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City of Buffalo surveying residents on speed humps, drawing criticism from East Side block clubs

A number of block clubs on Buffalo's East Side are furious over what showed up in their mailbox last week.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Do you want speed humps in your neighborhood?

That's the question the City of Buffalo is asking thousands of residents in hopes of improving traffic safety.

The city is also dealing with the fallout from its controversial school zone camera program.

A number of block clubs on Buffalo's East Side are furious over what showed up in their mailbox last week. 

A speed hump survey from the city which they view is as a waste of time. 

"We all said we wanted speed humps, nobody said we wanted to see how it was going to work, nobody said we don't want them, we want them and we want them now, let's get on with it and stop all of this crap," said Ira Roberts, an East Side resident. 

Several years ago, after numerous speeding complaints, there were temporary speed humps that were installed here. 

"We were elated, we were so happy, we had thought, we had solved the problem it was a major step," said Renata Toney, a member of the Arden-Newburgh block club, "What we wanted to do was stop people speeding down our streets, children their lives are being threatened and you see on the news all the time how people are being killed their businesses are being run into off Bailey Avenue."

But, those speed humps were removed and put elsewhere disappointing residents. 

"I am so afraid that one day I'm going to witness a bad accident," said Doris Lockhart, an Easton Block Club member. 

The city's Department of Public Works says it sent out 17,000 of these mailers and insists they are not a waste of time.  

"What we want to make sure of is that everyone that's impacted by this where the traffic might go and where the speed humps are going to be placed beyond just the original locations, where we had piloted them everyone understands and feels this is the best application for their neighborhood," said Michael Finn, commissioner of Buffalo's Department of Public Works, "When we get the positive response we're going to construction right in the fall."

Planning for speed humps comes at a time when city crews are still busy working in school zones. 

Some speed limit signs still need to be changed from 15 to 20 miles per hour. 

And nearly 40 school crosswalks, where there's high traffic, are getting makeovers before school starts.  

"So they can put in those high visibility crosswalks at all those schools to highlight for drivers that they're entering those zones,' Finn said. 

More than 40-speed readers will start to be installed citywide in the coming weeks -- not fast enough for some city lawmakers. 

"Children are going to be going back to school in September and here we are scrambling to try to get everything in place everything should be in place as of now but that's where we are right now," said Buffalo Common Council Member Rasheed Wyatt. 

Wyatt says he expects six-speed readers to be installed in his district. City officials say the cost of each speed reader is between $3,000 and $4,000. More than $120,000 in discretionary funding that city lawmakers receive has been spent to buy speed readers. 

Finn says 20-speed readers are expected to arrive by the end of the month and he's not sure when more will arrive. 

As for those controversial speed zone cameras, they will come down by September 1, due to an ordinance lawmakers passed months ago.

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