Posted by: gravessack | September 1, 2010

A Potential Accessibility Problem in Miami

In April 2012, the Florida Marlins will be getting a brand new $515 million, retractable roof ballpark. The new ballpark will feature a glass window beyond the outfield that will close when the roof is closing and roll open when the roof slides back to make it an outdoor stadium. The new ballpark will have lots of wheelchair seating. But, there may be issues.

When I was looking at the 3D views of the new Florida ballpark, I noticed something different when I saw the wheelchair sections, but it was strangely familiar. In one of the wheelchair sections, there were eight spots with “regular” seats and eight wheelchair spots (a similar pattern occurs throughout the ballpark). If these regular seats are permanent, the Marlins will have some issues. It would reduce the chances of a person with a disability going to see their beloved Marlins play in the newest stadium in the majors.

To get to the bottom of this, I contacted a representative of TCF Bank Stadium, the new home of the Golden Gopher football team here in the Twin Cities, which has the same accessible seating design. I e-mailed Brittany Weir, Operations Manager, and here is what she had to say: “Those benches {at TCF Bank Stadium} can be removed to accommodate more individuals with special needs. When we remove a bench we replace it with a soft padded chair.”

I hope the Marlins are going to do accessible seating like TCF Bank Stadium but it doesn’t look like the chairs can move out of the way at the new Marlins stadium. It may cause a lot of problems – even ADA complaints – if those chairs can’t be moved. I have e-mailed the Florida Marlins about this story, but I haven’t heard from them yet. Stay tuned for their response!

I prefer Target Field’s accessible seating system with every spot wheelchair accessible and folding chairs set a side for those who need them.

On an unrelated note: At the conclusion of its first year, TCF Bank Stadium painted yellow lines around the wheelchair sections to let people know where – and where not – to stand.

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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Responses

  1. I love this kind of reporting. Keep it up!


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