You are walking along the sidewalk and, as happens so frequently in New York, you approach a portion that
is covered by a sidewalk construction shed. Thinking nothing of it, you stay on that side of the street and continue walking under it. The next thing you know you hear tires screeching on the pavement. Glancing over your shoulder you see a cab barreling toward the very sidewalk shed you are walking under. Within a split second all of the scaffolding is falling down on top of you.
This is not a fictional scenario. This very incident happened this past summer on the corner of 44th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan. A taxi driver lost control of the car and careened into one of the support poles knocking most of the scaffolding down and injuring ten pedestrians. The scaffolding company and contruction company involved were fined $1,500 each for overloading the shed.
Permits and Requirements
It seems as though every other block in the city is surrounded by some sort of scaffolding. From January to August, the City issued 1,148 permits for sidewalk sheds citywide, an increase of 14 percent over the same period last year. The increase is due in part to the deadline for facade inspections required by Local Law 10, states Ilyse Fink, press officer for the New York City Department of Buildings. Also, the real estate market is recovering and new construction and renovations are beginning to take place.