Accessibility Definitions

Accessibility Definitions imageAccessibility information – Meeting or Event Notice shall include information on how to request accommodations, including alternative formats or auxiliary aids and services, notice of wheelchair accessibility, and information on whom to contact to make accommodation requests. Please see "Sample Accessible Meeting Notice," and "Sample Accessible Event Notice" below.




Accessible Podium (Dais) – A fixed or mobile speaker or presenter’s table or podium that is no higher than 34” on which a microphone and presentation materials can be placed.

Accessible drinking fountains – Drinking fountain with the bubbler no higher than 36” with knee clearance underneath that is 27” high x 18” minimum deep and a level clear floor area in front of it.

Accessible Entrance – An entry door or gate is a minimum 32 inches clear when opened 90 degrees; threshold is no higher than ½ inch.

Accessible exhibit materials – Alternative formats or services that provide equivalent exhibit information for people with sensory disabilities in a manner appropriate to the program material. Examples include but are not limited to:



  1. Titles of work and narrative using large 14 point san serif fonts on a high contrast background
  2. Taped audio descriptions of photographs/artwork
  3. Tactile replicas of art objects
  4. Captioning of video or film presentations
  5. Trained staff available to provide descriptions or tours




Accessible surface – Firm, stable and slip resistant surfaces, such as concrete, asphalt, wood, carpet, portable flooring etc. Grass, dirt, wood chips and sand are not accessible surfaces.


Accessible parking – A ratio of parking provided for the exclusive use of people with disabilities, located near the accessible entrance to the facility. Note: temporary accessible spaces can be created using signs and cones or chalk powder lines, provided that the minimum parking space and side access aisle dimensional requirements are met (contact the San Francisco Department of Parking and Traffic for temporary signage). (See MOD web site for accessible parking details). The minimum parking ratios required are:

Accessible Parking Spaces

Accessible Parking Space – an auto parking space with identification signage that is 9 feet min width and 18 feet min length with an adjacent 5 feet clear access aisle. The parking space and access aisle shall be level.

Accessible Van Parking Space. A van accessible parking space with identification signage that is 9 feet min. wide, 18 feet min long with an adjacent 8 feet clear access aisle. The parking and side access aisle space shall be level and have an 84 in. minimum clear height.

Accessible Passenger Drop Off – a 20-foot long vehicular passenger drop off area with a 5 feet min with adjacent aisle space that is level and 20 feet.

Accessible portable toilets and sinks – Toilets and sinks that meet state and federal requirements for wheelchair accessibility. Acceptable toilet manufacturers include but are not limited to Satellite and L&L Manufacturing. If one unit is to be provided, it must be accessible. When multiple units are provided, a minimum of 5% but not less than one portable toilet unit and a minimum of 10% but not less than one lavatory per cluster of units. Accessible toilets and sinks shall be located on a level area, along an accessible route with an accessible surface. Ramps to accessible units shall not exceed 1:12 slope, have handrails on both sides and a 60 inch square level landing at the unit door. Please note: this information is provided for situations in which the general public will be using portable toilets. A portable, accessible toilet is NEVER equivalent access if the general public is using in-door toilets.

Accessible toilets – Toilet rooms that are located on an accessible route and contain accessible features including 32” minimum entry, an interior 60” turning space, lavatory with 27” min. knee space, wide toilet compartments with grab bars, and all accessories mounted no higher than 40 inches to the upper most control etc.

Accessible route – A continuous unobstructed path connecting all accessible elements and spaces of a building or facility. Interior accessible routes may include corridors, floors, ramps, elevators, lifts, and clear floor space at fixtures. Exterior accessible routes may include parking access aisles, curb ramps, crosswalks at vehicular ways, walks, ramps, and lifts.

Accessible tables – A table providing knee space that is a minimum of 27” high, 30” wide and 19” deep unobstructed knee space with the tabletop no higher than 34”.

Accessible Telephones – Telephones that are located on an accessible route mounted at 48” from the floor to the coin slot and have volume controls.

Assistive Listening Device – A device that takes a signal from a microphone or public address system and sends it to a personal amplification system. Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) can be procured through companies who provide public address systems (see Resource lists) or through the Mayor’s Office on Disability at 554-6789. All City Hall Hearing Rooms are equipped with Assistive Listening Devices.

Captioned – Video or film program with subtitles reflecting the content of the spoken or descriptive material.

Directional Signage – Signage that indicate the direction of the accessible route when the accessible route is not the same as that of the general public The signage may be directional arrows that include the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA). Directional signage should be places at any directional change that is not the same as that of the path of the general public.

Hazards to blind or visually impaired participants – Pedestrian and participant areas shall be clear of objects (including plant branches and public art) which overhang less than 80” from the floor surface, or wall, and post mounted or freestanding objects that protrude 4” or more between 27” and 80” above the floor or ground into circulation areas.

Portable wheelchair lift – A lift that is not built into the structure but can be available for a specific event. Portable wheelchair lifts can be rented by calling 863-1414 ext.105.

Accessible Seating location - Accessible seating must be situated so those individuals who cannot stand can view the meeting or event over seated or standing participants. Seating for persons who are deaf must be provided in a location near the stage/presentation area with direct view to the stage/presentation location of sign language interpreters.

Seating ratio – The number of accessible seats in relation to the number of seats provided as follows:

Wheelchair Spaces in Assembly Areas

Wheelchair and companion seating – Seating for wheelchair users and adjacent, shoulder aligned seating for individuals accompanying wheelchair users that is located on the same level as that of the wheelchair user.