It appears as if the school zone speed camera program is officially ending. According to the Fair Fines and Fees Coalition, Mayor Brown had twelve days to sign off or veto the amendment, which passed by Buffalo Common Council in a 6-3 vote.
“To our knowledge, Mayor Brown has neither signed or vetoed the legislation, which means that per City Charter, the ordinance amendment ending the disastrous school zone speed camera program is now law. We thank Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt for sponsoring this legislation and thank Councilmembers Pridgen, Rivera, Feroleto, Bollman and Nowakowski for voting in favor.” – Fair Fines and Fees Coalition
The Coalition is now calling for safer streets and school zones, not by monitoring them with cameras and fining offenders, but by installing traffic calming measures that include better street design, crosswalks, etc.
“We demand that immediate and significant investment be made into common-sense traffic safety improvements to make school zones safe by design, as is written in the ordinance amendment, and that the City prioritizes traffic-calming measures and street infrastructure investment in all neighborhoods before resorting to any new enforcement measures. These design improvements should be implemented through a ‘Just Streets’ framework that considers not only traffic safety but also racial equity and economic justice. We need better street design, not enforcement.” – Fair Fines and Fees Coalition
Along with the traffic calming measures throughout the city, the Coalition is asking Mayor Brown to allocate funding to fix Buffalo’s “crumbling streets.” This same sentiment should apply for bike-friendly advancements that need to be rolled out throughout the city, including addressing some of the past mistakes that have been made such as installing planted medians on Main Street (from the UB’s South Campus to Canisius College) instead of laying down bike lanes. We should be looking at making bike-ped easier and safer throughout the city, while building up our public transportation channels (trolleys anyone?).
“We know that the City now has more resources than ever before to fund safe streets due to never-before-seen federal and state funds, and that therefore cost is no longer an excuse to ignore our crumbling streets. We call on Mayor Brown, the Common Council, and the Department of Public Works to work with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, the Fair Fines and Fees Coalition, Colored Girls Bike Too, and residents, to systematically address the safety needs of school zones, and basic street infrastructure needs that have long been unaddressed. Asking the Common Council to address traffic safety needs in a piecemeal way using $1.3 million in ‘Neighborhood Initiatives’ funding, as Mayor Brown did in the recently approved budget, is not enough. We need a cohesive and dedicated approach to make school zones safe for our children and to make Buffalo streets safer for everyone.” – Fair Fines and Fees Coalition
As for the dismantling of the system,Colleen Kristich, LMSW, Community Researcher at Partnership for the Public Good says, “It’s our understanding that the cameras will be operating through August 31st and will end on September 1st. That is because there is a 60-day notice obligation in the City’s contract with Sensys Gatso. That also gives the City some time to install alternative safety measures like pavement markings, speed radar signs and speed humps before the cameras are gone. Which we will be watching to make sure they do!”