What sets AT&T Park apart from other stadiums in terms of accessibility? “Dispersion and types of seating available,” says an official of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office on Disability.
Inaugurated in 2000 as the home of the San Francisco Giants, AT&T Park is a stunning feature of the San Francisco Bay area. The 12.5-acre ballpark is home to the trademark old-time baseball glove and massive Coca-Cola bottle, as well as accessibility features that, according to stadium, ensure that no fan is left out of the fun.
“Accessible seating options are available throughout the ballpark in all seating categories and view perspectives,” according to the Giants website. According to the Mayor’s Office on Disability, “Wheelchair seating is dispersed in every category, vertically and laterally.”
Indeed, wheelchair-accessible seating is just as available in the premium club seats behind home plate as in the outfield bleachers. The dispersion of wheelchair accessible seating is notable, and ushers are all required to carry a key to remove seats in areas to allow for a wheelchair.
The ADA guidelines do not call for accessibility at the player’s bench level, nor does it call for a rubberized track to provide wheelchair access onto the ball field itself. Yet AT&T Park provides both, as well as 10 family restrooms throughout the stadium, including the club area. Also, for individuals with hearing impairments, the stadium’s Jumbotron™ provides captioning services.
The stadium has accessible parking in all parking lots as well as an accessible shuttle that transports guests before and after park events approximately every 25 minutes, according to an AT&T park agent. However, wheelchair users should note, according to a Paralyzed Veterans of America member, that without the shuttle they may have to traverse a difficult-to-push wooden slatted bridge to get to the stadium.
AT&T Park was built in accordance with the California Building Code and ADA standards. The stadium has sought to ensure optimal accessibility and has exceeded ADA requirements, according to the Mayor’s Office on Disability, as a result of coordination between the Giants, the city and county of San Francisco, a redevelopment agency, and HOK Sport (now renamed Populous), the architectural firm.
According to the same official, the city was involved in all the stadium planning. An ADA coordinator was appointed a member of the city’s Recreation Advisory Board, which developed an advisory report on the stadium. The city’s ADA coordinators were involved in a peer review process, providing “quality assurance and quality control.”
The city remains involved in ensuring optimal functionality of the stadium’s accessibility features: the Mayor’s Office on Disability responds to incidents of lacking accessibility.
Though the stadium features four elevators that provide access to all levels, they are nearest to the Willie Mays, 2nd Street and Marina gates. Individuals with disabilities needing convenient elevator access would be advised to enter the stadium through these three entrances to avoid longer distances to elevator access.
The stadium’s variety of accessible seating is best observed at the Giants’ website through the 3-D seating chart. The simulator draws attention to the wheelchair-accessible seating areas and simulates the view from the various sections in the stadium.
The thorough implementation of accessibility standards at AT&T Park ensures that all spectators may enjoy a ballgame: no Giants fan can be denied the opportunity of watching a home run powered into the San Francisco Bay—splash!
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Jeremy Diamond is an International Relations & Political Science double-major at The George Washington University.