Curbing Speeding: A SLOW, Grueling Unrewarding Process By Renata Toney
Several Buffalo East Side block clubs are incensed after receiving a City of Buffalo speed hump survey. WGRZ-TV reporter Jeff Preval reached out to University District Councilmember Rasheed N.C. Wyatt for an interview after his office received numerous calls from residents. The insulting survey and Mayor Byron Brown’s dismal response to speeding in residential areas over the past few years were the focus of the complaints. Here’s why.
Under the leadership of Councilmember Wyatt, several block clubs launched a speeding campaign five years ago; attending public hearings, meeting with public officials and the Buffalo Police Department to develop solutions. Speeding has resulted in scores of hit and run accidents, injuries, fatalities, and cars careening into homes and businesses.
In 2017, the last mayoral election year, Mayor Byron Brown launched a new joint traffic-safety initiative in response to these complaints and held a press conference announcing the first speed hump recipients, the Arden-Newburgh Block Club was one of them.
Its residents complain of speeders driving 60 MPH. The humps were removed from for the winter season and never returned. Without notice, the City of Buffalo’s Public Works Department assigned the humps to other streets with complaints with no formal explanation.
Two years ago, Mayor Brown launched the Slow Streets Program—51 neighborhood zones citywide responded to a tedious application process. Requirements included collaborations with blocks clubs, letters of support, designing a printed map neighborhood zones and collecting 24 signatures. Some block clubs went the extra mile and attached police reports of accidents. Over the past two years residents reached out to the City of Buffalo Public Works Department for an update on the program. No responses.
Earlier this year the City of Buffalo announced dedicating $500,000 of revenue from the School Speed Zone Safety Program to launch a “Safe Streets Initiative” to improve pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist safety. East Side block clubs were stunned and puzzled once again. What’s the difference between a ‘Safe Streets Initiative’ and the ‘Slow Streets Project’?
Everything designated ‘slow’ by the City of Buffalo has consistently failed not meeting the safety needs of residents at high risk. The response and performance of the City of Buffalo Public Works Department has been dreary and of no support to block clubs and residents that love and want to Improve where they live.
This ongoing sluggish story continues to recycle and speed back to the future that has led to nowhere, particularly not the East Side.