William L. Lewis
|September 21, 2002|
Dear Sir or Madam:
It is obvious that detectable warnings and accessible pedestrian signals cannot be placed on every potentially dangerous location in the country. However, I believe that reasonable men and women can understand the hazards at "particular locations," such as subway platforms, bus loading zones, street sidewalk drop- offs at specific intersections, where traffic and accident risks are greatest to visually impaired pedestrians.
From what I have been reading recently, city planners are realizing that constructing and/or installing necessary hazard detectors and audible traffic lights might best be executed, when individuals, who live in or work in particular areas of town, requests protection against the increasing hazards of vehicle traffic. In a city, there will be only a handful of intersections, where pedestrians request a need for such alerting devices.
Some visually impaired people are deathly afraid of admitting that they cannot negotiate every hazard of life and fear that any safety device somehow demeans their self-esteem. But there are also people who think that detectible warnings and devices are needed everywhere. The fact is that dangers are greater in one location more than others. Trying to solve these problems has not been easy.
We need detectable warnings at places where fast-moving vehicular traffic creates dangers to visually impaired pedestrians, and we need accessible pedestrian signals at designated intersections, as well.
As you know from national statistics, injury and death to non- handicapped and handicapped pedestrians alike are increasing. That danger is directly proportional to speed and intersections that permit almost continual flow of traffic in two or more directions during any color phase of the traffic signals. Furthermore, some cars are nowadays quieter-running. However, Noise from tires and trucks still creates a noise barrier that makes it very difficult to hear a single car approaching.
Therefore, I strongly encourage you to support the PROWAC report which is addressing solutions to these problems.
William L. Lewis
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