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City to halt grace period for school speed zone cameras

City will install beacon warning lights
Posted at 7:23 PM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 23:35:48-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is shutting down the grace period for school speed zone cameras throughout the city.

This comes one day after the Common Council voted to extend the warning period through the end of the month.

During a late afternoon news conference at City Hall Wednesday, Mayor Brown said the 30-day grace period ends Thursday, February 6th in those 14-locations where cameras have been set up in front of various city schools.

That means drivers previously slapped with a warning will now receive a ticket if caught speeding.

According to the mayor, since the cameras were installed they've clocked more than 10,000 speeding vehicles.

"We are seeing an alarming trend of many people speeding past those areas," Mayor Brown said.

But before those tickets are handed out to speeders, Mayor Brown said he has agreed to have the city put up 'beacon lights' in the school speed zone areas.

This will give drivers the first warning to drop their speed in those 15-mile an hour school speed zones.

The Mayor said they will begin installing those beacon lights immediately and once they are installed, speeders beware because you will get a ticket.

"Motorist also should know that the 15 mile per hour school speed zone has been established in law and police officers are throughout the city. If a police officer sees someone exceeding 15 miles per hour in a school zone they can and will write a ticket," Mayor Brown stated.

The speed zone camera violation is a $50 fine.

Michael Finn, City Commissioner of Public Works says they will prioritize where to start putting up the beacons.

“We’re going to prioritize them based on the same data that prioritized the cameras," remarked Michael Finn, Commissioner of Public Works.

City Parking Violations Commissioner Kevin Helfer said the data from the warnings show behaviors of the motorist has not changed with repeat offenders speeding through school zones.

”Not much has changed," responded Helfer. "A significant amount of repeat offenders. We are hoping to change their behaviors."

7 Eyewitness News spoke with University District Common Council Member Rasheed Wyatt, who sponsored Tuesday's Council resolution calling for an extended grace period.

Wyatt said Tuesday he believed Council approval of the adopted resolution would stand and force the mayor to extend grace period to the of the month, but now he tells us they are waiting for the Corporation Counsel to review the request because the school speed zone limits are set by state law. Wyatt said he's hoping to have an answer this week.