Thursday, August 13, 2009

Modernizing the sidewalk shed

From the NY Times: the world has moved on, the sidewalk shed — the ubiquitous wooden and steel contraptions outside construction sites that symbolize the constant rejuvenation of New York — has largely been unchanged since the 1960s: erector-style frameworks with flat, flappy roofs that residents have used as rain shelters, bike racks and even chin-up apparatus. What little progress there has been has all been in the lighting: fluorescent has gradually replaced incandescent.

So in an attempt to drag the sidewalk shed into the 21st century, the city’s Department of Buildings, together with the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects and other groups, is holding a worldwide design contest called UrbanShed, which is calling for innovative reinterpretation of a classic piece of New York’s streetscape. (In other cities, the sidewalk shed, also known as a sidewalk bridge, is called a “New York-style shed.”)

The competition will be officially announced on Thursday. Submissions, due Oct. 2, will be evaluated by a panel of nine judges for cost, functionality and aesthetics. Three finalists will be winnowed down to a single winner to be announced in December.


Andy George said...

The city should build perminent sheds or structures at Main Street, Flushing to serve as shelter for bus and subway commuters. The traffic has grown considerably and is poorly under served. And not just a few token structures, but modernize the entire area.

Anonymous said...

First step to fix flushing is changing the population out.

Put up bus shelters and people will just hang ducks from it.

Snake Plissskin said...

The best way to handle the sidewalk shed is to curb building.

All those project just diverts city resources into lining developer profits and adds to our tax burdens for infrastructure.

Just putting lipstick on a pig.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the city enlist grad school students who are studying to be engineers to study and plan out the infrastructure of the city? They could be rewarded with stipends, have hands-on experience and credits. The idiots in power are clueless. Here, you would have a win = win situation. The students would benefit and so would the city. If it was a work study situation, money wouldn't change hands and there wouldn't be so much graft and under=the-table dealings.

Anonymous said...

Flushing is irreprable. I personally blame it on the white flight of Italian Americans and latino flight or Puerto Ricans.

Chinese replaces puerto ricans.
Koreans replaced italians and some irish.

Im the last English person in Flushing. I hope the houses all you white flighters moved to burn to the ground.

Anonymous said...

What does the changing ethnic makeup of NYC neighborhoods over time have to do with sidewalk sheds? Obviously some cracker is sore about being left alone with a bunch of Chinese, but who cares?

Anonymous said...

A permit is required prior to erecting a sidewalk shed or supported scaffold over 40 feet in height. If a scaffold is on top of a sidewalk shed, the height of the scaffold must include the height of the shed and be taken from the top of the sidewalk. If the supported scaffold is located on a setback or roof of a building, and if the outer leg of the scaffold is located a distance less than half the height of the scaffold (from the top of roof or floor slab), the height of the scaffold for permitting purposes shall include the height of the building below.

Prior to erecting a sidewalk shed, an owner must obtain a permit from DOB. The applicant for a sidewalk shed permit must state the reason such sidewalk shed is needed. These permits are good for one year. Sidewalk sheds must be dismantled within thirty days of permit expiration. Should a renewal of the shed permit be required, other than a new building under construction, an architect or engineer must conduct a thorough examination and report to the commissioner on the work that has been performed and an estimate of the time needed to complete the work. Additionally, in New York City, Local Law No. 33 also mandated that the permit holder post a twenty-five square foot sign on the sidewalk shed with the permit holder’s name, address, telephone number and permit number and expiration date. Adequate lighting must be maintained under the shed. The Construction Division within each borough office of the Department of Buildings (DOB) has jurisdiction over sidewalk sheds.

The Department of Buildings (DOB) inspects construction sites when they receive a complaint. DOB also has a program to inspect major construction sites on a weekly basis for compliance with public safety regulations. Major construction sites are buildings that are more than 15 stories, over 200 feet in height or more 100,000 square feet in area, or any other buildings designated by DOB. The Department’s Building Enforcement Safety Team, (BEST Squad), checks for more than 85 onsite safety features such as safety netting, placement of cranes and protection of adjacent property. Inspectors are empowered to issue violations, summonses and stop work orders for conditions contrary to the Building Code or Zoning Resolution.