New plans aim to take down a large portion of NYC scaffolding

According to a very informative interactive map by the Department of Buildings, there are currently 9,034 active sidewalk sheds around town that have been up for an average of 498 days each. It’s clearly time to do something about the overwhelming amount of scaffolding that residents have to constantly deal with—and the city knows it.

Manhattan borough president Mark Levine and City Councilmember Keith Powers just released the aptly named report “Shed the Shed,” where they put forward recommendations to swiftly take down the eyesores.

You can read the report in full right here, where certain data figures will likely stun you, including the fact that over 230 sidewalk sheds across the city have been up for over five years each.

The officials offer a number of logical strategies that, for what it’s worth, we hope the city will take on. 

Scaffolding in NYC
Photograph: Shutterstock

First of all, the experts hope to accelerate the average length of construction by providing developers with low-interest loans associated with an “accelerator program” that would also offer access to experts that will in turn guide the owners on how to quickly finish up facade work.

Turns out, the permit process for facade work is a lengthy one that is also in dire need of streamlining. Levine and Powers hope to revamp said guidelines, especially throughout historic districts where construction can only kick off when both the Department of Buildings and the Landmarks Preservation Commission approve of it.

Other suggestions include the implementation of fines and penalties directed at buildings that fail to complete work in a timely fashion and the creation of a task force to supervise the entire ordeal.

Finally, the officials hope to completely change design and layouts standards, allowing for the use of lower-risk materials that would keep pedestrians and crews safe while still expediting the entire process.

Fingers crossed that, at the very least, some of these suggestions will soon turn into reality.

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