Posted by: gravessack | August 3, 2010

Blue Lines Should Help Wheelchair Seating

When I went to the Twins game on August 1, I noticed something new when I got to my seats in Section 217. There were blue lines painted around the wheelchair sections at Target Field. I asked Chris Iles, Corporate Communications Manager for the Twins, what was going on. Here is his explanation.

Since the Twins added Standing Room Only tickets, they decided to paint blue lines to help the standing room guests know where–and where not–to stand. Apparently, some guests with Standing Room Only tickets were crowding a little to close to the wheelchairs. Also, the blue lines help the ushers tell people where to stand. The Twins have painted the blue lines around all of the wheelchair sections. They were added just before the recent Seattle series.

Matt Hoy, Vice President of the Twins, told me in an email, “The lines were added (over the last couple weeks) to create a boundary around wheelchair seating areas that do not have a physical barrier or railing.”

I love this improvement because I have felt crowded on a few occasions, like at the April 17 game. One guy was clapping and yelling right behind me. I was startling and jumping all over the place. He even startled the person who was with me. I really hope this helps fans give those in wheelchairs their space. This could be one of the accessibility improvements for 2011 that Twins President Dave St. Peter was talking about in an earlier post.

Thumbs up to the Twins for adding the blue lines! I hope it helps.

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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Responses

  1. Good observation Michael–I could see why it would bother some fans in the handicapped sections to have other people too close.

    Yay Twins!

  2. Michael – there’s a lot out there about personal space; it’s highly variable depending on the person, controlled by the amygdalae area of the brain, a field of study called proxemics, etc. I saw one diagram where personal space was 4 feet with intimate space at 1.5 feet.

    Two questions. Does the space created by the blue lines fit your definition of personal space? Generally speaking, would you say that an individual in a wheelchair has a comparable sense of personal space as an able bodied person or would it be different and if so, how and why?

    Thanks for the continued great writing!

  3. JoJo – The blue lines really helps me not startle. I think a person in a wheelchair defines “Personal Space” different from an able-body person. Wheelchair fans just need more space to move around. If a person has a startle reflex, they startle more easily when somebody makes sudden noises right behind them. Hope this helps!
    – Michael

  4. Helps much – thanks! Kudos to you guys for raising awareness around the Refresh Project and helping the Courage Center win this grant!


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