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City Hall picket protests speed changes along Scajaquada Expressway

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

A small and vocal group turned out in front of City Hall Thursday to oppose a possible variable speed limit on the Scajaquada Expressway. The protesters say the speed limit from end to end on the the roadway should remain 30 miles per hour.

Kerri Machemer surfaced as a proponent of slower traffic on the Scajaquada in the wake of the death of a three-year-old boy who was killed when a speeding car came off the highway and into Delaware Park and hit his family. Within hours, the speed limit was ordered dropped to 30.

Now, there's something of a push to keep it at 30 mph through the park and then raise it to 40 or 50 mph from Grant Street to I-190, with support from Mayor Byron Brown.

Accompanied by her two infants, Machemer says the road will eventually feel more like a city street.

"When the crosswalks go in and when the traffic calming measures are implemented, it will. And when the road is redesigned to a parkway, it'll feel like you should be going 30," Machemer said.

"When you drive down any of the streets in the city, the roads feel appropriate to the speed you are traveling. That's because they are designed to feel that way. Right now, it's designed to feel like an expressway. But, 30 is here to stay and a parkway is here to stay."

Machemer admits that might be a while since the state has been doing studies for years about what to do about the highway and apparently never settled on anything. She suggests the state will look at those plans and make a final decision and then build, but that might be a few years away.

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.