Councilmember Mitch Nowakowski of the Fillmore district will introduce a resolution to dedicate funding from school speed zone enforcement to infrastructure improvements in school zones.

The draft resolution, to be introduced to Common Council next week, with the expectation of being introduced to the legislative committee on Tuesday, March 24, at 1 pm. Reach out to your Common Council representative to let them know what you think about the proposal.

The resolution is currently drafted as follows:

Whereas, the safety of our children is of paramount concern to the City of Buffalo’s Common Council;

Whereas, The City of Buffalo adopted its Complete Streets ordinance, Article XIV, in 2008;

Whereas, Complete streets are defined as facilities that are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, persons with disabilities, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders are able to safely move along and across a complete street;

Whereas, the current design and condition of the streets, sidewalks and lack of bicycle facilities in many of our school zones and surrounding communities places our children and communities at risk;

Whereas, from 2008 to 2018, 44 people were killed by vehicles while walking or bicycling on Buffalo streets;

Whereas, fatalities represent only a portion of the 1220 police-reported crashed between a person driving a motor vehicle and a person walking and 614 police reported crashes between a person driving a motor vehicle and a person riding a bicycle;

Whereas, The Fillmore Council District has the largest incidences of pedestrian and bicycle crashes from 2013 to 2018 with 301 injuries and 8 fatalities followed by Ellicott District with 287 injuries and 3 fatalities, while the University District has 214 injuries and 3 fatalities.

Whereas, neighborhoods that have faced systemic disinvestment – namely large portions of communities on the east and west side of the city – disproportionately face challenges of income and access, to the effect that neighborhoods on the east side of Buffalo are home to 17,000 (49%) school aged children, and west side communities are home to 10,600 (45%) school aged children that live in families being paid less than poverty level wages, placing them at statistically greater risk of being hit by a car while walking or riding a bicycle, and;

Whereas, the Buffalo Public Schools with the highest rate of automobiles hitting people walking or cycling within a quarter mile of the school building include Emerson School of Hospitality PS302 (20 crashes), Academy School at 18A PS131 (19 crashes), Dr. Antonia Pantoja Community School of Excellence PS18 (17 crashes), The International Preparatory School PS198 (16 crashes), Hutchinson Central Technical High School PS304 (15 crashes);

Therefore, Let it Be Resolved; The Buffalo Common Council Requests:

Before the end of the 2019-2020 school year; a joint working group be formed between the Buffalo Public Schools and the City of Buffalo to immediately address the health and safety concerns caused by the current infrastructure surrounding our schools;

A traffic safety plan be developed for every Buffalo Public School including short term measures and permanent infrastructure changes;

That these traffic safety plans be presented to this body before the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year to ensure that every student, regardless of circumstance, will be safe walking or bicycling to school;

The City of Buffalo dedicate financial resources derived from the enforcement of school speed zones to the implementation of these plans to ensure every school has, at a minimum, high visibility crosswalks, safe bicycle facilities, well-maintained sidewalks and streets with design speeds that reflect the 15 MPH speed limit.