Posted by: gravessack | March 27, 2010

Power Wheelchairs Must be Protected During Rain Delays

If a game at Target Field has to be delayed because of rain (or snow—LOL), power wheelchairs must be protected. Power wheelchairs absolutely cannot be drenched with rain because water can kill a battery. Unless the Twins plan on having a wheelchair service company at Target Field for each game, the team must have a plan for power wheelchairs in not-so-perfect weather. I know what you may be thinking: Why can’t they just bring an umbrella to the game? The simple answer: An umbrella would only cover the person, NOT the wheelchair.

So, here is how the Twins can solve the problem:

As soon as the game is delayed by rain, there should be rooms in Target Field that fans in power wheelchairs can go into to wait out the delay. We need two rooms like this on each level of the ballpark. In the room there should be tables, chairs, towels, and three televisions. One television could carry a live feed of the crowd getting drenched (it will make the crowd in the room feel like they are still part of the experience!) and another television should carry the live weather for Minneapolis. The last television should carry ESPN or a similar sports station. Those three televisions would keep fans in the “waiting” rooms updated to what is happening during the delay and to keep track of the weather situation. Connected to each “waiting” room, there should be a handicap bathroom.

There should be access to drinks and snacks in the room in case the delay is three hours and rain is falling sideways into the concourse. After the delay and if the game resumes, each fan in a wheelchair (and their companion) should be individually escorted back to to his or her seat seat to avoid a crunch as many wheelchairs will be trying to leave the room at once.

If a battery happens to die, there should be manual wheelchairs available (or good luck trying to push a 500-pound wheelchair through Target Field!). And while fans in manual chairs don’t have to worry about batteries, they should also be able to wait out weather delays in the “waiting” rooms.

By the way, the last day to post your questions for us to ask on our tour is April 4. Sam and I will be taking the tour of Target Field on April 5, with an Minnesota Public Radio reporter accompanying us.

Written By: Michael L. Sack

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Responses

  1. In the initial walkthru of Target Field, I found it to be very wheelchair friendly. There are massive areas for people in wheelchairs or who cannot use stairs on the terrace level, all covered by the upper decks. They even have plug-ins available. They are assigned places and folding chairs will be used for those not in wheelchairs.

    There are places on he upper deck, also protected, as well as places out in the sun for those who wish that.

    There are plenty of handicapped stalls in bathrooms.

    And if push-comes-to-shove, there is ample in-door areas, but being in the concourse, you can always see the Twins action. If I wasn’t attending with my wife, I think I would just walk laps around the ballpark inside, standing and observing the game from many angles.

    There are elevators manned by Twins personnel. Also, two large walking ramps that can take you to different levels.

    You can take light rail to the park, or there is ample handicapped aprking in both ramps, which connect to the ballpark via skyways. I haven’t tested them out for wheelchairs yet, but looks like you will be outfoors between the parking ramp exit and the stadium entrance.

    The major pain of the parking ramps will be the time it takes to get out of the ramp and out of downtown.

    Again, I was amazed at the amount of accessible areas, comapred to the Metrodome where you sat in nosebleed seats, behind home plate, or could get by a ball by the visitors bullpen.

    Yes, you have to pay the price accorded which ever level seat you choose to sit.

    It won’t be until gametime to see just how uncluttered the Twins will keep the concourses, but they seem well laid out and the concessions easily accessible.

    If there is one fault, there might be too many accesible seats and too many wheelchairs on gameday, which can cause some problems for getting in/out, using public transportation.

  2. In one of your post you guys say there is a room for wheelchairs to take a break from the crowd. Didn’t you

  3. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
    And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! 🙂

  4. This is very interesting! Are there any sites you know that report or review wheelchair accessibility in public venues? If so, I would like to make a link to it on my website where I sell medical equipment. I would like this information available to my customers. Thank you for your help in advance.


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