GObike News

May 18, 2020

School Board to Consider Resolution to Support School Zone Speed Limits


A resolution will be introduced to the school board tomorrow, Wednesday, May 20, at 5:30 pm, to support the current 15 mph speed limit throughout the entire school day. Can you voice your support?

A draft school board resolution will be introduced to the school board on Wednesday, May 20, to encourage the City of Buffalo's Common Council to maintain school safe zones and their enforcement at the current 15 mph speed limit throughout the entire school day. The draft resolution also requests the formation of a joint working group between the Buffalo Public Schools and the City of Buffalo, in order to:

  1. Establish a traffic safety plan to address the health and safety caused by current infrastructure surrounding all of our schools and present to the Board of Education 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;
  2. Establish a financial plan to share revenue derived from the enforcement of school safe zones; and
  3. Designate 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.

The draft resolution is outlined in entirety here.

Though members of the school board have expressed support of the new school zone speed limits, the board in entirety has not issued a determination of support.

At GObike, we believe in streets that support everyone, everywhere, in every way. We envision a  happy, healthy, and connected city where every person is able to get safely and easily where they need and want to go—no matter how they choose to get there. The fear of speeding traffic, and the crashes, injuries, and fatalities, too often caused by streets that don’t properly support our communities, place a huge and inequitable burden on our collective well-being. 

We believe in streets that support the opportunity, happiness, and well-being of all Buffalo residents. We support the school board's resolution and we encourage you to consider supporting it, too.

If you are interested and able to support the draft resolution, please let your school board representative know before Wednesday's meeting. 

Here's a copy of our GObike's of support: 

Core to our mission at GObike is the health and safety of all of our residents, and the safety of our children is of paramount concern to us all. For these reasons, I am writing to express GObike Buffalo’s support for maintaining the school safety zones and their enforcement at the current 15 mph speed limit throughout the entire school day through your resolution on Traffic Safety & School Safe Zones.


Motor vehicle traffic injuries are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in Erie County with speeding being the second leading cause of crashes (New York State Department of Health). Children under the age of 18 were disproportionately hit by people driving cars in the City of Buffalo, having been involved in over one-fourth (26.5%) of all motor vehicles crashes with people walking and riding bikes (University at Buffalo report, 2010 – 2011). 


On behalf of GObike, I would like to reinforce that we, as a community, must go beyond the traditional approach of simply targeting individual behavior through law enforcement and ticketing, fines and fees. 


While enforcement plays a role, to truly be effective the City must work to impact the underlying systems and environment that influence behavior at the individual level. This includes a comprehensive look at all street designs, policies, and procedures in the City of Buffalo to prioritize safety and access for all populations. 


Our recommendations, derived from best practices of those cities that have implemented successful programs across the country, include:

  • Identify the city’s most dangerous streets and intersections for people walking, bicycling and driving around school zones through data analysis. 
  • Share this information through substantive community outreach to ensure awareness of speed-related dangers and create community-centered solutions for comprehensive safety strategies and interventions. 
  • Target revenue from school safety zone enforcement to redesign streets to encourage safe speeds, prioritizing investment in those communities most at risk for automobile crashes and injuries – specifically, communities with lower median incomes and communities of color. 
  • Create options to tier fines based upon family income and ability to pay and/or let first time offenders take driver safety education classes or conduct community safety service in lieu of a monetary fine.
  • Continue to track and monitor placement and enforcement of school zone safety cameras and enforcement to ensure these mechanisms are not having an undue or disparate impact on populations who are economically vulnerable and/or over-represented within the justice system.

Managing speed to save lives and eliminate life-altering injuries is critical to our children’s future, our city’s quality of life and our shared economic vitality. A full systems approach that is designed to protect people will be more effective in achieving this than any single approach on its own. 


Thank you for your continued leadership to make our city safe for everyone. GObike is in full support of the resolution on Traffic Safety & School Safe Zones and look forward to a continued and expanding partnership to ensure better streets and a better Buffalo. 

Here's a list of school board members to contact to let them know you support the school speed zone resolution:

Sharon Belton-Cottman, President and Ferry District Board Member

sbelton-cottman@buffaloschools.org

Jennifer Mecozzi, Vice President of Executive Affairs and West District Board Member

jmecozzi@buffaloschools.org

Dr. Ann Rivera, Vice President of Student Achievement and Board Member-at-Large

ARRivera@buffaloschools.org


Paulette Woods, Central District Board Member and Finance and Operation Chairperson

pwoods@buffaloschools.org


Terrance Heard, Board Member-at-Large and Chairman of Educational Support

tlheard@buffaloschools.org

Hope Jay, North District Board Member


hjay@buffaloschools.org

Dr. Kathy Evans-Brown, East District Board Member
kevansbrown@buffaloschools.org


Louis Petrucci, Park District Board Member

lpetrucci@buffaloschools.org


Lawrence Scott, Board Member-at-Large

lscott@buffaloschools.org

cc:

Dr. Kriner Cash, Superintendent

krinercash@buffaloschools.org

Will Keresztes, Ed.D., Chief of Intergovernmental Affairs, Planning, and Community Engagement
wkeresztes@buffaloschools.org

 

School Board to Consider Resolution to Support School Zone Speed Limits