Committee Reports

Comments on proposed NYC Dept. of Transportation pedestrian plaza rules


The Sex and Law Committee (Katharine Bodde, Chair) provided comments on proposed rules by the Department of Transportation to regulate the City’s pedestrian plazas. The proposed rules would confine constitutionally protected “expressive matter vending” and any tip-producing “solicitation, entertainment or performance” to distinct “Designated Activity Zones” in Times Square. Further, the rules would prohibit individuals from “[e]ngaging in conduct or committing acts that disturb the peace, comfort or repose of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.” The Committee is concerned that these rules – although couched in gender-neutral language – will be applied in a discriminatory manner. Accordingly, the Committee recommended that the rules be amended to (1) take notice that the law in New York allows both men and women to be topless in public; (2) require that the regulations on speech be enforced in a nondiscriminatory manner; and (3) recommend that police officers patrolling pedestrian plazas be trained in public exposure laws and free speech rights.



Rules Adopted