17352 Federal Register / Vol. 47/ April 22, 1983/ Rules and Regulations

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service
96 CFR Part 50
National Capital Parks Regulations,
Demonstrations In the White House Area.

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comment


SUMMARY: This interim rule withrequests for comments emends 5019of Title 36 ofthe Code of Federalregulation' concerning demonstrations and special e, ents in the National Capital Parks to prrohibit signs or placards on the White Home sidewalkexcept those teat are carried by an individual. The interim rule also amends s 50.19 of Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations and s 50.7(h) of the same title concerning storage of materials in park areas to prohibit the placement or storage of parcels. containers, packages. bundles or other property on the sidewalks surrounding the White House.

DATES: This interim rule Is effective April 22, 1983 and will remain in effect until revoked, replaced or modified by a final rulemaking publication. Written comments, suggestions, or objections regarding this interim rule will be accepted until May 23, 1983.

ADDRESS: Written comments regarding this interim rule should be sent to Manuel Fish. Jr. Regional Director, National Capital Region, National Park Service, 1100 Ohio S.W. Washington, D.C 20242

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sandra Alley. Associate Regional Director, Public Affairs, National Capital Region, National Park Service, 1100 Ohio Drive, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20242 telephone (202) 426-6700: Richard G. Robbins, Assistant Solicitor, National Capital Parks Office of the Solicitor, Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C 20240 telephone (202) 343-4338

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The following persons participated in the writing of this rule Richard G. Robbins and Patricia S. Bangert, Office of the Solicitor, Department of the Interior.

Background

Recent events In the Memorial Coreparks have increased security concerns for the White House and the President On December 8, 1982, an individual backed a truck up to the Washington Monument and threatened to blow up the structure with 1,000 pounds of dynamite that he allegedly had stored in the truck The incident. occurring a merethree blocks from the White House, highlighted the threat that could be potentially caused to the White House the President by one determined individual.

Since the incident, the National Park Service, along with other law enforcement agencies, have reviewedpresent regulations applicable to the White House area to determine of regulatory changes could aid in minimizing potential threats to the structure and its occupants. Two areas of concern became evident in thatreview - signs or placards stationed on the White House sidewalk and parcels, containers, packages, bundles and other property placed or stored on the White House sidewalk and other sidewalks surrounding the structure. (The term White House sidewalk is defined in 36 CFR 50.19(a)(5) as "the south sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., between East and West Executive Avenues, N.W.")

Signs or placards leaning against the White House fence, and parcels and other property placed or stored on the sidewalks, especially those left unattended, represent potential threats to the security of the area. For example, both can potentially conceal explosives or other contraband and both can potentially be used to scale the White House fence. In fact, the Secret Service reports a recent incident in which a large sign wee used to facilitate the scaling of the fence.

In addition to security concerns, experience with the recent proliferation of signs or placards and parcels and other property stationed and stored on the White House sidewalk has demonstrated that the policy of allowing such activity impedes the free flow of pedestrian and emergency traffic by and through the White House and significantly diminishes the White House experience far park visitors. For example, two individuals who have in the past and are presently maintaining a demonstration in front of the White House have had as many as twenty-five signs or placards leaning against the White House fence. In addition to the signs, paper bags, suitcases and other parcels containing personal belongings obstruct the view of the White House and impede the flow of pedestrian traffic.

It is the judgement of the National Park Service that certain restrictions can be placed upon the stationing of signs or placards and placement or storage of parcels and other property on the White House sidewalk which would enhance the park visitor's experience in viewingthe White House and respond to security concerns without impairing demonstrator's ability to convey a message.

Regulatory Changes

To accomplish the purpose of minimizing potential threats to the White House and the President, and for the other purposes outlined above, the National Park Service is amending present regulations to prohibit signs placards on the White House side except those that at are being hand-carried by an individual The regulation, then, is not applicable to other parks where demonstrations are permitted. (Demonstrations are not permitted on other sidewalks continuous to the House. 36 CFR 50.19(c)(1).) .

The interim rule would not prohibit the carrying of a sign or placard during demonstrations on the White House sidewalk. Further, it would not place any restriction on the size of the sign or placard as long as it is in fact being held or carried by individuals interim rule would prohibit signs or placards that are not held or carried by individuals, for example. signs that are leaned against the White House fence, signs that are left unattended on the White House sidewalk and signs are supported by other structures. In fact, the interim rule does not dramatically change the present regulatory scheme - temporary structures are presently prohibited the White House sidewalk under 36 CFR 50.19(e)(8).

The National Park Service3 believes that there is a substantial government interest in regulating the use of signs placards on the White House sidewalk. Signs or placards not hand carried and those left unattended cannot be easily moved. In emergency situations, placards leaning against the White House fence may conceal dangerous materials, obscure the view of law enforcement personnel and create other security problems. For example a sign affixed to a large structure caught fire several weeks ago seriously damaging the fence and granite post in front of the Old Executive Office Building a few feet from the White House sidewalk and fence.

