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Buffalo mayor announces 'Safe Streets' initiative

Policy announcement leading up to his State of the City address aims to improve pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorist safety on Buffalo streets.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown on Tuesday released the first of several policy announcements leading up to his annual State of the City address.

The aim of the "Safe Streets" initiative is to to improve pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorist safety on Buffalo streets. A portion of money from the School Speed Zone Safety program, $500,000, will be used to hire a dedicated person with experience in traffic safety, conduct public outreach, and expand the City’s ability to sustain traffic calming measures — like crosswalk striping— beyond the use of any one-time federal capital funding.

 “As part of our ongoing response to residents to find ways to slow traffic down, my administration announced the School Zone Safety Program over two-years ago, I have said from the beginning our highest priority was the safety of children in neighborhoods throughout the entire City," said the mayor. 

"The school zone cameras are a complement to my administration’s other traffic safety initiatives which include Complete Streets design planning, the creation of hundreds of miles of bike lanes, the neighborhood Slow Streets program, and the implementation of the Downtown Access Parking Plan that promotes the use of transportation alternatives other than personally owned vehicles. With the launch of the Safe Streets initiative, we will develop a comprehensive approach that encompasses all of these different elements into a single strategy for making our streets safer in the most equitable fashion possible.”

Another goal of Safe Streets is to lower the insurance rates for drivers in the City of Buffalo, which currently stands at $150 more than the national average.

Mayor Brown says other cities such as Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia have similar programs in place highlighting the following five principals:

  • Employ street design principles that promote multi-modal transportation and keep a variety of road users safe 
  • Engage in community education and outreach activities to promote the benefits of safer streets
  • Reduce speed limits in high-foot traffic areas and place adequate signage to alert drivers to those changes
  • Encourage human interactions with motorists through the use of crossing guards and traffic guards rather than police traffic enforcement units
  • Employ automatic enforcement tools like speed cameras to ensure compliance with traffic control measures

“I welcome this important traffic calming initiative that will help keep our children safe on the way to and from school,” said Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash. “Drivers must be much more aware and careful of our children getting on and off school buses and crossing busy streets.  On behalf of the Buffalo Board of Education, our parents, and our children, I thank Mayor Brown for instituting these critical Safe Streets measures.”