Accessibility Policy

Our Accessibility Policy is informed by universal design and the SFWA Accessibility Checklist. While we must work within the limitations of financial and staffing resources, we also work from the determination to see 4th Street expand its inclusivity by serving the needs of our attending members. These policies and offerings are works in progress—intended to be building blocks rather than finished projects. If you have feedback, suggestions, and concerns, please contact us at registration@4thstreetfantasy.com

Transportation:
The city’s buses and light rail are all ADA compliant and accessible—and include door-to-door options. Our hotel venue will provide (with advance notice) accessible transportation between those transportation systems and the hotel.

Lodging:
The DoubleTree Park Place is fully compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Their offerings include accessible and no-step rooms, accessible meeting spaces, assisted listening devices upon request, and the welcoming of certified service animals. Minifridges are also stated to be available in all rooms for medications and personal dietary needs. If refrigeration is required, please contact the hotel to ensure a minifridge is confirmed as part of your reservation.

A complete listing of their accessibility offerings can be found here. If you have specific requests of the hotel, please contact them directly. If you have concerns about their answers, please contact us.

Meals:
The DoubleTree has an on-site restaurant and bar accessible by elevator, and there are no steps to navigate. Numerous additional restaurants are available in a one- and two-block radius. 4th Street will provide all members with a list of the closest restaurants, with notes on accessibility and step-free options, as well as gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. [LINK HERE]

Our ConSuite offers a variety of food and non-alcoholic drinks throughout the conference. Available foods will include gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. We also offer nut-free options, and will ensure all nut-free options are clearly marked, but the room itself will not be nut-free. If you have an acute food allergy, or have concerns about cross-contamination of allergens, please contact us at least three weeks before the conference. The ConSuite is not considered a Quiet Space. If you would like to partake of the food and drink offerings, and also want quiet, you are free to take your food and drink to one of the quieter spaces.

Mobility and Sensory Considerations During Panels and Sessions:
Since 4th Street is a single-track convention, we are able to maintain a predictable and singular set-up to meet the needs of our members.

The front row will be reserved for members with visual and hearing impairments, and for members with mobility issues that require more space and freedom of movement. Areas will also be made available, through the removal and/or arrangement of seats and taped wheelchair / mobility aisles, to accommodate wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobility devices, as well as companions and caregivers.

Members will be able to reserve their seat in those rows and areas for the entirety of the conference, if they so wish. We ask all other members respect those choices at all times.

All our panelists will also have use of a ramp from the conference room floor to the raised platform.

Microphones will be used by all panelists, and available to all audience members asking questions. Panelists and audience members will be instructed on how to use the devices without blocking their mouths while speaking so those who lip-read will be able to do so. Anyone at any time can request a question or answer be repeated.

A crucial element of 4th Street are the handwritten lists of topics and recommended reading materials that grow and grow and grow during the conference. We recognize these are difficult to read from many parts of the room. All those lists will be posted in the meeting room for members to check between sessions and at close distance. Staff members will also be available to aid in recording the entries on those lists.

We do not, at this time, have the financial resources to employ an ASL interpreter for the duration of the conference, but we are quite open to collaborative arrangements and sponsorships that will support our membership. Contact us if this is a need you can meet.

The overhead lights in our conference areas are bright. We have minimal control over that brightness, so please plan appropriately.

4th Street will, admittedly, get loud at times. At most times. We are a conference that makes finding on-site quiet times and spaces rather difficult to create and maintain. Conversations merge, diverge, concentrate, and overflow. We highly encourage and support members who’d like to seek and establish small-group gatherings around the conference programming in order to connect, discuss and debate, and decompress.

We will maintain a designated Quiet Room on the same floor as the conference space. This suite is indeed quiet, and intended to be a retreat from conversation and interaction. No member should approach another member in the Quiet Room for either. All members are expected to respect those guidelines at all times.

Restrooms:
All members are encouraged to use the restroom that makes them feel most comfortable. The quiet rooms have gender neutral bathrooms.

Accessibility Conduct of All Members
The volunteer staff of 4th Street takes responsibility for living up to its policies. We ask all attending members to contribute to our philosophy of inclusion. Below are ways everyone can contribute:
Elevators: Members able to use stairs can leave the elevators available to those who cannot. This ensures all members can move between meetings spaces, rooms, and restaurants with the fewest barriers possible.
Service Animals: Service animals are “on duty” and trained to focus on their companion. Service animals should not be petted, distracted, or offered food at any time unless their companions give specific permission.
Scents and Allergens: Many people are sensitive to scents and chemicals. Please consider using low- or no-scent options for personal care, and do not wear strong perfumes or essential oils in the meeting areas.
Offering Help: There is a difference between offering aid, and assuming aid is needed and wanted. Offering aid should be done politely and concisely, and the person’s acceptance or refusal of help should be considered the final answer.

Be Aware of Shared Spaces: Conversations tend to become highly focused at 4th Street, so it’s easy to focus on the exchange of ideas and not notice your group is blocking a doorway, excluding someone who lip-reads, or has overflowed into a designated quiet space. We ask all members take a moment to look around, to consider those around them, and to move to another space if and when requested. This consideration extends to the hotel’s non-4th-Street guests as well.

Be Open to Feedback: A request for change is not an insult or a judgment. It’s an expectation of equality and exchange of information. If someone makes a request—to trade seats, to provide more space, to hold or close a door—please do so politely. If your offered help is declined, don’t take it as an insult. If you see a barrier that hasn’t been addressed, or if you have an idea to improve an offered accommodation, please let us know.