17 Oct Venue Accessibility – Accessible Parking
Although complicated, accessibility is far from an unsolvable challenge.
Disabled Spectator is committed to revolutionizing the way people with disabilities, their family and friends enjoy entertainment and sporting events at public venues. There are a number of ways we’re going to achieve this. However, our two primary focuses are on improving the accessible seat ticket purchasing process and gathering and providing venue accessibility information.
Venue accessibility is essential for people with disabilities attending live entertainment events. Without venue accessibility, people with disabilities are denied their right to enjoy music, sports, theater, etc., like their non-disabled counterparts.
Ensuring their venue is accessible is a challenge many venue management groups face. What makes accessibility seem complicated and challenging is the fact that there are so many different kinds of disabilities, thus each person with a disability has their own accessibility needs. Regardless, it’s possible to account for almost everyone’s accessibility needs, or at the very least, provide additional service during events to patrons with disabilities.
One way venues could tackle accessibility issues is by addressing each phase customers go through while attending, and looking at specific accessibility features that apply to that phase. We plan on doing showing this with a series of blog posts.
Today, we’re going to focus on parking at venues.
Accessible Parking – What To Consider
There is a lot to consider when making parking accessible. First, you need to address the entrance to parking lots or complexes. The location of the accessible parking lots needs to be made clear to disabled customers. This can be done via attendants manning the parking entrances or through information available online. There must be clear instructions where to park and how to get to these spots. Attendants should also be able to tell patrons where to park based on where they plan on entering the venue. If there are shuttles or other modes of transportation that bring customers with disabilities from the parking lot to venue entrances, that information needs to be clear and available, as well.
Next, you need to consider the accessible parking spaces. These spaces need to be clearly designated as accessible parking spots. They need to be wider to accommodate vans. They also need to have additional space in between their neighboring spots to allow for more maneuvering. This extra space is vital for vans with retractable ramps or people who use mobility devices such as wheelchairs.
After which, you need to think about the location of the accessible parking spots. Ideally, they’ll be close to the accessible venue exits and entrances. If a venue has multiple lots surrounding the complex, each lot should have accessible parking spots. As mentioned above, people with disabilities should be able to find out which lot to park in based on their needs and where they plan on entering the venue. If the ticket holder does not know where they should enter the venue, on-hand staff must be able to provide that information based on where the ticketed seat is located.
Venues must also consider the surface and distance of their parking lots. Rocks, gravel, dirt, or grass surfaces are difficult for people with wheelchairs or other mobility devices to navigate across. Ideally, asphalt or some other type of smooth, fixed in place material is used. Additionally, parking lot surfaces should ideally be flat, therefore, without gradients or any climbs. If climbs are unavoidable the gradient cannot be steep, or an alternative must be provided, such as a shuttle service.
Lastly, there are miscellaneous services that can be provided, some of which have been mentioned or eluded to above. Shuttle or golf cart services in the parking lot can be immensely useful, especially if there are multiple lots. Ensuring that parking lots are well staffed or have information centers or booths is important. The attendants need to know about accessible parking spots, accessible entrances, seat to entrance location, where the closest accessible restrooms are located, and any other useful information.
As mentioned above, accessibility might be a challenge but it is far from unsolvable.
Check out our previous article about accessible seating in our Venue Accessibility series.