|Paul Joseph Harcz, Jr.||September 8, 2002|
I am writing you today to air my strong support for implementing the Public Rights of Way Advisory Committee (PROWAC) especially regarding detectible warnings and accessible traffic signals. Being legally blind with a degenerative eye condition I can testify to the numerous occasions in which these devices would have been invaluable not only from the standpoint of safety but in simple way finding in new environments. There are many hazardous environments that even the best travel skills cannot accommodate. Moreover many if not millions of newly blinded and visually impaired people in America have travel restrained, as they simply fear venturing forth into the world around us.
I know that the National Federation of the Blind has fought these accommodations for years. But let me assure you that this is one long time member of same who has opposed that stance. In fact the N.H. delegation of which I was a member for more than a decade has consistently voted for resolutions supporting detectible warnings and aps. That has been at national conventions and at state conventions.
Moreover I am also a member of the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired. The ACB has as Iím sure you know been a long time advocate for these critical safety accommodations.
Further, as a matter of equity I have long argued that the built environment must deliver visually transmitted information in either tactile or audio form for the blind. Detectible warnings and aps do just that.
Americaís street corners and roadways abound with visually delivered information such as pedestrian traffic signals. Why should we the blind and visually impaired be denied equal access to the same information routinely given to the sighted public?
So from the standpoint of safety and equity I support the PROWAC without hesitation.
I hope that this letter will solidify support from the Access Board as well.
Paul Joseph Harcz, Jr.
Member, ACB and MCBVI
Member, NFB of N.H., Indiana and Michigan
index previous comment next comment