Go Figure

You probably are fully aware of all the efforts and advocates who are dedicated on half of individuals who have encountered accessibility barriers.  I personally experience difficulties with accessibility as I struggle to get around with the help of a walker and sometimes a wheelchair.

My eyesight is currently not one of my handicaps,  but I have several friends who are vision impaired.   I found it quite interesting to read this story the other day, and absolutely found it necessary to comment and share.  Truly people never cease to amaze me…………….

It seems a bit ironic to discover an article recently published on Urban Milwaukee.Com titled “Wait, Wait, Wait – The city’s new audio crosswalk alerts are annoying –and potentially dangerous.”  Hmm, how so? you may ask.  The article continues on with more specifics regarding both sides of the argument, and while somewhat tongue in cheek, does have certain points.

For example, when those in charge, such as the head honchos at the Department of Public Works were questioned about the devices, it was pointed out that the accessibility feature for the visually impaired is being placed into use by most municipalities, with many cities using some sort of variation of the audible alert.  Many of you have probably encountered the bird chirping or “cuckoo” audible crossing signals that seem to be helpful and not quite as irritating as listening to “wait, wait, wait” whenever someone presses the crosswalk signal.

A few other interesting points were made, including that in the State of California these type of signals would violate the guidelines of the California Driver Handbook, which instructs drivers to “not give the blind pedestrian verbal directions.  A blind pedestrian listens to all traffic sounds before deciding to cross the street.”  This could be interpreted to say – don’t blind the visually impaired because they “look” both ways.  Another idea to contemplate – wouldn’t it be more logical to have the audible warning devices inside the vehicles for distracted drivers whose vision is impaired by checking the GPS device, or email, or text messages? The appropriate response should probably be, Touche!

The visually impaired pedestrians definitely need some accessibility help when it comes to crossing roadways, especially those that contain a lot of vehicular traffic. In defense of the State of California, they have a law that gives any blind or partially blind person with a white cane or a guide dog the right of way at all places and times. So, what are your feelings about the audible signals at crosswalks?


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