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February 7th, 2021
Andrew Yang Calls for Laws Aimed at Reducing the 300 Miles of Scaffolding Littering NYC
**RELEASE** February 7th, 2021
New York, NY—Today, Democratic Candidate for Mayor of New York City, Andrew Yang, announced his support for proposals to drastically curb the amount of scaffolding that litter the City’s streets.
Over the years, dozens of people have been injured by falling scaffolding that was meant to protect them. For instance, in 2018, scaffolding collapsed outside a Starbucks in Brooklyn, injuring three people and 100 feet of scaffolding fell in the Lower East Side. In 2017, six stories of scaffolding crashed outside of a Queens school right as students were starting to arrive. Most recently, in 2019, Erica Tishman was fatally struck by debris under a Manhattan building whose owners had already been fined only a few months before for not making their building safe.
Said Andrew Yang, “There are nearly 300 miles of New York City streets covered with scaffolding and under current laws and building owners have zero incentive to make the necessary repairs to prevent debris from hitting pedestrians. But this is more than just a safety issue. When scaffolding goes up, small businesses see a measurable drop in revenue, rats and trash accumulate by a magnitude, and they attract criminal activity. Now more than ever, as we look to rebound from COVID-19, we need to bring our small businesses back, making it easier to drum up business, and put an end to the literal blockade between small businesses and pedestrians.”
Said Council Member Ben Kallos, “Our city is literally crumbling with scaffolding to catch the falling bricks, only they aren't working, and people are still dying. The only solution is for building owners to actually have to make repairs in days not years under legislation I've proposed. If we can't pass scaffolding legislation now, our next Mayor will have to finally chase the blight of scaffolding from our city. Thank you to Andrew Yang for supporting this proposal to finally get scaffolding down.”
The cumbersome sidewalk sheds not only make a beautiful City like New York appear in constant disrepair, but they negatively impact small businesses by covering up storefronts and signs used to draw in clientele. A recent report by the Hospitality Alliance concluded that small businesses saw a 40 percent slump in earnings because of the sheds.
To improve safety standards, Yang is proposing the Department of Buildings ramp up safety inspections of sidewalk sheds. As Mayor, Yang would push to pass existing legislation in the City Council that would also require that building owners to fix dangerous conditions within 90 days of an inspection and allow the City to step in and correct the dangerous conditions themselves if no fixes are made after 180 days — at the building owner’s expense. Several leaders in the City Council, including Council Member Ben Kallos, have been advancing these common sense solutions and as Mayor, Yang is pledging to see them through.
Continued Andrew Yang, “We’ve learned that if we leave it up to building owners to fix their violations, some would rather pay a fine and make the issue go away than actually fix the problem. The City cannot let that happen.”