NY, New York – According to Gothamist.com, lawmakers are working on a new bill designed to address the more than 300 miles of scaffolding that are currently in place around New York City. The tunnels, which are intended to protect pedestrians from debris that could fall at a construction site, create potential dangers of their own.
One of the temporary structures fell earlier in January and caused injuries to constructions workers who were on top of it, three people were hurt when scaffolding collapsed outside of a Starbucks in Brooklyn Heights, and in SoHo, a woman sustained serious spinal injuries when scaffolding fell on her in 2017.
Councilman Ben Kallos is one of the lawmakers who is bringing the bill to the legislature. Kallos says the bill will make for stricter regulations on scaffolding strictures, referred to as sidewalk sheds. Kallos’ office has been keeping track of accidents involving scaffolding. Most incidents result in pedestrian injuries. Part of the problem appears to be that the city is permitting the inspections of these structures to be completed by the contractors who build them. The Department of Buildings does little to provide oversight.
Under the proposed bill, the Department of Buildings would be responsible for inspecting sidewalk sheds and would follow up and check the structures again every six months.
Skeptics believe the bill is just an attempt to reduce the amount of scaffolding around the city and point out that the structures are necessary and are intended to protect pedestrians. The Department of Buildings is still reviewing the bill, but a spokesperson for the Department stated that they too would like to reduce the number of sidewalk sheds in the city.
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