NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that all unnecessary scaffolding has been removed from city public housing developments.

The mayor said the city has removed 43,769 feet of scaffolding — more than eight miles — since he took office in January 2014.

Residents had complained that scaffolding had been left in place long after construction was completed.

They believed the so-called “sidewalk sheds” were a blight and created dark spaces where crime could flourish.

De Blasio said the sheds were “a vivid, common reminder of neglect.”

The mayor has prioritized speeding up repairs at city housing developments. More people live in public housing in New York than the entire population of Atlanta.

De Blasio spoke at a Brooklyn housing project.

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