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20 speed cameras coming to Buffalo school zones

Mike Desmond

Buffalo will get 20 speed cameras to be used around schools from the time students start heading to class until they head home, and later for school events. Common Council members have some ideas about which schools should get the cameras.It has become a real issue in very recent years: drivers speeding past schools, drivers ignoring the flashing red lights on school buses and speeding past, and drivers ignoring stop lights and stop signs to speed past.

Luckily, they appear to have missed the thousands of kids going to school each day in the more than 100 schools in the city. That means a lot of schools won't get the cameras during the five-year demonstration program, and maybe later.

Councilmember Ulysees Wingo says one school in his district comes immediately to mind.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"School 61, Leroy and Grider. That school definitely needs some surveillance," Wyatt said. "That school needs some assistance in how drivers drive past. There is no crosswalk off of those side streets, such as Montclair and Manhattan and so on and so forth, where children and families can walk across and be safe."

Wingo said he is trying to get the city Public Works Departments to put crosswalks on those streets to offer some more protection for school kids. Council members also want more speed enforcement around schools and want permanent lowering of the speed limit in a school zone to 15 mph, although that needs approval from Albany.

"In my district, residents can constantly complain about traffic. This is on a lower level, but it's still the safety of the children. I'm all good with that," said Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt. "I wish I could see other things, but at this point, I will accept those cameras at our school zones because we want to keep our children safe."

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Wyatt has told the Council several times his first priority is Olmsted High School on Suffolk Street, with both heavy traffic and lots of speeding, on and off the Kensington Expressway. Councilmember Joel Feroleto cited one in his district.

"North Park Academy is right in the heart of a residential neighborhood and neighbors have often expressed concerns about cars speeding there, especially after it has become a community school in the last year," Feroleto said. "There's a lot more walkers to the school."

Other schools mentioned for cameras are Bennett, School 54, School 61 and School 64.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said the cameras will improve safety for city school children.

“Speed safety cameras near schools make sense and I commend Senator Tim Kennedy, Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and both the State Senate and Assembly for working together to pass this life-saving legislation. We must continue to do everything we can to calm traffic in school zones. This tool serves to remind all motorists to slow down, obey traffic laws and keep our children safe,” Brown said, in a statement.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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