Mayor Eric Adams plans to overhaul sidewalk sheds, scaffolding across NYC

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Monday, July 24, 2023
Mayor Eric Adams plans to overhaul sidewalk sheds, scaffolding across NYC
NYC officials believe overhauling the unsightly sheds will help improve public safety and quality of life for New Yorkers.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams' administration wants to overhaul sidewalk scaffolding that litter nearly 400 miles of city streets.

City officials announced the Get Sheds Down plan Monday morning which they believe will get the sheds off the sidewalks more quickly and improve public safety.

There currently are more than 8,870 active sheds in New York City that have an average age of 480 days.

Many agree they are eyesores and they are detrimental to small businesses and create small, dark spaces.

In fact, about 500 of them have been up for more than five years -- some more than 10.

"All too often, they stay up when no repair is happening, we use the sheds as a way of pushing of repairs for year and years," Adams said.

He said it's cheaper to rent a shed than pay for the repairs -- and for years, building owners could get away with that.

Adam's program will increase penalties as construction sheds occupy public spaces for too long and incentivize property owners to expedite repairs and remove sheds with expired permits from public sidewalks.

"We have nearly 400 miles of scaffolding in New York City, taking up public space that belongs to New Yorkers and the millions who visit our city every year. Imagine visiting Rome, Tokyo, or Rio and seeing scaffolding everywhere. New Yorkers wouldn't be happy with these unsightly constructions in other cities, and we shouldn't be ok with them here at home. For too long, bureaucratic rules have stood in the way of progress, but today, we are turning the page and overhauling these rules from the ground up with our 'Get Sheds Down' plan," said Mayor Adams. "This plan will flip the script so that property owners are incentivized to complete safety work and remove sheds instead of leaving up these eyesores year after year. This is how we reimagine our city, revitalize our business districts, and build a safer, more welcoming city for all."

The hope is to put less intrusive alternatives in their place -- such as safety netting -- and reimagining sidewalk sheds or redesigning existing sidewalk sheds.

Adams also wants to remove unsightly sheds more quickly while doubling down on central business districts and strengthening oversight of shed permits.

"Just about every culture has made the scaffolding its own with seasonal decorations and signs, this is not going to become the legacy of our city, we're going to make sure the design, the beauty and architecture are reflected in what we're doing," Adams said.

By the Numbers

As of July 24, there are:

  • 8,876 active sheds
  • 2 Million linear feet of shed
  • Average age of 480 days

Breakdown by Borough

-Manhattan: 4,069

-Brooklyn: 2,339

-Bronx: 1,328

-Queens: 1,062

-Staten Island:78

The oldest shed in the city, on 409 Edgecombe Avenue in Hamilton Heights in Manhattan, is 17 years old.

Check out the city's interactive map showing Active Sidewalk Shed Permits.

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