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Buffalo Common Council votes to extend the grace period for camera-issued school zone tickets

First student school bus
Posted at 6:25 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 17:42:40-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — The Buffalo Common Council voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to extend the warning period for the school zone cameras in the city of Buffalo.
The warning period will now run through February 29th.

It comes after one lawmaker said the city needs to pump the brakes.

With the warning period set to end Friday February 7, a Buffalo Common Council Member Rasheed Wyatt proposed an extension to the period for drivers to get a warning. It's so council can get more data on how the cameras are being used.

It was also proposed that the city gets flashing beacons to notify drivers they are in a school zone with the revenue collected from the camera fines.

Rahseed Wyatt, University District Common Council member.

"Ultimately we want to make sure our children are safe, number one. However, we want to make sure residents and motorist understand what the limits are," said Rahseed Wyatt, University District Common Council Member.

Wyatt says he's getting a lot of calls about the new school speed zone cameras.

14 are set up through out the city, capturing anyone driving faster than 26-miles hour in a posted 15-mile an hour school speed zone. Right now, only warnings are being issued to the owner of the vehicle during grace period.

New school speed zone camera on Elmwood Ave. & Johnson Park in front of Hutch Tech.

But everyone seems to be asking why the cameras are taking photos even when children are out of school and drivers are getting warnings.

"I've talked to a couple of my colleagues and they think we should have the same times everywhere," Wyatt remarked.

Last Friday we asked Mayor Byron Brown about why some drivers are getting warnings clocked after school hours.

"There will be periods when the cameras will be off – when school is not in session. We are looking at all of these concerns. All of these questions that are coming in," Mayor Brown stated.

Wyatt says he would also like to increase the 15-miles an hour speed limit because it's just too slow.

"I had to take my foot off the peddle to get to that, maybe increasing it to 20," Wyatt noted.

Lawmakers say citizens asking why there can't be some type of warning lights set-up ahead of these school speed zone signs.

Niagara District Common Council Member David Rivera agrees.

Niagara District Common Council Member David Rivera.

"I just don't want to come up across it and say - 'oh my God - I should have slowed down'. They should know way in advance. It should be posted somewhere before and somewhere after going both directions, so people are forewarned," Rivera said.

Drivers are also getting tickets from police officers enforcing the school speed zones that don't have cameras.

There is no grace period and driving under the 26-mile an hour rule does not apply in those 15-mile an hour zones.

Mayor Brown says he's collected data from the grace period and will be addressing all these issues soon.

Common Council member Wyatt says lawmakers would like to have a chance to review that data to revise the legislation and improve the situation for all motorist traveling by school zones.