ESPN crew blocks accessibility parking spots

WSU Access Center advisor says they were not notified about new crew layout



An elevated view shows the blocked ramp, as well as the metal barricades set up around vehicles and equipment in the disability parking area.

JAKOB THORINGTON, Former Evergreen reporter

Accessibility parking spaces have been blocked by ESPN’s production crew for the WSU football game against UCLA this weekend.

The crew has set up along Troy Lane in between the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and Wilson-Short Hall, using up the entirety of the parking spaces in that area. The area contains seven accessibility spaces.

WSU Access Adviser Davi Kallman said the Access Center was not notified by WSU Transportation Services that ESPN was going to use the parking spaces. The director of the Access Center has reached out to transportation services, Kallman said.

Shawn Deeds, senior associate director of Athletics Capital Projects, Events & Facility Ops, said the crew’s parking has been organized in a new layout this year. Production crews from ESPN or FOX parked just in front of the museum near the entrance in the past, Deeds said.

He said the museum requested the parking layout to be changed. The location was changed to its current spot after coordinating with Pullman fire marshals, museum organizers, the CUB and WSU Transportation Services.

Other accessibility spaces in the area are located toward the back of Wilson-Short Hall, further down the hill on Troy Lane.

Deeds said it is hard to predict how much space production crews will take when they arrive to campus. Different crews come each time with different amounts and sizes of vehicles. The new layout served as an experimental test-run for the first time ESPN came to campus this year, he said.

“Sometimes we don’t know what’s happening until the day they come,” he said.

Deeds saw the crew was using the spaces last night and asked transportation services if that was the plan, he said.

“They said yes,” he said.

A sign marking a reserved parking spot for those with disability permits is seen behind a metal barricade.

Deeds said he did not mean any harm by letting ESPN use the accessibility spaces.

“Events like this create havoc around the CUB unfortunately,” he said. “Pedestrians are almost getting hit in this area when drivers come up.”

He said the area next to Wilson-Short Hall just across Troy Lane can be converted to accessibility parking during events like this, but was not sure why it didn’t happen this week.

“Going forward, it will be in our notes,” he said. “I want to accommodate and make this spot as user-friendly for everyone — I’m always looking to improve this spot.”

Caution tape and cones with signs that read “reserved” facing the opposite way block the ramp, limiting accessibility.

He said this is not an issue when big production crews like ESPN and FOX are not on campus. The Pac-12 Network uses the service lot  east of the museum, which is not accessible for parking. Sometimes they set up in areas Deeds does not want, but it is hard to turn away groups that offer the university free advertising, he said.

“These companies give the university a massive amount of exposure,” he said. “Do we want to turn down ESPN?”

WSU Transportation Services could not be reached for a comment at this time.

We’ll update this story as we get more information.