Christopher E. Booher
|September 30, 2002|
To Whom it May Concern:
My name is Christopher E. Booher and I am a student at the University of North Texas who also happens to be blind. I am writing in opposition to the draft guidelines proposed by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. The guidelines in question would require the placement of audible traffic signals at all intersections with walk/don't walk signs and detectable warnings at all intersections.
The guidelines that the board has drafted are not necessary to insure access for blind pedestrians, and may even make street crossings less safe by adding too much noise to the environment in which we must cross the street. Not only would we have to contend with the signal itself, but locator tones would also be mandated. These tones add too much noise and distraction.
With proper training, blind pedestrians travel safely with little or no modification to street crossings. Suitable alternative information is normally available to allow us full and equal access without modification, and in my opinion, modifications should only be made at crossings where insufficient non- visual cues are available. In the rare instances when this occurs, vibrotactile signals should be installed. These signals would insure that we receive the information we need without adding to the noise level of busy intersections.
As for the requirement that detectable warnings be installed at all intersections, I believe this is a colossal waste of money, and the tax dollars saved by eliminating this unnecessary requirement would be better spent on training for the blind. These warnings should only be installed when the transition from sidewalk to street is virtually flat. In other instances, blind pedestrians can obtain sufficient information about the transition using the alternative techniques taught at rehabilitation centers across the country.
I urge you not to instigate this huge waste of money and manpower. I feel it would be in the best interest of everyone involved to consult the blind to find out what would be most useful to us. Thank you for your time.
Christopher E. Booher
Graduate Music Student
University of North Texas
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