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Council targets downtown parking issues

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Downtown Buffalo visitors are likely familiar with the line of cars bearing signs for bail bonds parking in front of Buffalo City Court. The Common Council voted Tuesday to bar parking along that stretch of Delaware Avenue.

Common Council members passed the parking ban and had it walked down to Mayor Byron Brown's office for his decision, saying there are enough votes for an override if he's opposed.

No one connected to bail bond companies wanted to talk about the situation.

The state court system has asked for the ban, saying there are possible problems in crime victims and alleged crime perpetrators on the same turf.

District Executive Andrew Isenberg said there's a potential dangerous environment.

Isenberg is concerned that bail bondsmen are often conducting business with families of defendants in a location where "judges, victims of crimes and friends and family members of crime victims (are) also exiting the building."

In citing the two most recent years of statistics, Isenberg says court officers seized more than 4,000 dangerous items, including 271 firearms from people trying to enter the court building.

In dealing with another Downtown issue, Council members say things are quieting down on Chippewa Street.  Members say the situation has improved since they passed laws that limit the presence of those under the age of 21 inside Chippewa bars.

Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news
A light audience was on hand as the Common Council conducted its business on Tuesday.

Councilmember Darius Pridgen said he and Councilmember David Franczyk had just come from a meeting with two bars, Bottoms Up and Lux Nightclub.

"We met with residents, particularly from Cary Street, who were concerned about just a few incidents that happened this summer which is huge to hear residents to say things have changed in their neighborhood."

Pridgen said several bars fired their managers for not controlling problems. The Council voted not to allow several clubs to hold events with young people on the premises.

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.