Make your event set-up accessible

Understand how to set up your event so that everyone can access everything your event has to offer.

Paths of travel

  • The circulation route around the work site or setup area must be FREE of protruding objects. A protruding object sticks out 4 inches or more into the path of travel with its leading edge above 27 inches and below 80 inches above the floor.  

  • Maintain an accessible route at least 48 inches wide around the outside of the set-up area.  

  • Keep all adjacent curb ramps open and clear during the event set-up, the event, and break down. 

  • Place fencing or other crowd control barriers in a way that does not block paths of travel. 

  • Fencing and barricades must be compliant with SF DPW Barricade Order. If you must temporarily block an accessible pathway, you must provide a safe, accessible alternative route and mark it clearly with accessibility signage. A staff member must stand by to provide verbal Instructions. 

View printable signage resources here.


  • Always maintain at least a 36” circulation aisle around tables and seating rows. 48” is preferred, and for large seating arrangements, maintain 60” clear path down the main aisles. 

  • When providing seating, at least 5% must be wheelchair accessible. Each wheelchair accessible seat must have at least one companion seat next to it, or more if possible. 

  • Whenever possible, disperse accessible seats at the front, middle, and back throughout the venue. 

  • If your event includes captioning or sign language interpretation, reserve seats close by, with a clear view for people who need these services. 

  • Place clear signs in these areas that say “Reserved for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing,” or “Reserved for wheelchair users,” and “Reserved for companions.” 

View signage resources here.

View a quick guide to accessible seating

Performance areas

Speakers and performers with disabilities need access to stages or performing areas. It is not acceptable or safe to carry a person with a disability up steps, unless it is an emergency. If you are providing a stage or platform for the public, it must be accessible by a ramp (with a maximum running slope of 8%), wheelchair lift, or portable wheelchair lift. If an existing ramp is steeper than the ADA Standards, trained staff should help people as needed to prevent accidents.

Ramps must have a width of a minimum of 36 inches with this measurement starting on the inside of the handrails. The height of the ramp runs must not exceed 30 inches. Level landings at the beginning and end of every ramp are required. Changes in level greater than ¼ of an inch are not permitted. 

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

View more information on temporary ramps and wheelchair lifts here. 

View here more information on changes in surface level  

Lines of sight for a clear view

People in wheelchair spaces must have a clear viewing of the screen, performance area, playing field, or other showing. Where spectators have lines of sight over the heads of spectators seated in the first row in front of their seats, spectators seated in wheelchair spaces must also have lines of sight over the heads of seated spectators in the first row in front of wheelchair spaces.

View more information on lines of sight

Last updated May 12, 2023