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Buffalo neighborhood DIY: Group paints crosswalk stripes after fatal accident

The group claims City Hall's inaction spurred them to act now, less than a week after 12-year-old Marcel Yanders was killed as he walked home from school.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It was a weekend improvement project for public safety in a West Side Buffalo neighborhood after tragedy hit close to home.

After months of seeing red over what they say was city in-action and then a pedestrian fatality, members of the Upper 14th Street Block Club and other volunteers wanted drivers to see stripes as they approached an intersection.

So with some expert planning advice and using federal guidelines, they painted the six-inch wide stripes for crosswalks at the intersection of Hampshire Street and Albany Street, and elsewhere.

Elizabeth Meg Williams is the block club president.

"We got a coalition of concerned neighbors together, bought some paint, borrowed a striping machine, and put down crosswalks," she said. "I think we accomplished seven of them, and then stop lines, which are really important."

They're hoping stop lines will prompt a driver to actually stop before a stop sign instead of rolling through it.

And again, there was motivation from the death of 12-year-old Marcel Yanders this past Tuesday after he was struck by a pickup truck on Hampshire as he walked home from school.

Williams says there was another non-fatal similar incident later in the week.

"We would love for the city to do their job," Williams said. "But we're not going to wait any longer, and have anymore children die, because they're not willing to invest in our city. Sorry, I really care about the kids, and we really care about the kids, and we don't want to see them injured anymore."

Williams is willing to face possible sanctions for painting on a city street, if there are any. She notes that passing police just waved at them.     

Niagara District Councilman David Rivera says he understands the frustration and felt sorrow for the child's family. But he says council did act on school safety zones after getting the Brown administration to take down the speed cameras.

"We've invested money in street calming infrastructure. We've allocated funding resources to do that. I know some schools have already had the striping and the speed readers," Rivera said.

A city statement also extends sympathy to the family with safety as a priority. But it also notes the accident did not actually happen at the intersection and that speed so far does not appear to be a factor in their investigation. 

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