October 28, 2002
Finding solutions to problems is a very laudable venture. However, creating a
problem in the guise of solving one where none exists in the first place is
absolutely inappropriate, and a total waste of human, financial and material
resources which could be more beneficially utilized elsewhere. This holds true
on the question of accessibility or "right of way". Without any doubt, the
question of access is of great importance to all, and more especially to people
with disabilities, including the blind. However, making general assumptions
without carrying out appropriate studies to assess, evaluate and determine real
need, with the full and active participation of target groups would be
tantamount to prescribing the wrong medication for the wrong patient.
For instance, assuming that audible pedestrian signals should be placed at all
major intersections to help blind pedestrians would be utterly misguided if such
an assumption is not supported by evidence of a felt need for such a provision
in a given area. Even in the event of such a fixture being deemed necessary, the
question of type of fixture and precise location should be taken into serious
In otherwords, the question of accessibility has to be viewed primarily from the
point of view of the target group(s), with respect to what type of device or
structure may be deemed necessary, and where and how it could be appropriately
located without creating any obstruction for anyone.
It would therefore be most advisable for the Access Board to carefully examine
and seriously consider all the ramifications of erecting structures or placing
devices where they may prove to be a liability rather than an asset to enhance
accessibility for persons with disabilities.