In addition, signs or placards leaning against the White House fence can obscure the view of the White House for the thousands visitors. Signs or placards stationed on the sidewalk also incommode the passageway and sometimes cause difficulty in maintaining smooth pedestrian flow,. which may include park visitors and persons having business in the area.

The interim rule also prohibits the, placement or storage of parcels, containers, packages, bundles or other property on the White House sidewalk, the west sidewalk of East Executive Avenue, N.W. between Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. and E Street N.W. and the north sidewalk a of E Street. N.W. between East and West Executive Avenues, N.W. The rule will not interfere with an individual who is carrying a parcel or other property along the sidewalk. In fact, it will not even subject an individual setting a parcel or other property down on the sidewalk or attending structures for up to one hour to law enforcement action unless that individual either refuses law enforcement personnel requests to search the property, or leaves the property unattended.

The National Perk Service concludes, however, that when a parcel, container, package, bundle or other property is placed or stored on the sidewalks contiguous to the White House, potential security problems are created. In addition the National Park Service concludes that parcels and other property, like signs or placards,, may obscure the view of the White House by park visitors and law enforcement personnel may be difficult to move when the sidewalk must be cleared in an emergency and may incommode the sidewalk and interfere with visitor and business pedestrian traffic.

The National Park Service believes that these minor restrictions on the stationing of signs or placards, and the placement or storage of parcels, containers, packages, bundles or other property serve substantial government interests in maintenance of the securityof the White House, preservation of the park experience for park visitors, and free passage of pedestrian traffic by and through the White House. The regulation is written in a neutral manner such that all persons are prohibited from stationing signs or placards orstoring parcels or ether property on the sidewalks surrounding the White House. In addition, it is unrelated to the suppression of free expression and the incidental impact on First Amendment freedoms is only as great as is essential to serve the substantial government interests in security, aesthetics and free passage of pedestrian traffic. Further, the interim rule applies only to sidewalks contiguous to the White House. A substantial number of alternativeforums exist close to the White House sidewalks where these restrictions, do not apply.

Public Participation

The policy of the Department of the Interior is, whenever practicable, to afford the public an opportunity to

participate in the rule making process. Accordingly, interested persons may submit written comments, suggestions, or objections regarding tbe interim rule to the address noted at the beginning of the rulemaking within the time period specified.

Impact Analysis

The National Park Service has determined that thii document is not a major rule requiring preparation of a

Regulatory impact Analysis under Executive Ordcr 12291. The Nationa1 Park Service has also determined that the interim rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial amount of small entities, and, therefore, does not require a small entity flexibility analysis under Pub. L. 90-354. The interim rule merely places restrictions on the stationing of signs or placards and parcels and other property on sidewalks contiguous to the White House. It will have no substantial impact on any aspect of the economy.

The National Park Service has further determined that this interim ruke is not a major Federal Action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

Lists of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 50

District of Columbia. National Parks, National Capital Parks.
G. Ray Arnett,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.

Date Approved - April 6, 1983.

PART 50 -- NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS REGULATIONS

In consideration of the foregoing, 50.19 and 50.7 of Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations are accordingly amended.

The authority citation for Part 50 reads as follows:

Authority. Sec. 8. Act of July 1, 1908 (30 Stat. 571) secs. 1-3.; Act of August 25, 1918 (30 Stat. 535), as amended. sec. 18. Act of March 3, 1925 (43 Stat 1128 as amended); Act of March 17, 1948 ( 82 Stat 81) ; Act of August 8, 1953 ; 87 Stat 495): Act of July 1, 19808 D.C Code 143. 16 U.S.C 1, -3 ; 40 D.C Code 6-13.(1981); D.C. Code 40-721 (1981).

50.19 (Amended)

Section 50.19 is amended by redesignating paragraphs (e) (8) through (11) as (e)11 through (13) and adding new paragraphs (e)(9) and (e) (10) to read as follows:

(e)

(9) No signs or placards shall be permitted on the White House sidewalk except those signs or placards that are held or carried by an individual..

(10)No parcel, container, package, bundle or other property shall be placed or stored on the White House sidewalk or on the west sidewalk of East Executive Avenue, N.W., between Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.z and E. Street, N.W., or on the north sidewalk of E. Street, N.W. between East and West Executive Avenues, N.W. ; provided, however, that a parcel, container, package, bundle or other property, except structures, may be set down on these sidewalks for a maximum of one hour if it is attended at all times within that time period, and law enforcement personnel are permitted to search the property.


50.7 [Amended]

Section 50.7(h) is amended by redesignating the existing paragraph as paragraph "91)" and by adding a paragraph "(2)", as follows:

(h) Storage (1) ***

(2) No parcel, container, package, bundle, or other property shall be placed or stored on the White House sidewalk, as that term is defined in 50.19(a)(5) of this part, or on the west sidewalk of East Executive Avenue, N.W., between Pennsylvania Avenue and E. Street, N.W., or on the north sidewalk of East and West Excecutive Avenue, N.W. provided, however, that a parcel, container, package, bundle or other property, except structures, may be set down on any of these sidewalks for a maximum of one hour if it is attended at all times within that time period, and law enforcement personnel are permitted to search the property.


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