Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Accessibility Review: Rangers Ballpark at Arlington

Parking at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington is easy to find, as parking lot surround the park. Note it does seem that all the handicap spots are in lots marked reserved or passes needed, but they do act as cash lots if you have a handicap placard or plate. The day of the game we parked across from the closed off street near the first base gate, as that is where our original tickets said to go in. This is also the best entrance if you need an elevator to the upper deck (300s), as I will explain in a little bit.

Be careful lining up outside the gates before they open. If you do not have season tickets then you do not want to be to the left because they only would check bags and let people through there if they had season tickets. Besides it seemed only the turnstiles in the middle had room for wheelchairs to go through, which is where we ended up after they opened and told our line they had to move to the center. By the way that was very annoying because just before they opened they had split us off from the center lane and told us to line up to the left. Note that they only cared about season tickets for bag check and did not care if you had them or not for the left turnstile lanes specifically marked Season Ticket. I have a feeling it is based on who is at the particular stations that day that determines how strict they are on it being a season ticket line on the left or not.

Before we headed up to the seats we originally had tickets to in 334 we walked around on the main concourse level a little. We ended up by the 3rd base entrance and noticed an elevator there. The elevator here, however, is a freight elevator, which was kind of annoying to use because of the staff still using it for getting things to concession stands and such, but I guess it does have the plus of being big and not end up crowded even with the staff. We did not notice any regular elevators on this side of the park, but later when we went down to our surprise upgraded seats we used the elevators on the 1st base side and these are normal ones.

The section we had bought tickets for the Rangers game was 334. The handicap seats here were almost as good as the section we ended up getting a surprise upgrade to. However, the view from 334 is not recommended. Even Mik was disappointed as soon as we got to the seats because right field is blocked from view along with the view of the main scoreboard and the secondary Coca Cola one. Only accessibility issue was that there was unfairly no cup holders for the wheelchair spots and only the spots with actual seats. The seats were also not raised that much above the row in front, but there was not a bar blocking the view either.

The seats we ended up enjoying the game from were in section 18. They were pretty much the same accessibility wise as the upper section, except they did have cup holders for every spot including the wheelchair, so Mik did not feel discriminated against here. Not being raised up above the row in front much did not turn out to be an issue for the most part, as the fans mostly stayed seated. However, there was a lot of foot traffic in the aisle, which happened to perfectly block the view of the batter. This was not too bad, but it was annoying that it was often the vendors that stood and lingered in the way until someone would finally tell them to get down out of the way. At most ballparks vendors will usually squat down when serving someone, but here they never did it except the one time I saw someone yell at them for being in the way. Of course, just being able to see the whole field and the scoreboard made a big difference over our original section 334, especially since they often did instant replays of the things we sometimes missed because of people in the aisle.

Overall the Rangers Ballpark rates high middle in terms of accessibility, but it does have some flaws. The parking is easy to find and close. The seats in the lower area do have cup holders, but the upper area did not have them for the wheelchair spots. No where in the park did there seem to be accessible seats raised up above the row in front any more than the normal one step, which really makes viewing games hard for Mik unless it is a very low crowd game and no one sits in the two rows in front of the section. Being a Boston Red Sox game, though, it was crowded and it did make seeing the game hard, but it was not too bad because at least in our section the people in front were for the most part seated or at least quickly got in and out of the row.

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