Events Held On Pedestrian Plazas
Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:3)
Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule
The Mayor’s Office of Citywide Events Coordination and Management (OCECM), which oversees the Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO), has been designated by the Mayor under Local Law 53 of 2016 to administer the rules governing the issuance of permits to hold events in pedestrian plazas created by the Department of Transportation. As set forth in the Local Law, the designated agency (SAPO) is required to issue rules relating to issuance of plaza permits, including rules regarding submission and processing of plaza activity applications, approval or denial of plaza activity applications, appeals of denials of plaza activity permits and fees for use of pedestrian plazas.
The proposed plaza event rules are designed to maximize opportunities for the public to hold events in plazas while also ensuring that the City has advance notice of all plaza events so that events may happen in an orderly fashion while also ensuring that the plazas remain available for everyday use and enjoyment by the public. The proposed rules will govern all events that take place in plazas except for events that have been issued parade, film or construction permits by another City agency.
Establishment of Plaza Levels by Size and Other Criteria
The proposed rules create four “levels” for plazas to account for the differences among plazas in Manhattan and plazas in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. By creating this tiered system, the proposed rules will ensure that events in each plaza are properly managed and some or all of the traffic control costs associated with commercial and fundraising activity are recouped.
The pedestrian plaza levels will be based on size (square footage), number of blocks, and adjacent uses (transportation, civic and commercial activity). Level A will consist of the largest plazas with multiple adjacent uses, and the levels will range to Level D, which will consist of the smallest plazas with fewer adjacent uses. Larger plazas with heavy adjacent uses have more pedestrians and vehicular traffic in and around the pedestrian plaza, which requires additional police presence to cover events. While administrative costs for plaza events are consistent across all levels, police staffing costs vary based on the size of the plaza and its surrounding uses. Plazas in Manhattan, for example, which have greater pedestrian and vehicular volume, require more police officers to control traffic at and around pedestrian plazas events. Plazas in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, with smaller pedestrian and vehicular volume require fewer police officers.
Application and Permit Fees
The fees associated with events in plazas were determined by calculating the administrative costs of processing permits and coordinating city agency staff and other resources to ensure that events are properly planned, and the costs of providing police officers to provide traffic and pedestrian control. The difference in costs and therefore the difference in fees is based on the need for police presence which depends on size and location of plaza events.
The proposed rules also modify some event definitions to more accurately account for their impact on surrounding areas and to assist potential applicants in determining under which category their event falls and what fees they will be required to pay. The proposed rules also add the definition of Press Conference/Rally/Stationary Demonstration permit to facilitate coordination for these types of events.
Finally, the proposed rule also requires applicants to submit their applications with more time before the event begins to both allow SAPO more time to properly review the application and provide the applicant more time to plan and organize their event. For example, the deadline for submitting applications for small street events is increasing from 10 business days to 30 days.
SAPO authority for these rules is found in section 1043 of the New York City Charter and Executive Order No. 105 of 2007.