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Author Topic: Disabled Access for convention  (Read 2645 times)

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NetBelleAnie

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Disabled Access for convention
« on: March 21, 2015, 09:09:45 PM »

I had discussed with other members of Con Ops about the use of a department or sub-section of the site for general information for those of us with Disabilities.  I use an electric mobility scooter because of knee pain, and I know I am not the only one wandering around con having many issues because of my disability: elevator right-of-way, line access, etc.  Going up to booths in Dealer's and Artist Alley is always a joyful event since people pile around and usually don't listen to people saying "excuse me can I please get through".  For example: when people were leaving the Fairmont after a large panel, I had to wait about 20 minutes just to use the elevator to go down one floor because no one would leave the elevator and walk down one set of stairs, and that was only after begging some people to get out of the elevator.  If we had one staffer there at the elevators to remind attendees to be mindful of those of us who physically cannot use stairs, it would be most helpful.   Also rerouting some lines to make them handicapped accessible would make things run smoother, since waiting in an hour line for an event like Swap Meet then being told at the door to take more time to go around and find a ramp isn't fair. since it makes the disabled wait time even longer.
As a Staffer, I think we should come up with a Disability access sheet, maybe even having some Rovers trained to assist at elevators, walkways, etc.  While some people won't want the extra help, those of use who do would be greatly appreciative.
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ewu

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Re: Disabled Access for convention
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2015, 03:08:12 PM »

Hi!

We have staff dedicated to evaluating the access needs of our members. Please email me at the address listed in my signature and I can direct your ideas and concerns to the appropriate place.

Thanks!
Eric
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JCS

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Re: Disabled Access for convention
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2015, 05:49:23 PM »

I had worked and volunteered with mobility impaired people in the past some using wheelchairs and walkers and I am familiar with the accessibility challenges some places pose for these individuals.While the San Jose Convention center is pretty accessible in terms of wide flat walkways, wide doorways, elevators, accessible toilets with wide entry and exit ways, and step free concourses there are still issues such as long ways to get around certain floors, steep ramps, etc and the issues you mentioned. One thing that bugs me is the city made the convention center less accessible after the renovation they did at 2013 such as destroying the wide accessible "curbless" passenger loading zone and adding steps to the front of the center just to make it look nicer on the outside. Now cars and city buses have to jostle for the curb space. 

While I haven't gone with mobility impaired people to the convention center I am pretty familiar with this convention center's lay out as I had visited it quite often for different events including Fanime. I also stayed in hotels where there are large events that tie up the elevators and learned some tricks of the trade to beat the congestion. These tricks would greatly help mobility impaired and everyone else with the elevator girdlock which we all dread to face and can apply to most large events involving hotels. For example I learned the second level of a hotel is the worst place to wait for an elevator as the elevator will almost certain to be full in both directions and will often skip the floor all together. Fortunately at this Con we have a good alternative available nearby which are the three elevators in the convention concourse as those elevators only serves two or three floors max(not 17 floors)so it always empties out when it reaches the first or second main floors. The distance of those elevators are not too far from the Fairmont which is directly connected in the second level and having a power chair or electric scooter helps.
If you happen to be staying in the hotel itself and have trouble getting on an elevator to and from your room, the best way to get an elevator up to your room is to get to the lobby elevator landing floor(via the three convention elevators if necessary) where the elevator would release the descending passengers allowing you to get in afterwards with others going up. When heading down from your room floor, if the down elevator continues to arrive packed or wont stop the other option is to get on an "up" elevator and ride back down. If all possible I recommend requesting an accessible room on a higher floor which makes it much easier and many cases faster to get on a elevator down with plenty of room left to spare. From my past experience its nearly impossible to get on a down elevator from the lower 40% of the floors of a hotel at "rush" hours as the elevators become overloaded by then and either they will skip the floor or be too full to fit any more people.

