Pimlico a disaster for disabled

June 03, 2013

Ever since I saw Eliza Doolittle at the horse race in "My Fair Lady," I dreamed of experiencing a horse race. I decided this year would be the time to see the Preakness. As the day got closer, I got excited about participating in this event. What hat to wear? The drive there proved rather simple, it was what transpired upon my arrival that proved disheartening and disastrous.

Handicapped parking is at a premium. The more you're willing to pay, the closer you get to the race track entrance. This turns the concept of handicapped parking on its head. Wasn't it meant to provide close and easy access to the entrance of a building? Finding even the cheapest handicapped parking was troublesome, lots weren't labeled and staff just told you to keep on moving down the road. Unless you parked in the premium lot, locating the grandstand entrance wasn't a simple task and, once found, the glass door entrance inside was on an upward slope making it arduous to try opening the door and pushing up at the same time.

Staff was insensitive to my situation. Where was an automatic door? I assumed all the restrooms would be accessible. Wrong! The closest one to my seating wasn't accessible. The only one accessible was on the other side of the concourse and was upstairs requiring the use of the elevator that was hidden from view. Nothing was marked to direct you to the accessible restroom. For such a huge area that the concourse main level encompasses, it's reasonable to assume there would be more accessible restrooms. The concept of accessibility must be foreign to the management of Pimlico. To reach my "accessible" seating to the apron box, one must ascend a steep slope which was dangerous coming down. My encounter with Pimlico left me bewildered as to how the Americans with Disabilities Act got overlooked by such a large and well-known site.

My Preakness dream was unfulfilled. I guess Orb and I had a similar experience.

Patricia Laird, Crofton

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