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By Ralph Spielman
New bills to overhaul scaffolds that now cover 280 miles of sidewalks in New York City would force builders to make them taller, take them down faster, and illuminate them more brightly while they are standing.
Sheds near parks and playgrounds would have even stricter regulations, pushing the proposed height of a shed even higher.
Four Manhattan Council Members, led by Majority Leader Keith Powers, put forth a package of legislation in sync with the “Shed the Shed” report issued earlier this month by Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. Joining Powers in a joint press conference March 16 to unveil the new bills were council members Erik Bottcher who represents Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, Chris Marte who represents downtown Manhattan and Shaun Abreu, who represents the upper west side including Morningside Heights, west Harlem, and Washington Heights.
No surprise that the four sponsors all come from Manhattan, which has more than twice as many sheds as any other borough, with 4,000 of the 9,000 citywide located on the island.
Scaffolds have the been the source of complaints for years, from being used by bar patrons using them as a place to relieve themselves late at night, to being the subject of vandalism, robberies and other crimes. One shed was the scene of a rape in Chelsea last December.