October 7, 2002
I am writing this to express my opposition to the current proposal by the Access
Board to establish regulations regarding Accessible Pedestrian Signals and
Detectable Warnings. I believe the current proposal is to the extreme and for
the most part unnecessary. Blind White Cane travelers are well trained to travel
safely and competently in the majority of environments without such. If there is
a standard developed across the nation, it should be used as an exception and
not the rule. It should not present a dangerous distraction to pedestrian
travel, and it should certainly be cost effective.
Firstly, I understand that the "Truncated Dome" is being considered as the
Detectable Warning. I am a totally blind White Cane traveler, and I have found
these domes of absolutely no value. I have not been able to discover its
whereabouts in order for me to locate the danger. The cost, also, is absolutely
outlandish and unthinkable to have these on a consistent basis across the
nation. In addition, as I have studied this very subject, I find individuals who
use wheelchairs and other mobility aids to consider the dome itself an item of
Other detectable warning devices exist that are cost effective and safe for the
general pedestrian traveler.
I believe the proposed guidelines require the detectable warnings at every
cross-walk. I don't believe that is practical. Any surface with a slope greater
than "1 to 15" (1 inch of rise or fall for every 15 inches of run) or flatter is
readily detectable with or without a cane.
Secondly, the issue regarding "locator tones" for Accessible Pedestrian Signals
seems to me to be extremely impractical. Only under extreme circumstances
concerning intersections should a signal tone be installed. They should only be
used when traffic patterns do not provide the information we need to know it is
safe to walk. Accessible Pedestrian Signals provide no directional information
whatsoever, and the locator tones for such can cause great confusion and
I can't imagine approaching an intersection with a minimum of 8 tones beeping at
the same time, me attempting to read the traffic for my safety, along with other
tones that could be present radiating from a variety of types of vehicles. It
seems to be simply more dangerous and impractical for certain if any type of
standardization for consistency is developed. To my knowledge, research does not
even exist regarding the effect of Accessible Pedestrian Signals with locator
tones for blind pedestrians.
Thank you for reviewing my remarks.
John Glisson, Vice-president: Lexington Chapter
Kentuckiana Regional Group of the Blinded Veterans Association