|October 5, 2002|
I'm writing to you concerning the recommendations put
forth in the Prowac report. I'm totally blind and wholeheartedly in support of
them. I hope that the government will be as well.
I can't tell you the number of times when I have walked into the street because there was no difference between the sidewalk and the street; the curb cuts were so drastic that there is absolutely no way to tell where the street was. That, of course, meant that I was almost hit by cars on a number of occasions. I work in the city of Chicago, and there are becoming more and more streets like this. We definitely need detectable warnings, both for intersections and on subway platforms. I take the train to Chicago every day, and rely on these detectable strips in order to make sure that I don't fall off the edge. There are so many people on the platform that I could fall easily if I don't walk in an absolutely straight line; this way, I'm still a little away from the edge of the platform so I can stay safe.
Audible traffic signals would be wonderfully helpful, too, and we don't have any of them in the Chicago area. Yesterday, I happened to be walking in a 40-mile-an-hour wind with pelting rain. I could not reliably tell when it was safe to cross a street because I could not hear which way the cars were going. So I had to wait for at least five minutes at each corner for someone to help me to cross the street. It was extremely frightening and humiliating, and of course I was totally drenched by the time I got to my destination. Audible signals would have made it much safer.
Also, in the suburbs now, there are many streets which have a green light for the traffic, then a green light for turning cars, and then a green light for pedestrians. With this system, there is absolutely no way, even with good mobility training, to know when crossing the street is safe. Sighted people are able to look at traffic lights. I believe we have the same right to be safe as they do.
Please support the recommendations in this report.
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