|September 24, 2002|
Dear Members of the Access Board:
Recognizing that you will be receiving many letters with conflicting views about your report, I begin by posing one question to you. Should we as blind people be of one frame of mind? Of course not! we are individual's like any other sector of society. I encourage you to keep this in mind as you wade through the many letters which will try to tell you why blind people do not need special treatment—equal information as sighted pedestrians.
As individuals, we all have individual abilities. Not all blind people function at the same level, including in our mobility.
All people should be treated with the same dignity regardless of disability. Asking for Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) is not asking for anything more then others in society receive. we just want the same information at intersections that will assist us in making informed decisions and allowing us to be safer as we travel.
APS and Detectable Warnings are just other pieces of information that we can use if we choose to use them. I don't want someone else dictating what I need or don't need, based on what they don't think they need. And I don't think that another blind person has the right to deny me or anyone else the freedom of moving through the streets of this country, or questioning my independence because I want to know when the "walk" sign is activated.
I commend the Access Board in it's efforts to move forward in a positive way, attempting to level the playing field for those of us with disabilities. Change never comes easy, nor without some opposition Yet, it is change that continues to grow the United States into the strong country that it is.
I dream of the day when we take Accessibility at traffic signals for granted as though they have always been there, Just like brail, cassettes or computers.
As a totally blind traveler using a guide dog or cane, I recall a few close calls I've had with traffic. Believe me, flesh and metal don't mix.
So please listen to your hearts and your common sense and support all ways that foster a safer environment for all pedestrians.
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