Frederick M Chambers
|October 4, 2002|
My name is Fred Chambers. I am blind, and I oppose most installations of
audible crosswalk signals. The common cuckoo & chirp audible signals are not as
useful as the newer tactile and audible signals. I favor the newer crossing
indicators that provide accommodations for deaf and deaf-blind, as well as blind
pedestrians. The system I'm most familiar with is made in Orange County. I think
it's called the APS, for Accessible Pedestrian Signals. This system doesn't make
distracting bird calls. It does identify the intersection verbally, and
announces the walk signal with words. In addition to telling us where we are,
and which directions are
walkable, it also has a vibrating arrow on the button. Lastly, if the pedestrian wants to mute it to listen to traffic sounds, they can do that too.
Most intersections don't need accommodations, but for those that do, I want the APS. Perhaps the bird call signals work well in dense urban, snowswept permafrost, scortching deserts and underwater environments, but the bird call signals are a very bad idea for San Diego County. We have well over 200 song bird species that live here at least part of the year. Several of them are parrots, mynas, mockingbirds, and others known to mimic birds and environmental sounds. I was almost hit near my home. A mockingbird in a tree near the intersection began making the east-west crossing sound. Several cars had stopped, so it seemed right. As I walked, a big white SUV came blazing through the intersection, huge tires howling, horn honking. It missed me by a few feet. After I was safely across, it was obvious what happened. A driver also got out of his car to explain from his angle. We could both hear the mockingbird mimicking the crossing signal. He asked, "What kind of a moron would install crossing indicators that sound like birds?"
We do not need the audible walk signals at every intersection. Usually, traffic provides plenty of audible indicators about which light is green. A few lonely stretches of road around here have the bird call crossing signals. One of them on Carlsbad Village Drive at Valley is where I was nearly hit.
The extra noise is distracting. That's the main reason why I want talking signals with a vibrating arrow at the few intersections that need anything.
Thanks for your attention,
Frederick M Chambers
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