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Bill to regulate lifespan of NYC’s many sidewalk sheds moves forward

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The bill proposes that landlords remove scaffolding on their property after a week of inactivity

a katz /

There are more than 7,700 sidewalk sheds around the city that translates to 280 miles of scaffolding. The oldest among them can be found at 100 Lenox Avenue, where the scaffolding has been in place for the past 17 years.

Part of the reason why so many of these eyesores have clouded the city’s sidewalks for so long is because often times, it is costlier for landlords to make facade repairs than to just allow the scaffold to remain in place. However, last year, City Councilman Ben Kallos introduced a bill that would require scaffolding to be taken down within six months of it having gone up and it’s finally gaining traction.

According to Crain’s, a hearing was finally held to discuss the proposed legislation. Local officials, including the de Blasio administration, along with community members agree that sidewalk sheds are unattractive fixtures, however there are some concerns with forcing them down within a specified timeframe. Forcing landlords to remove scaffolding during inactivity and have them re-installed later could jeopardize public safety.

“The bill is well-intentioned but there are too many unintended consequences,” said REBNY’s senior vice president Carl Hum.

Another meeting to discuss the bill is scheduled for November 15. In the meantime, if you’re interested in seeing just how many scaffolds there are across New York City, there’s a dedicated map for that.