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ECCC ’19: New security measures may lead to longer lines and issues for disabled attendees – UPDATED

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Checking in on Twitter and apparently disabled attendees can still use the other entrances.

Big relief!

Emerald City Comic Con is NEXT WEEK! Excitement is rampant! But new security measures at the Washington State Convention Center have just been announced that could cause longer lines – and may also place even more burden on disabled attendees.

You can read all the details here, but basically, as with SDCC and NYCC and other ReedPOP shows, you will not be able to enter the facility without a badge, meaning security lines will be outside, and entrances are being moved and there will be only ONE entrance.

If you’ve never been, the WSCC is hands down THE MOST CONFUSING facility for any con anywhere. It’s literally BUILT OVER THE INTERSTATE, and has two major streets running through it and is effectively a maze of escalators, skyways and corridors that even Dora the Explorer would have a hard time navigating. (I’m great at reading maps and looking at the new layout has my head spinning trying to orient it in real space – but ask me about the tropical paradise atthe WSCC I once stumbled upon! I don’t know if I can ever find it again.)

The one thing I think I have figured out is that the MAIN entrance for the show will now be back near the highway overpass (underpass?), a spot I always found a little foreboding. Kind of not exactly a grand entrance. Will call for badges will be down the road at the Hyatt, so the whole street will be a migrating horde of Fortnite cosplayers.

The changes are so that more stringent security measures can be put in, including metal detectors. You will be spending more time in line getting  your backpacks, fanny packs, utility-kilts scanned so lan accordingly.

Of more serious concern, the lone ADA entrance, will now be closer to the main elevator for all entrants, which writer Seanan McGuire says may make things much more difficult for the mobility impaired as it’s far from the parking garage.

I’ve taken the liberty of making a thread out of this for easier reading so everyone can understand these concerns.

The enhanced security at @emeraldcitycon this year means there’s going to be one (1) ADA entrance, and it’s not convenient to the parking garages. Expect me to be in a lot of pain by, oh, the time I get inside.

The details, so you know where I’m getting this:

emeraldcitycomiccon.com/About/At-The-S…

A larger map of the situation:

emeraldcitycomiccon.com/RNA/RNA_Emeral…

(Please note that the main elevators, which have historically been in high demand by both ADA attendees and vendors during load-in/people with strollers, are all the way over by the new “exit only” doors.)
There ARE elevators by the new ADA entrance, but they are functionally going to be the ONLY ELEVATORS convenient to both entrances, meaning they’re for ADA attendees, people with strollers, and people transporting goods to the exhibit halls.
And while this is on society, not on this specific convention…people are already DICKS about letting wheelchairs and scooters on elevators. Even though everyone gets where they’re going faster if they’re polite about loading mobility devices.
(Load one scooter/wheelchair–two if they fit without risking damage–first, then fill in the space around them with standing people. Yes, a wheelchair user that got there after you might get on before you. But otherwise, DOZENS of standing people might get on before them.)
(Upon reaching your destination, all the standing people get out, bar one, who holds down the “doors open” button. The mobility device and user exits. No one’s toes get run over. Everyone has a nicer day.)
So yeah, this is going to suck like nobody’s business, and while I appreciate and applaud the need for enhanced security, “let’s pretend that the disabled and people who use mobility devices are not a big part of our community” is not a solution.
Signed, an author and comic book creator who is literally booked solid by YOUR PROGRAMMING almost every day of the convention, and now can’t even send someone to get her a soda to take her pills with, because you’ve decided to go for more security than either SDCC or NYCC.

ECCC has THE most diverse attendees of any major US con, and many of them are disabled. I know the elevator that McGuire is talking about and, I won’t lie, I often use it as a shortcut through the maze.

I won’t be doing that this year, and I suggest that if you are ablebodied, you avoid it as well. And if you must use it, the reality is that unless you are mobility challenged, probably you DON’T need to use it, so leave it for the people coming in the ADA entrance.

But, like McGuire, if it means more security I’m all for it. This is the world we live in and safty must be the priority.

At any rate, the watchword for this year’s show is probably “Give yourself plenty of time.” ECCC sells out every year, about 100,000 people by ReedPOP accounting attend, and every year it becomes a more vibrant and exciting showcase for the best of 21st Century Pop Culture.

I’ll be there all four days along with New New Media Editor Alex Lu and our native guide, Jolly Joe Grunenwald. Come say hi to us! And don’t use the ADA elevator!

 

1 COMMENT

  1. ADA access isn’t even close to being the issue for entry. Metal detectors and bag searches and only one access point means you will spend hours outside in line trying to get in. Count on it! I am done. I will not be attending any longer. This was just the final straw. 8 years in a row I have attended ECCC. The new management over the past couple years have made getting tickets ridiculous and while they claim they are limiting scalping, the truth is they are the scalpers now with their resale app and scalpers are still hawking badges all weekend outside. They sell out 4 day passes in minutes and then they resell returned tickets at huge mark up. Stan Lee is dead and so is ECCC as far as I am concerned! Sakuracon forever!!

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