The Department of Buildings is tracking the city’s ubiquitous “sidewalk sheds” as officials push to root out those that have overstayed their welcome.
A new DOB map shows that more than 7,700 sheds dot the city and span a total of 280 miles, the New York Times reported. Some of the scaffolding dates as far back as 2006. The sheds are intended to protect pedestrians from falling construction materials but have drawn many complaints from officials and residents who see the structures as eyesores.
“It becomes part of the city landscape; you dodge it every day,” Kwanele Mpanza, 34, a real estate agent who lives near 11-year-old scaffolding in Park Slope, told the Times. “As a user of the city, it makes it more difficult to get where you need to go. It’s an additional obstacle.”
The city doesn’t have a time limit on building repairs, so scaffolding can essentially stay put indefinitely (though, violations can be issued if work isn’t eventually completed). City Councilman Ben Kallos introduced legislation that would require a building owner to complete facade restoration work within three months, with a possible three month extension. This would limit scaffolding’s lifespan on the streets to six months.
Building owners who opposed the measure argue that they don’t always have sufficient money to complete repair work right away. [NYT] — Kathryn Brenzel