September 28, 2002
I am writing to oppose the aspects of the Access Board's proposed rules
regarding pedestrian rights of way that cover audible traffic signals and
I am a blind person who travels with a long white cane. I live in Seattle,
Washington, and travel independently (without sighted assistance) on a daily
basis, including in unfamiliar settings.
I do not believe that requiring the installation of audible traffic signals
everywhere would be a reasonable use of taxpayers' funds. Instead,
municipalities should be given the freedom to install such devices where there
is sufficient ambient noise that nonvisual cues are not present or where the
traffic patterns involve extraordinarily complex street patterns.
Moreover, detectable warnings in every street corner would be a waste of limited
public funds. We do not need them in ordinary circumstances. Only where it is so
difficult to ascertain where the sidewalk ends and the street begins, in areas
where the sidewalk has been flattened as to be almost uniform with the street,
should they be installed.
Finally, if such audible traffic signals are to be required, they must be
tactile instead of audible in delivering the information. Tactile signaling
would avoid the confusing cacophony of sounds that would be emitted by the
audible traffic signals and would allow their use by deaf-blind travelers.
I urge that you do not adopt the proposed rules as written with regard to
audible signaling and detectable warnings.