|October 23, 2002|
The Seeing Eye, Inc.
Re: Draft Guidelines for Accessible Public Rights-of-Way (June 17, 2002)
Dear Mr. Windley:
As President of The Seeing Eye I would like to commend the US Access Board for its work on the Draft Guidelines on Accessible Public Rights-of-Way and in particular on the sections on Accessible Pedestrian Signals and Detectable Warnings.
I am aware, through my frequent conversations and correspondence with blind graduates of The Seeing Eye, that the many changes in the pedestrian environment and traffic control systems along with quieter cars have made independent travel more challenging for many of them over the last 20 years or so. In fact we have had to increase the training time required of our dogs from three to four months in order to be sure that they are adequately prepared for this increasingly challenging environment.
As Chairman of the International Federation of Guide Dog Schools for the Blind I have the opportunity to travel abroad to Australia and Britain for meetings and consultations with my colleagues in the profession. I have often noticed, in particular in Australia, that pedestrian facilities such as ramps and pedestrian pushbuttons are much more uniform and accessible to blind pedestrians than those I am familiar with in the United States.
I understand that the solutions proposed in the Draft Guidelines would result in a pedestrian landscape that would resemble, rival and possibly even exceed Australia’s. Our commitment to all of our citizens is of paramount importance and should be second to none. Thank you for your work towards this end.
cc: Lukas Franck
Prepared by Kenneth Rosenthal, approved and signed in his absence.
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