighted pedestrians; i.e. Don't Walk, Walk, etc. Each year, there are many injuries and even some deaths resulting from blind pedestrians attempting to perform the simple task of crossing a street. Certainly, accessible pedestrian signals will not prevent all such accidents. But, blind and visually impaired pedestrians should be able to take advantage of such safety features of the built environment, in much the same way drivers use stop lights.
I encourage you and your colleagues to not be swayed by the arguments of some groups which say that blind people do not need accessible pedestrian signals. This is not true!! We do need them, and it is important that the Access Board realize that what the sighted public may think of a blind person using an accessible signal is not important. What is important, however, is to foster the independence and safety of those of us who travel independently.
Norma A. Boge
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