Make your Shared Space accessible

Follow our accessibility rules to use the sidewalk or parking lane for your business.

If you apply to use the sidewalk or parking lane for your business, you must follow our rules to keep the space accessible.

Maintain a straight, clear path of travel

To use the outdoor space for business activity, you must make and maintain a straight, clear travel path at least 6 feet (2 yards) wide across your entire sidewalk.

This travel path helps everyone use the sidewalk safely. Your tables, chairs, or other furniture cannot block the path. Customers using the space cannot block the path.

You must not block:

  • Curb ramps or crosswalks
  • Doors
  • Driveways
  • Fire escapes
  • Fire Department connections like a hydrant or standpipe
  • Entrance access control systems
  • Sidewalk next to bus stops, blue curbs, or white curbs

Use sidewalk diverters

Diverters help people who are blind or have low-vision understand the space around them. Diverters are especially important during the coronavirus pandemic. They help everyone can maintain physical distance from other people.

To use the sidewalk for business operations, you must install diverters.

Your diverters must be:

  • At least 30 inches high, 12 inches wide, and 24 inches long
  • Solid within at least 24 inches off the ground
  • Sturdy, stable, and heavy enough so they cannot tip over or be blown away by the wind
  • Distinctly visible with contrasting colors
  • Removable when you close every day
  • Flush with the building at approximately 90 degrees

Nothing may extend beyond the diverters at any point.

Have an accessible table

You must have at least 1 accessible table available for wheelchair users.

The table must:

  • Be between 28 to 34 inches high
  • Have at least 27 inches of space from the floor to the bottom of the table
  • Provide knee clearance that extends at least 19 inches under the table
  • Have a total clear floor space of 30 inches by 48 inches per seat
  • Be located at least 4 feet from the nearest obstruction
  • Have a label displaying the International Symbol of Accessibility

You must make sure there is an accessible route to the table.

Safe overhanging plants or umbrellas

Umbrellas must be at least 7 feet (or 84 inches) tall. They cannot extend into an emergency access path, fire escape drop ladder landing, or beyond the approved area.

Hanging or overhead objects must be at least 7 feet (or 84 inches) from the ground.

Cover cords and cables

Cords or cables can be a tripping hazard and accessibility barrier.

They must be covered across the sidewalk or in areas that people move through. The slope of the covering must not exceed 1:12. 

  • Cord or cable less than half an inch high must be covered to prevent tripping
  • Cord or cable more than half an inch high must be covered with an accessible ramp or cable cover

See an accessible cable cover. 

Parking lane access

If you cannot meet these requirements in the sidewalk space, you must make the parking lane space accessible.

Ramps

Provide an accessible ramp that has:

  • A maximum slope of 8.3% (1:12)
  • Raised side rails

Here is an example ramp.

Platforms

If you’re proposing to install a platform in the parking lane for your Shared Space, sign and submit this form with photographs of the structure to SharedSpacesPermit@sfdpw.org.

Your platform must:

  • Be durable and in good condition
  • Be flush with the sidewalk
  • Allow for drainage
  • Be enclosed
  • Have an accessible path of travel
  • Have a wheelchair turning space,
  • Have a wheelchair landing

Streets with a slope that exceeds 5%

If your business gets a Shared Space permit on a street that exceeds a 5% grade, you will receive additional accessibility information with your permit.

The slope and cross-slope of accessible areas must not exceed 2%. In some cases, a platform or deck may assist in meeting slope and cross-slope accessibility requirements. 

You must take the appropriate actions to be accessible and safe.

Outdoor dining safety protocols

See all safety protocols about operating an outdoor restaurant.

Report a violation of sidewalk or parking lane use

Follow these instructions if you see businesses not following rules to use sidewalk or parking lane space.

Last updated October 13, 2020