In the more than two years since Target Field hosted its first game, there has not been many potentially dangerous accessibility issues. But when my uncle and I attended the May 12 Twins game, we both spotted an unfortunate incident that could easily be fixed. For safety concerns, Minneapolis should consider making some changes to the Target Field drop-off/pick-up zones.
Target Field has two ADA drop-off/pick-up zones on 7th Street to provide easy access to fans with disabilities. There has been some problems spotted in these zones. Sometimes there is a person supervising these areas, but that person doesn’t always seem to be there. At both zones, fans have to step down a curb to get into a vehicle. Since 7th Street sees a lot of traffic, fans seem to feel that they need to rush. Rushing, a sizable curb, not enough zone supervisors, and a large number of people being transported creates potentially hazardous conditions.
After that night game on May 12, we saw two people trip and fall on the concrete pavement when trying to get into their vehicles. The first person fell hard and was shaken. No officer or Twins employee came to her aid immediately, so my uncle helped her up and guided her into the car. Moments later, my uncle saw another fan fall to the ground while transferring into another vehicle. My uncle has seen these kind of very preventable incidents before where fans needed assistance at the drop-off/pick-up zones. These falls can cause minor to severe injuries (cuts, bruises, breaks or even head injuries) that could require hospitalization. In addition, people with disabilities are at greater risk for a fall and have a more difficult time coping with a fall.
Kevin Smith, Twins Executive Director of Public Affairs, said that the drop-off/pick-up zones is “a public street under the control of Minneapolis Traffic Control.” Smith also mentioned that the Twins “have police officers and security guards patrolling the entire Target Plaza area and they would assist, but there is no specific monitoring of the area, which is consistent with all such drop areas in the city.” The Twins do offer wheelchair service to those who need it and can take fans from their seat to the pick-up areas after games or the other way from the zones to their seat before games.
Changes could easily be made to prevent problems with the drop-off/pick-up zones. One or two supervisors should be at each zone before, during and after each Twins game in case fans stumble or fall, need help getting into vehicles or assistance moving medical equipment. Also, each of the zones by Gates 14 and 29 should be monitored by surveillance cameras so Twins personnel can review what is happening in the zones. These small steps could provide the help fans need in transferring in and out of vehicles. I hope the City of Minneapolis considers using these proposed changes to enhance the safety of fans.
Have you noticed any incidents at the 7th Street ADA zones?
Written by: Michael L. Sack