Sidewalk sheds and scaffolding are important when it comes to keeping New Yorkers safe from falling debris and equipment near NYC construction sites, but if there’s one thing we know about scaffolding it’s that it’s an eyesore. And, unfortunately, when scaffolding goes up in NYC it can take months, sometimes even years, for it to come down.
Thankfully this new plan is setting out to change that.
Unveiled by Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and City Council Member Keith Powers, a new plan dubbed the “Shed the Shed” plan will streamline and expedite building façade work in order to make it possible for scaffolding to come down faster.
The plan involves several strategies aimed at ensuring scaffolding comes down as quickly as safely possible, including:
- Providing support for buildings who need help getting work done quickly
- Reducing delays caused by permitting requirements and disputes with neighboring properties
- Holding buildings accountable for failure to complete façade work in a timely manner
- Updating Local Law 11 inspection regulations and reform design standards
- Extending Local Law 11 compliance cycles in certain instances
The use of scaffolding remains essential in NYC, especially with all the construction constantly going on, however those that stay up for too long can have a negative impact on local businesses and neighborhood quality of life.
On average, sidewalk sheds and scaffoldings are on city streets for 498 days, and there are 230+ current scaffoldings that have been up around the city for over five years.
“Scaffolding in NYC is a good idea run amok. In Manhattan alone there are 4k+ of these sidewalk sheds. Some have been up for years, creating a blight in many neighborhoods. Today we’re releasing a plan to rein this in,” said Levine in a tweet.
The plan, hopefully, will decrease the lifespan of scaffolding through various proposals, including providing low-interest loans to buildings struggling to complete façade work, expediting façade permitting processes, creating a program to assist tenants who suffer from long-term scaffolding deployment, and allowing drones to be used for façade inspection.
If you’re interesting in taking a look for yourself just how many scaffoldings are currently up around NYC, the Department of Buildings created this interactive map which displays each active sidewalk shed permit.
Currently, 9,057 active sheds are taking up 2,024,413 total linear feet in NYC.