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Public offers mixed reviews of proposed cameras at Buffalo stoplights

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A Buffalo Common Councilmember pondering the idea of red light cameras got mixed feedback at a public hearing in City Hall.

Following several hit-and-run incidents within the City of Buffalo, including two resulting in deaths, Buffalo Common Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt raised the idea of installing cameras at stoplights throughout the city.


Reactions at the public hearing were mixed. Many residents say the biggest traffic problem is speeding. 

"Something has to change," said Renata Toney, one of the speakers. "What that is, I don't know. But I'm here proudly to say give Councilmember Wyatt credit for saying let's evaluate a system that may. But something has to change. It's dangerous."

A representative of the company Gatso USA, which currently operates a camera network in Albany, demonstrated how their equipment captures images of vehicles passing through red lights. He suggested that speed may also be monitored.

The company would relay images to Buffalo Police, which would then decide on enforcement. Gatso USA would assist with collections, it was explained.

But others questioned whether the cameras would have been effective in recent hit-and-run cases. Colin Hoffman remarked that some incidents happened away from intersections.

"I believe something needs to be done but I don't think putting red light cameras in will address the problem we have," he said. 

Others called the idea a cash grab for both the city and the private operators, who would receive a cut of some of the fines. As one speaker told the Gatso representative, "you're here for the money."

Another speaker, Russ Lewis, suggested the City of Buffalo instead spend money to hire more police officers.

Wyatt noted that Gatso has not been hired to install cameras and that the idea is nothing more than a proposal at this time. He said new ideas were raised that should also be considered but he still likes the idea of the cameras.

"I still want to push it forward to see, maybe, if we could have a limited number of cameras," Wyatt said.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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