Other tips I recommend for event goers is that the entrance from Market street is the easiest one to get in particularly if one cannot walk far as it is closest to where most activities are occurring and have no slopes or steps and one avoids most crowds that usually tie up the San Carlos main entrance which has a lot of obstacles and steps. The Almadon entrance has steps and a steep slope.  As for Dealers hall and Artists Galley the best advice I have is to head early probably when the people line up to get in or go during the first weekday of the event. As for the game room the least crowded hours are 5-10 AM, its the best time to experience all those neat games without waiting for others to finish playing. Though I hope they make clear announcements before they change the entrance and exit patterns and post clear signs I can see this would be very difficult for people who are mobility impaired as the "entrance" and the "exit" is very far apart and a mistake would mean a 1/5 mile track.  I Hope my advice helps.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2015, 09:32:06 PM by JCS »
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trickstersgambit

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Re: Disabled Access for convention
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2015, 05:44:07 PM »

It's probably not viable or policeable but perhaps we can have one elevator in each hotel attached to the convention (hilton/Marriott/Fairmont) designated specifically for disabled people.

There was a request by some people in chairs and on canes and suffering clausterphobia:
  • Disabled shopping hour for the dealer hall and artist alley at the beginning and end of each day both halls are open.
    Reason: The halls are both too crowded for people to get through with chairs and other disabilities. They get crowded away from stalls, ignored completely, walked in front of when they're plainly waiting to get to the table.
  • A wheel chair/disabled section for exhibitions at the black and white ball.
    Reason: It was nearly impossible to be able to see the exhibition. Further a person in a wheel chair was asked by an attendee to leave the dance because 'the chair is a hazard'.
  • Adaptive dance lessons for the black and white ball.
    Reason: Wheel chair bound attendees want to be able to dance too.
  • Perhaps a secondary badge for disabled people to hang behind the first to allow for priority positions in the lines, help getting into and out of panels and elevators, featuring emergency contact information and a number to call in case of problems with other attendees (RE: Inability to get on elevators, being told to leave the dance, being crowded or treated rudely ect)
  • Day zero at con badge pick up for disabled attendees.
    This should already be a thing but people who were disabled at con purchasers were turned away on day zero at reg. I'm not sure what was going on there but that's a problem that needs to be handled.
  • Nursing staff or train rovers/staff to be able to handle emergencies. This helps emt's, it also helps attendees.
  • Sensitivity training/How to help with a seizure/how to treat a person with a mobility device/how to help someone having a panic attack
  • Clear information that mobility challenged or disabled individuals are to be given priority posted in the guidelines/con books
  • Limit disabled staff's required/scheduled hours
  • Move panels back to the convention center.
    Reason: Even with the shuttle the fairmont is too far away for most people in chairs or on canes. Further getting onto the shuttle when you're disabled is next to impossible. They get crowded out and the wheel chair accessible shuttle doesn't come around near enough for the other parts of the convention to be accessible.

I've been attending fanime for years, and working as staff. I attend with a group of disabled individuals. This year was the hardest for us yet. I had a seizure at con. My roommate had panic attacks, and wasn't able to get to tables, and was treated poorly by other attendees, and the line to get into dealer's hall was ridiculously long. Too long for my disabled friend who was on a cane.

SJCC is big enough to host all the panels. There are plenty of rooms in the convention center and hotels that we COULD use, but aren't. I don't see why we don't use them.

[There was also a request that we perhaps trade the dance and artist alley, or move artist alley back to the tent in order to allow for a less clausterphobic environment. I'll be encouraging the requester to mention it in the feedback form when it comes out, and possibly repeating it at the staff picnic but that's where I stand as of this moment.]

Mod edit: its called a dance
« Last Edit: January 09, 2016, 06:24:34 PM by ewu »
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Dajoo

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Re: Disabled Access for convention
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2015, 11:48:52 PM »

The Dealers Hall allows handicap access for disabled attendees at any of the exits. Further details will be posted on our website closer to FanimeCon 2016.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 03:50:39 AM by Dajoo »
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Sunara Ishi

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Re: Disabled Access for convention
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2015, 12:15:30 AM »

@trickstersgambit:
I applaud you guys coming out to con. And I'm sorry for the intolerance you dealt with.

