2006-11-22 What’s a Parade? – Villager

Scoopy’s Notebook


What’s a parade? A hearing on the Police Department’s proposed new rules defining “parades” that require permits will be held at 1 Police Plaza, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mon., Nov. 27. “Of course it’s the Monday after Thanksgiving when people will be out of town,” commented Judy Ross, a volunteer organizer with Time’s Up!, an environmental group that supports the monthly Friday evening Critical Mass bicycle ride that begins at Union Square. The proposed rules would require a permit for any parade, procession or race by 10 or more vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles “or herded animals” that travel together more than two blocks without complying with all traffic regulations. A permit would also be required for any group of 30 or more traveling together for more than two blocks whether complying with traffic rules or not. Time’s Up! and Assemble For Rights, a coalition of assembly-rights organizations, believe the City Council should define what parades require permits, not the police. “It’s an issue of separation of powers,” said Ross. “Police are there to make sure we comply with the law, not make the law,” she said. Moreover, traveling in groups is safest for cyclists, Ross said. “Drivers say they can’t see you when you’re by yourself on a bike, and the proposed rules discourage the safest way to ride,” she said. A recent Time’s Up! study found that it cost the city $1.3 million to police the once-a-month Critical Mass rally, Ross said.