City Council seeking to overhaul scaffolding abuse in NYC

The City Council is considering a new legislative package aimed at overhauling the long-term abuse of sidewalk scaffolding in the Big Apple.

“Scaffolding shouldn’t be one of the first things people associate with NYC,” said Manhattan City Councilman Keith Powers, who introduced some of the bills.

“It’s time we reclaim our streets.”

Among the nine bills introduced Thursday were measures to establish a drone-inspection program to help property owners speed up the scaffolding-removal process; to raise scaffoldings’ minimum height to at least 12 feet; and create stricter timelines for removal when construction stalls.

There are more than 9,000 scaffolding sheds in the city.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

The legislative package also includes a measure by Councilman Erik Bottcher (D-Manhattan) requiring property owners to apply for work permits within six months of installing scaffolding or face hefty fines, and another mandating brighter lighting where the sheds are up, to help deter crime.

There are more than 9,000 scaffolding sheds in the city, three times as many as there were two decades ago, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Some of the sidewalk sheds have been up as far back as 2006, according to Bottcher.