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Old 07-27-2019, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Austin TX
8,082 posts, read 4,309,818 times
Reputation: 10099

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Last night my husband and I attended the Spoon/Cage the Elephant/Beck concert out at Austin 360.

I’m currently recovering from a knee replacement, and have a red Handicap placard for use. We got to the concert last night and went to park in a handicap spot in the lot closest to the entry gate and they told us “sorry, all parking here, including handicap parking in this lot, is fee only.” You are either expected to pay the $25 parking upgrade fee, or handicapped people must drive all the way to the other side of the track, park in Lot A, and figure out how to get themselves and their mobility equipment onto a shuttle to be driven all the way back to the very same lone entrance gate where there was plenty of handicap parking.

We asked a COTA rep if we could buy a spot and she said “sorry, it’s all sold out”. ROFL. I lost it at this point. I got out of my car, limped with my cane over to where a Travis County Sheriffs Deputy was doing security, told him what was going on, and he laughed and said “they can’t do that. You stay parked right there”. Meanwhile a very kind COTA volunteer came up and said “they can’t tow your car from a handicap spot with a legal placard. Don’t sweat it”.

So we left our car there, and lo and behold it was still there when the evening was over. We left before the concert was over, and every single handicap spot in that damn lot was EMPTY except for us and one other vehicle. The whole incident left me hopping mad however, so I looked up Texas Accessibility Standards, and not surprisingly, their policy is this:

“Accessible parking spaces must be located on the shortest accessible route of travel to an accessible entrance. If there are multiple accessible entrances, the accessible parking spaces shall be dispersed and located closest to the accessible entrances.”

https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/...fast_facts.pdf

I filed an online complaint with ADA. My point in this thread is to encourage any other frequent patrons of COTA/Austin 360 Amphitheater to not allow their uneducated and inexperienced parking lot attendants to bully you into losing your rights. Profiting off handicapped people is just disgraceful.
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Old 07-27-2019, 09:45 AM
 
951 posts, read 329,900 times
Reputation: 1490
That’s the problem with selling Austin for profit. Zero over site after handing out the permit, which the company paid for, so it’s like the old west without you having a gun to fight with.
If you have a permit, it should be honored without being hassled to pay.
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Old 07-27-2019, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Austin TX
8,082 posts, read 4,309,818 times
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This is just plain greed. I totally get the facility looking for additional revenue streams, but profiting off handicapped parking is about as low as it gets.

I have season tickets for COTA and attend a large number of concerts there each year. That might change if their business practices continue in this direction.
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Denver via Austin
3,765 posts, read 7,055,493 times
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Quite a few of those parking attendants are through a temp agency that contracts with the event coordinator that contracts with COTA. Just enough plausible deniability at each step to “absolve” each link in the chain of shady practices.
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Old 07-27-2019, 12:34 PM
 
5,463 posts, read 2,157,773 times
Reputation: 4196
Wow. That's awful. By the third sentence I was already asking myself (wow is that even legal?) ..I hope they get fined for it.
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Old 07-27-2019, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Avery Ranch, Austin, TX
8,472 posts, read 14,462,598 times
Reputation: 3669
IF they didn't have that extra layer of "hoop-jumping", I wonder how many folks would use Grandma's placard to secure a convenient spot even though Grandma stayed at home.

IF this thread goes viral, don't expect to find ANY empty handicap spots at the next event
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Old 07-27-2019, 01:55 PM
 
6,345 posts, read 7,401,712 times
Reputation: 10911
I was at the concert too. I'm sorry you had to deal with that. No excuse.

I will also say that I hate going to concerts at the Austin 360 Amphitheater. It's a horrible place to see a show. I think handicapped seating is even worse than the parking, if I'm not mistaken.
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Old 07-27-2019, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Austin TX
8,082 posts, read 4,309,818 times
Reputation: 10099
We’ve attended almost every race there since the track opened, and go to 4-5 concerts a year there. I was not aware of their handicap parking cluster until the ZZ Top concert several months ago. I was only two weeks post-surgery and used a wheelchair for that show. They attempted to turn us around at the entrance to the lot and told us we had to park in Lot A and use the shuttle. “How in the hell am I going to get on and off the shuttle with my wheelchair?”, I asked. “Good point” they said, and allowed me to park there. At that time we thought they just had ignorant workers.

Now I know the real deal: they are profiting off the disabled by forcing physical inconvenience upon them. I’m really irked by this. I’m only temporarily disabled; is this what permanently disabled people go through all over?! It took me three minutes to enter the venue from the handicap parking out front; it’s going to take at least 20-30 minutes to park in Lot A then stand (if you can) in the blazing sun in line for a shuttle just to get back to where you started - the venue entrance. I don’t know what they do if you are in a wheelchair.

One bright note: when we entered, they had a guy in a golf cart whisk me as close as he could to our seats. He was there at the end of the night and drive us all the way back to my car! So it’s important to note that Austin 360 is getting SOME things right. I’m sorry you don’t enjoy it there, Carnival Girl; I love seeing shows there myself - the key is getting seats. In my late forties, I am not down any longer with sitting uncomfortably on buggy grass all night. Especially now with a knee implant, and another one on the way.

Loved the show last night. Couldn’t help but laugh though at Beck getting the crowd all fired up talking about “we’re gonna go all night!!!” then EXACTLY one hour later “Thank you Austin, good night!”
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
13,618 posts, read 30,322,458 times
Reputation: 7195
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATX Wahine View Post
[...]I’m sorry you don’t enjoy it there, Carnival Girl; I love seeing shows there myself - the key is getting seats. In my late forties, I am not down any longer with sitting uncomfortably on buggy grass all night. Especially now with a knee implant, and another one on the way.
[...]
I actually really enjoy that venue, as well, but being a bit on the older side, I don't go to live shows anymore unless I spring for the first 5 rows or something. That said, we don't go out that much to live shows anymore, so spending somewhat significant money on good seats isn't as big a deal.

I have found that as soon as the sun goes down, that place is surprisingly comfortable, even in the summer.
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Old 07-27-2019, 09:32 PM
 
1,549 posts, read 1,535,603 times
Reputation: 1661
Quote:
Originally Posted by 10scoachrick View Post
IF they didn't have that extra layer of "hoop-jumping", I wonder how many folks would use Grandma's placard to secure a convenient spot even though Grandma stayed at home.

IF this thread goes viral, don't expect to find ANY empty handicap spots at the next event
It's not that easy. There are ways to immediately identify the ownership of a disabled placard without having to look anything up in a database, and the placard goes with the person it was issued to. It's completely legal to ask for identificationt; you just can't ask about the nature of the disability.

What these people did was obviously illegal and deplorable, but I think most of it can be chalked up to low- wage temporary workers and contractors who aren't familiar with the legalities. Most people likely turn around and leave for the other lot. Thank you for standing up to them and reporting them. As someone with a sibling who has a profound mobility issue, I appreciate how difficult even the smallest thing the rest of us take for granted can be. I hope your recovery is on track and you're back to your usual self in no time.
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