I also noticed that the over-crowding was really hard on disabled attendees. Especially at Swap Meet. I don't know how many times I turned around and almost ran into someone in a wheelchair or had to stop someone from doing the same. And I agree that the panels are a little too far away.

I'm not entirely certain that all the rooms aren't being used; I think some may just not be open to non-staff or are being used by non-convention related stuff? However if they are empty, I think the con should use that space.

I hope that they can figure something out for you peeps and that you'll have a better time next year.

Apparently, they are trying something different this year and not doing the normal form. Instead they have a thread here:
http://forums.fanime.com/index.php/topic,20228.0.html
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Steve.Young

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Re: Disabled Access for convention
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2015, 05:02:22 PM »

Just as an FYI...there aren't that many rooms that are empty and aren't being used in one respect or another. We fill a lot of things...that being said... we're going to try to move things around and see what works better to maximize the space that we DO have as we feel things are being underutilized.
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AngelWings

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Re: Disabled Access for convention
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2015, 08:50:50 AM »

@trickstersgambit

Day zero is a day for preregistration pickup only. This means that we are not set up to accept any payments for memberships from anyone. This is likely the reason they would have been turned away. There are issues surrounding changing that but I will bring this concern to our head's attention. The other reason they may have been turned away would have been if they arrived outside of the posted hours.

During day 1-4 those who are disabled may utilize the special registration booth if they so choose. And it will be necessary for them to head there if they have specialized circumstances.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 03:23:14 PM by AngelWings »
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le_momo

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Re: Disabled Access for convention
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2015, 06:54:56 PM »

  • A wheel chair/disabled section for exhibitions at the black and white ball.
    Reason: It was nearly impossible to be able to see the exhibition. Further a person in a wheel chair was asked by an attendee to leave the dance because 'the chair is a hazard'.
  • Adaptive dance lessons for the black and white ball.
    Reason: Wheel chair bound attendees want to be able to dance too.

We already have adaptive lessons in the works for next year thanks to a couple amazing staffers who got certified for it this year! :)

Having a special section during the demonstrations is a wonderful idea. I'll make a note of it and see how we can do that for future years! I did hear about that unfortunate situation from my staff who handled it, so we will be taking extra measures to make the Ball accessible to absolutely everyone.

Thank you for your feedback!
- Rebecca
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trickstersgambit

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Re: Disabled Access for convention
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2015, 09:55:06 AM »

@trickstersgambit

Day zero is a day for preregistration pickup only. This means that we are not set up to accept any payments for memberships from anyone. This is likely the reason they would have been turned away. There are issues surrounding changing that but I will bring this concern to our head's attention. The other reason they may have been turned away would have been if they arrived outside of the posted hours.

During day 1-4 those who are disabled may utilize the special registration booth if they so choose. And it will be necessary for them to head there if they have specialized circumstances.
Thanks. No one was told about that so they'll know for next year. My main concern is making sure there's some identifier for disabled attendees and staff so we're not stuck in long lines, or if we DO get to get help into panels or halls or what have you, people don't get as salty about us passing in.
[Thank you for the reply on the other thread, too. I really do appreciate that information.]
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AngelWings

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Re: Disabled Access for convention
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2015, 05:04:25 PM »

@trickstersgambit

Day zero is a day for preregistration pickup only. This means that we are not set up to accept any payments for memberships from anyone. This is likely the reason they would have been turned away. There are issues surrounding changing that but I will bring this concern to our head's attention. The other reason they may have been turned away would have been if they arrived outside of the posted hours.

During day 1-4 those who are disabled may utilize the special registration booth if they so choose. And it will be necessary for them to head there if they have specialized circumstances.
Thanks. No one was told about that so they'll know for next year. My main concern is making sure there's some identifier for disabled attendees and staff so we're not stuck in long lines, or if we DO get to get help into panels or halls or what have you, people don't get as salty about us passing in.
[Thank you for the reply on the other thread, too. I really do appreciate that information.]

I'm glad I could be of help and I will say that I am sorry your group ran into so many issues at the convention. 
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