|August 30, 2002|
I write this letter to urge the Access Board to exercise restraint with respect to detectable warnings and “accessible” pedestrian signals. These technologies are not universally accepted within the blind community. As a blind person who has lived in more than three states in this country, I must tell you that I deplore the efforts of those who would require detectable warnings and so-called accessible pedestrian signals at every intersection to foist their paternalistic philosophy of blindness on society.
The over-all accessibility movement will be irreparably damaged if the Access Board requires the ubiquitous installation of “accessible” pedestrian signals and detectable warnings. These devices are merely the euphemistic expressions of those policy makers who do not understand how it is that a blind person can safely negotiate the environment. Blind people like me are already crossing streets and negotiating dangerous areas without these unnecessary and worthless technologies.
The cost to society of installing detectable warnings and “accessible” pedestrian signals at every intersection is simply too high—especially, when one realizes that they do not improve accessibility one little bit. Some might argue (I don’t) that they may address some issues of safety, but the public rights of way are already accessible to the blind. Remember that. The public rights of way are already accessible to the blind. Please do not mix issues of safety with accessibility. You are the Access Board--not the National Highway Safety Administration, and as such, your attention should be focused solely on accessibility. 1 simply do not believe the tax dollars that have already been wasted by irresponsible considerations based on false and inaccurate presumptions about the ability of blind people to live and compete in the world.
In summation, I as a taxpaying blind person don’t want these devices, I don’t need them, and neither do lots of other blind people whom I know!
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