|October 27, 2002|
I am a blind person person who travels often, sometimes in unfamiliar
cities. I often cross streets, having learned to do so using traffic. I am also
a rehabilitation teacher of other blind people and have successfully taught them
to do the same. It is very possible to teach blind people to cross all but the
most complex intersections without audible pedestrian signals and I believe that
these should be prohibited and, where they exist and some form of signaling
device may be necessary, replaced with vibrotactile signals which can be
activated when needed. I would like to emphasize that, for the most part, even
these signals (the vibrotactile ones) are not necessary and will place an undue
burden upon the taxpayer. For those signals deemed necessary, there should be an
activation device placed uniformly on the affected poles.
What blind people really need is better public transportation so that we can be able to get to work. Money would be better spent in that area. And there would be some returns--people paying back in to the system.
I urge you not to place such signals anywhere without consulting the members of the National Federation of the Blind, the largest consumer group of blind people in the United States. We have affiliates in all 50 states and we stand willing to help you--we know what our needs are.
Thank you for your utmost consideration.
I would like to add to my earlier comments regarding audible pedestrian signals. It is crucial to do nothing to mask the sound of traffic with any audible device. Use of these devices is dangerous to those of us who rely on traffic sounds.
Additionally, tactile warning systems in the form of truncated domes are unnecessary and pose a danger to others--including women wearing high heels, those individuals in the area of, say, a shopping cart which has to be pushed over the domes, thus jarring items out, etc.
Domes are not necessary and a waste of valuable resources. Instead, I would prefer the use of the 1 to 12 ratio when designing curb cuts--thus making it possible for wheel chairs and baby strollers to be easily maneuvered and giving me as a blind person an indication of the location of the intersection (rather than an imperceptible ramp with a greater ratio).
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