Passive Aggressive Las Vegas

For the second year in a row, we attended the annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention in Las Vegas. This year we explored the strip more and didn't go downtown much. I rented a scooter again (I highly recommend these guys, best deal on scooters in Vegas), but avoided buses.

I have to say I was still disappointed even in the newer areas. I have come to regard environments as being passive-aggressive towards persons with disabilities and I find it amazing that 16 years after ADA people still don't get it.

Some examples:

1. The Venetian actually has a sign up at their Guggenheim Hermitage Museum that says it is NOT handicapped accessible. Since the property was built five years after the passage of the ADA, I'm having a hard time understanding how they are getting away with the equivalent of "No Blacks Allowed" hanging on their door.

2. Maneuvering up and down the strip on a scooter met with several complications and dead ends, including problems with elevators up to the overpass walkways that sometimes didn't work and sidewalks to nowhere. I cannot remember which property, but heading south on the strip, I entered one property from the overpass bridge that had a conveyor belt that moved people into the entrance. The scooter would not work on the belt and there were alternative entrances. However, there was no way to open the door remotely at the alternative entrance and I had to wait for the good grace of another person to be able to enter the property.

3. The Wynn was a very accommodating place with staff that went out of their way to be nice to us. But when I tried to use the "handicapped" facility, I found that the door was so heavy that I couldn't hold it open and get the scooter out again. I literally had to block the door open with the scooter in order to keep it open long enough to get out. I think I may have damaged a wall slightly in the fiasco. I don't know how a weaker person would have been able to get out of there.

4. My favorite was the off-strip property called Greek Isles, very near the convention center. They had a nice automated door with an entrance that was flat from the drive way. Upon entering the building, you were in the hotel lobby. The casino was in a recessed area off the lobby that had three steps going down to it. I looked for a ramp and couldn't find one from my point of view. I did see a ramp near another entrance way, so I went back out the door and found that there was about a 6 inch curb that one had to go up in order to get to the door that was near the ramp. There was a walkway from the front door to the side door, but it had big columns that precluded my taking the scooter. There may have another way, but at this point, I was over trying to go there. We ate elsewhere.

There were many other smaller examples of people just not quite getting it right re: design.

Please do not get me wrong. There is plenty to love in Vegas from an accessibility point of view. I rarely had to worry about seating anywhere I went. Most of the places I went were accommodating to the size of the scooter and the size of my body. People are nice there. People on the street were nice there. Taxicab drivers were the only rude people I met for the most part (I think the imported all the cab drivers in from New York and Boston -- honk, honk.)

We're going back next month for fun (two free nights at the Las Vegas Club, so we're heading back downtown). I'll let you know how it goes.

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