|October 9, 2002|
Hello; I am extremely concerned about the proposed guidelines which will, as I understand it, require audible traffic signals and detectable warning bumps at all intersections. These are NOT needed.
While there are a few cases where an audible signal may be helpful - an especially complex intersection, and detectable warning bumps may be useful - where the sidewalk and street are the same level; these situations are few and far between.
The current crop of audible signals are a particularly bad choice since almost all of them beep or whistle rather than providing usable information. Requiring them to talk rather than beep or whistle would be extremely helpful. Hearing "Walk east and west", and "Don't walk north and south", is far more helpful than "beep, beep, beep, beep".
Detectable warning bumps are not needed in most places. The only time they serve any useful purpose is when the street and sidewalk are level with each other. The presence of these bumps does not make it safer for blind people, in fact these bumps give a false sense of security because they don't tell you how far down the street is from the sidewalk, or in my case how far down the track was from the platform.
I saw the warning bumps and said "So, I know that's the edge of the platform." I then stepped down to go to my train which was several tracks over and fell. If I'd been using my white cane I would have known there was a huge drop rather than the small one I thought there was.
Detectable warning bumps give a false sense of security, as for that matter do audible traffic signals; therefore they need to be kept to an absolute minimum.
I encourage you to reconsider the guidelines and not believe the "poor pitiful blind" idea that so many people are using to justify these unnecessary warning systems. Rather than spending millions of dollars on audible signals and detectable warning bumps we would be far better served by spending thousands of dollars on GOOD mobility training for blind pedestrians.
Thank you for your time and for reading my letter.
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