Accessible Public Event Checklist

It is the policy of the City & County of San Francisco that all public meetings and events that are organized and hosted by City Departments and / or their contractors, are physically and programmatically accessible to people with disabilities. This checklist has been developed to assist event planners in ensuring that the facility and event set-up comply with Federal and State disability access laws.

Designated department staff, including Departmental ADA Coordinators, is responsible for referring to this material and ensuring that site accessibility has been verified before the event.


Step 1: Create an Accessible Meeting Notice.
Include an Accessible Meeting Information paragraph as part of each of your notices including meeting agendas, e-mails, and website postings. Review Section 1 of this checklist for sample notices.

Step 2: Choose an Accessible Site or Location
This means you may have to visit the site beforehand and survey the accessible route, parking, and restrooms before you select the location. Review Section 2 of this checklist for accessibility basics.

Step 3: Create an Accessible Set-Up
How you set up the seating, tables, podium, microphones and media screens can make the difference between an accessible event and one with avoidable barriers. Review Section 3 of this checklist.

Step 4: Provide Effective Communication at the Event
There are many features that contribute to effective communication. Some must be provided for all events, while others must be provided when the event reaches a threshold size. See Section 4 for some examples.

Step 5: Ask for Help When you Need It
Your Departmental ADA Coordinator and the Mayor’s Office on Disability are here to help. It is better to ask if you don’t know the answer, then to risk discriminating against someone who wanted to participate in your event, but was unable to do so because of the barriers. See Section 5 for resources.




1. All notices and announcements for the event or meeting must include a description of the accessible physical features and other programmatic accommodations provided on site. It is citywide policy that all sites used to host public meetings must be ADA compliant.

2. All notices and announcements for the event or meeting must include a contact person to request disability accommodations such as ASL interpreters, Real-Time captioning, materials in alternate formats, etc.

3. If maps about the event are provided, they should include the location of accessible features, such as accessible restrooms, accessible parking, accessible seating, etc.

4. If applicable, the notice shall include directions to the site via accessible public transit routes.

5. Notices that are posted on your website or distributed via e-mail must be screen reader compatible so they may be “read” by people who are blind or low vision. When posting the notice as an attachment, use either a word document, or a “smart” pdf , or include all of the pertinent information as text in the body of the e-mail message.

6. Notices that are posted on your website or distributed via e-mail that contain graphics, photos, maps etc. must have those images described using alternative text.



An accessible site starts at the street. It is served by an accessible route that may include parking, a sidewalk, walkway, or ramp. The building entrance itself must be at grade level or served by a ramp or elevator. Whenever possible, the accessible building entrance should be the main entrance used by everybody. When this is not possible due to building age, then the path of travel to the accessible entrance should be clearly identified with directional signage. Once inside the building, there should be an accessible path that leads to the meeting rooms and the restrooms.

Transportation, Parking, and Arrival Points

The meeting or event is located close to accessible public transportation.

There is an accessible loading zone (white zone with curb ramp).

An accessible route is provided from the public transportation stop to the building or facility entrance.

If parking is provided, please use the table below to determine the amount of accessible parking spaces required.  
For every six or fraction of six parking spaces required, at least one shall be a van parking space.  

Example: In a parking facility with 75 parking spaces, three spaces are required to be accessible, of those three, one is required to be van accessible.  

Technical requirements and details on accessible parking spaces are located in the California Building Code here

Accessible Parking Spaces

If the event itself includes transportation, wheelchair accessible vehicles must be available and advertised as available to the public.

Accessible Route to the Building or Site

An accessible route must exist from the street to the event and all event activities. An accessible route is defined as an unobstructed path that is firm, stable, and slip resistant, that connects all accessible features. It may include walks and sidewalks, and ramps and elevators. It shall be at least 36 – 48 inches wide. STAIRS ARE NEVER part of an accessible route. Grass is also not part of an accessible route.

All public events should have signage to direct the public to the location. In the unusual situation in which the main route to the event is not accessible, the accessible route with directional signage must be provided.

Restrooms at the Building or Site

Accessible restrooms must be provided at any meeting site. Where portable toilets are provided for the general public, for every cluster of toilets at least 5% (10% recommended) shall be ADA compliant.

Other Building Features

When drinking fountains are provided, they shall be accessible.

When telephones are provided, they should be accessible.


