Roger Church and the Memphis Council of the Blind
|October 28, 2002|
The names and addresses listed in the signature of this letter are the members of the Memphis Council of the Blind and other concerned citizens in the Memphis area. We all strongly agree with the report and recommendations of the Public Rights of Way Advisory Committee, particularly where detectable warnings and accessible pedestrian signals are concerned. We believe that they greatly increase both the safety and independence of blind and visually impaired pedestrians.
A DETECTABLE WARNING IS THE TACTILE EQUIVALENT OF A FLASHING SIGN. It instantly focuses the pedestrian's attention as nothing else can. Blind persons can easily and independently detect the warnings. We find them particularly hopeful at intersections where street boundaries are unclear.
Accessible pedestrian signals produce clear audio tones that sound when the light is in the pedestrian's favor. This information would make it much easier for us to negotiate busy intersections like Poplar and Ridgeway and move quickly and safely toward our destination. In addition, the warnings are essential on approaches to subway entrances. It's a really scary experience when one goes to a city with a subway system and nearly falls into the pit. Unfortunately, a number of blind people have actually fallen in and were killed or seriously injured.
Installing detectable warnings and accessible pedestrian signals will allow both drivers and pedestrians to use our streets safely and efficiently. We urge you to carefully consider all the comments submitted, and decide in favor of saving lives by adopting the recommendations in the Public Rights of Way Advisory Committee's report. Thank you for your time and consideration.
[Attached petition (PDF) includes names of 54
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