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A Real-Time Map for the Despised Sidewalk Shed

New York City

Sidewalk Shed Map
April 12, 2018

New Yorkers love to hate them – those sun-blocking, wino-attracting, garbage-magnets known as sidewalk sheds, which seem to be on every block in the city to protect pedestrians from falling objects when people work on the exteriors of buildings.

Now the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) has published a real-time interactive map showing the exact location of all permitted sidewalk sheds in the city. There were 7,342 of them as of yesterday morning, almost 270 miles of sidewalk sheds. That’s enough to circle the island of Manhattan eight times.

Click here to see DOB’s new sidewalk shed map.

This map, the DOB says in a press release, is the latest in a series of interactive dashboards released by the department to give the public greater insights about the city through data analytics and mapping. This map is the first public-facing report released by DOB that will update automatically in real time. As new permits for sidewalk sheds are issued and existing permits expire, the map will reflect these changes as they occur. Members of the public will also be able to search sidewalk sheds by age, borough, community board, and permit applicant, allowing them to find out exactly what is going on in their neighborhood.

“We are excited to deliver another data-driven tool to help New Yorkers learn more about our city’s built environment, and to help DOB improve our service to the public,” says Rick Chandler, commissioner of DOB. “Real-time mapping not only increases our ability to monitor structures such as sidewalk sheds, but also shows how we are harnessing technology to hold building owners accountable.” 

Sidewalk sheds are required by law to protect the public from potential hazards when a building is undergoing facade maintenance where there is ongoing construction.

And how long do sidewalk sheds stand there blocking sunlight and clogging sidewalks while protecting the public from falling objects? A whopping average of 293 days.



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