Friday, May 23, 2008

Wheelchair Navigation

I'm keeping a list of destinations and locations that go beyond our expectations in regards to wheelchair accessibility. I also have a list of places that have fallen short of our expectations making our experiences on a family outing go from enjoyable to frustrating.

I'd like to start with a few places in Cincinnati that do a great job.

Of course the Zoo, Cincinnati Museum Center, Freedom Center, Coney Island, and Kings Island do a great job even when you don't call them in advance. They are prepared. Stadium Parking is great if you can find the wheelchair parking that isn't filled. Paul Brown has parking right in front arrive early or call in advance. The Great American Ballpark has a different "accessible" entrance that faces the river. You'll see everyone going into the front door but if you have a wheelchair, you'll be directed around to go the other entrance. It takes a while so if you're running late, add another 15 minutes to get to your seats.

Cintas Center, (XU) is a complete disaster. Basically, you have to drop the person off at a special "handicap" entrance and go park your car because there is a moat of levels and stairs that separate the sea of parking and the facility. If the event is on the other side, good luck.

Taft Museum's only designated wheelchair parking is on slope and there is no room for a lift. To visit the Art Museum, you have to use the back entrance. Good luck finding a parking spot near the back entrance!

At Music Hall, park in front only on Elm Street. Don't use the garages or parking anywhere on Central Parkway or near WCET. Navigation from there is a nightmare.

Good luck finding decent parking downtown Cincinnati because Fountain Square Parking is a disaster and very dangerous. The wheelchair curbs and elevators are not anywhere near the wheelchair parking. If you have children with you, it doubly dangerous. There is a blind spot corner in direct traffic to access the elevators. So if you're in a wheelchair, you're expected to go in the direct path of incoming cars to get to the elevators.

If it's raining, you can't use the Kentucky Indoor Parking lot at the Visitors and Convention Bureau because it's too low for big vans transporting a wheelchair. You'll have to park outside in a front parking lot that also doesn't have wheelchair curbs that take you directly to the building. You have to go a block and use the ramp there while everyone else can cross directly.

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