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West Seneca lawmakers want to lower speed limits but must first change Town to "Suburban Town"

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Posted at 2:10 PM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 23:20:30-04

WEST SENECA, NY (WKBW) — Town leaders in West Seneca want to stop a speeding problem by becoming a suburban town. Town Supervisor Gary Dickson said right now, if the town wants to change residential speed limits from 35-mph to 30-mph, it must go through the department of transportation.

“And usually they don't change it,” Dickson said. “They do a study and say you need to do more enforcement or something."

Dickson said becoming a suburban town takes away that hurdle. Right now, there are five such communities in Erie County: Clarence, Evans, Hamburg, Lancaster and Orchard Park. 

"It’s definitely overdue,” Dickson said. “Speeding has been a problem for a while."

Dickson said decreasing the speed limit may not stop people from speeding, but it is much easier to ticket someone going 40-mph in a 30-mph zone rather than 40-mph in a 35-mph zone. 

"That’s a big difference,” Dickson said. “We're hoping people will not have to get tickets, they'll see we want them to slow down, and it will work."

Councilwoman Susan Kims wrote a letter to board members Monday raising safety concerns about speed limits in some neighborhoods but says nothing can be done about those speeds until the town becomes a "suburban town."

"We have residential neighborhoods with speed limits of 35 mph with no crosswalks, where our children face a challenge when attempting to cross to the opposite side of the street," said Kims in her letter. "We also have many residential streets which have no curbs to possibly slow a vehicle that may have lost control," she added.

Kims says past petitions have been presented asking the speed limit to be decreased but those attempts have all been rejected. In response to the failing efforts, Kims is proposing discussion and consideration to change the "Town" to a "Suburban Town." She says this would allow the Town to control its own speed limits.

Dickson said the town board will vote on a resolution in two weeks. If it passes, that will be followed by public hearings and a vote to officially make the change. Dickson said the designation will likely take effect in January.