The city of Sacramento said traffic plans “ran without a hitch” Tuesday, when the Golden 1 Center opened for the first time for the Paul McCartney concert.
But some say transportation to the downtown arena is far from ideal. ABC10 News viewer Linda Barnard says the Golden 1 Center’s accessibility plan for people with disabilities isn’t going to work for her. Barnard has progressive multiple sclerosis and uses a motorized wheelchair to get around.
“You’re pretty vulnerable at night when you’re handicapped. I usually carry pepper spray, but you can’t take pepper spray into the arena,” Barnard said.
Barnard used to go to Monarchs’ games all the time at Sleep Train Arena, and went to concerts there pretty often. She says Sleep Train had a really good setup.
“They had a special parking lot for people that were handicapped or needed any kind of assistance, and if you had a wheelchair and were close enough, you could roll up to the gate,” Barnard said.
The benefit of Sleep Train’s Natomas location was that parking was readily available. While the Golden 1 Center’s downtown location makes it easier to get to by light rail or bicycle, parking is more of a challenge.
The city has designated an ADA-accessible drop-off location at the intersection of 4th and J Streets. With construction around the arena, the location is currently about a block and a half away from the Golden 1 Center. The issue, Barnard says, is being dropped off alone while a caretaker or friend drives away to find parking – and then trying to meet up in front of the crowded arena.
“You are really vulnerable in this chair. It’s not like I can run. I can’t fight back very well so people in chairs are very vulnerable,” Barnard said.
ABC10 News reached out to the city, which says there will be plenty of security guards and parking enforcement officers around. The city also says the SacPark website allows people to reserve parking spots in advance. There are three parking guards with wheelchair accessible spots less than two-tenths of a mile from the Golden 1 Center.
But considering that one in eight California drivers has a disabled parking placard, Barnard says the few spots in those garages typically fill up fast. As of now, Barnard says she wouldn’t feel comfortable buying tickets for a Kings’ game or a concert.
“No, no. If it was in the daytime, maybe, but I can’t imagine where I’m going to find a place to park if I’m driving and I have my ramp,” Barnard said.