Seating and Tables at the Event
Always maintain a 36” minimum circulation aisle around tables and seating rows. 48” is preferred and for large seating arrangements, maintain 60” clear down the main aisles

When seating is provided, a minimum of 5% must be wheelchair accessible & include up to 3 companion seats adjacent. Wherever possible, accessible seats must be dispersed at the front middle and back throughout the venue.

When the event includes either captioning or sign language interpretation for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, be sure to reserve seating near the interpreters so that attendees may see the interpreter/captioning, or lip read.

Sometimes it may be necessary to place signs in the areas reserved for those people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, or for wheelchair users, to ensure the seating remains available to those who need it.

Interactive Community Engagement

If a microphone is provided for public participation, it must be accessible to everyone. This can include the use of the handheld microphone or a staff runner.

If a podium is provided for public participation, it needs to be located along an accessible route (served by an access aisle and not on a raised platform) and may require a high low microphone or a separate freestanding microphone adjusted to an accessible height.

An accessible route must be provided up to the art displays, exhibits, and poster boards. They should be positioned so they do not become a protruding object to people who are blind. A protruding object is defined as an element that encroaches 4 inches or more into the path of travel with its leading edge above 27 inches and below 80 inches above the floor.

If food or beverages are provided, the service must be located on an accessible route. Self-service items shall be reachable from a seated position at a table or countertop that is between 28” and 34” high. When dispensers are provided, they need to have accessible operating mechanisms that can be used without pinching or grasping.


Printed materials are available upon request, in alternative formats such as large print, electronic versions, Braille or audio. (This generally requires an electronic version of any materials. Large print copies of 18 point, sans serif font are recommended).

Whenever video materials produced by the City and its contractors are used in the presentation, they must be either open or real-time captioned.

For meetings of 50 or more people, Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are available, along with appropriate signage on how to obtain them at the event. (Check MOD website for resources).

For meetings of 100 or more people, Real Time Captioning is recommended.

For meetings of 500 or more people, an American Sign Language Interpreter is recommended.

An oral description of visual material is available, either through the presenter or through pre-recorded audio files.

The meeting is accessible by speakerphone or audio conferencing.

Requests for Auxiliary Aids and Services & Other Accommodations
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that local government entities must provide effective communication to persons with disabilities by providing auxiliary aids and services upon request and regardless of the meeting size. Therefore, it is essential that public notices for the event include contact information for the individual responding to such requests. It is reasonable to request 72 hours advance notice to ensure availability; however, City departments have an obligation to make a good faith effort to procure the requested services, even if they received the request at a later date.


Additional Features for Events of Over 500 Participants


1. Fencing or other crowd control barriers are placed so as to isolate the work area from the main circulation path.

2. Fencing and barricades comply with SF DPW Barricade Order.

3. An accessible route at least 48 inches wide is maintained at the perimeter of the work area and adjacent curb ramps are maintained open and clear during the event set-up.

4. The circulation route around the work site is FREE of protruding objects.

(Objects protruding 4 or more inches into the circulation route with their leading edges between 27 in and 80 in above the floor).

5. Where space considerations require that a specific area or accessible path of travel is temporarily obstructed during set-up, an alternate safe path MUST be provided along with signs alerting pedestrians of the detour AND staff assisting blind / mobility impaired individuals.

Platforms and Stages

1. If a stage or platform is provided, it is accessible by means of a ramp (with a maximum running slope of 8%), wheelchair lift, or portable wheelchair lift.

2. If a dais or podium is provided for the public, an accessible dais or podium (no higher than 34”) is also provided.



Consult with your Department’s ADA coordinator
Every City Department with 50 or more employees has a designated ADA coordinator who is an individual knowledgeable about accessibility issues or at least has information on how to get additional help. For a list of CCSF departmental ADA coordinators, please visit: ADA Coordinator Contact List (pdf)

Explore the MOD Website
While the Mayor’s Office on Disability website is still under construction, there are some useful resources and links related to accessible event planning. You may want to browse through the lists of City-approved ASL interpreters & real-time captioning providers, partial list of accessible meeting locations, communication tips for individuals with specific disabilities, etc.

Feel Free To Contact Us!
If upon filling out or reviewing this form, it is apparent that additional information is required, or it appears that the meeting or event cannot be made physically or programmatically accessible, please contact the Mayor’s Office on Disability (415.554.6789 / to discuss possible alternative solutions or sites.