Administrative Code Writing Pop Quiz

As we all know, Mayor Bloomberg’s lame ban on smoking in parks, pedestrian plazas and beaches was announced last week to much fanfare.

Turns out they were tweaking the proposed law even on the day of the press release.  You can read the final version here.   The most amusing clause has to do with exceptions to the ban, listed in Section 3.

The first exception has to do with sidewalks adjoining parks- smokers are safe.  The third exception applies to parking lots.  But clause (b) is really what got my attention.  Try to figure out what this means:

this paragraph shall not apply to…(b) any park strip or park mall that serves as a pedestrian route through property located adjacent to vehicular traffic designed primarily for pedestrians to cross vehicular thoroughfares;

A real doozy, right? After staring at it for a few minutes I think I got it.  You know those bridges that cross the FDR to get pedestrians into East River Park?  Those are the kind of strips being referred to.  So take solace, smokers, you can still leave the park to stand above a noisy highway and inhale the fumes of thousands of cars passing below.  It’s a health issue, you see.  And congrats to the staffer who wrote that code, it’s an impressive piece of work.

About Janos Marton

Janos Marton is a lawyer, advocate and writer.
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