Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - The cameras are on and the citations are ready as the controversial Buffalo school zone speed camera program kicks-in again Monday.
A grace period that had been in place has expired and those driving in excess of 15 mph in the 18 active school zones will be sent citations and fines will be issued for those who are driving 26 mph or faster.
"The school zone cameras are working," Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told WBEN in an interview Sunday on Hardline. Brown says speeds are down in the school zones and the program answers a call made by residents who were concerned about speeding near schools.
The school zone system got off to a rocky start when there was confusion with citations not being mailed in a timely fashion and more recently as a study was presented to the Buffalo Common Council stating the program discriminates against minority and economically depressed communities.
"Just because a school speed zone camera is located by a school that might be in a minority community, that doesn’t mean that those are the majority of people that are driving past that school zone," Brown said and he added that 48 percent of the citations issues so far have been to non-city residents.
The common council had asked the Brown administration to suspend the school zone program while concerns were addressed. Brown has fervently resisted those calls and tells WBEN the council voted on and passed the program and even determined the speed limit for the program.
In further defending the program, Brown said the overall speeds being driven in the city are down and that can have a long term positive impact on insurance rates in the city. Brown plans to make a case for reducing insurance rates as they are $150 higher than the national average.
Flashing beacons are reactivated and the 15 MPH speed limit will be enforced in the 18 following school safety zones:
• Bennett Park Montessori, 342 Clinton St.
• Buffalo Promise Neighborhood Children’s Academy, 3149 Bailey Ave.
• Canisius High School, 1180 Delaware Ave.
• Dr. Blackman School, 2358 Main St.
• Eve School, 453 Leroy Ave.
• Grabiarz School/West Hertel, Military & Lawn / Military & Hertel Ave.
• Harvey Austin School, 1405 Sycamore St.
• Houghton Academy, 1725 Clinton St.
• Hutch Tech/ Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy, 256 Elmwood Ave. / 315 Carolina St.
• Lewis J. Bennett School, 2885 Main St.
• Olmsted School, 319 Suffolk St.
• Makowski School, 1095 Jefferson Ave.
• McKinley School, 1500 Elmwood Ave.
• Nichols School, 1250 Amherst St.
• Notre Dame Academy/Discovery School, 911 Abbott Road / 1125 Abbott Road
• Performing Arts, 450 Masten Ave.
• Porter School/ DaVinci School, 255 Porter Ave. / 320 Porter Ave.
• St. Joseph University School, 3275 Main St.
Beacons will be flashing throughout the school day in each of these locations to make motorists aware of the 15 MPH speed limit during school hours. The school zone speed limit is in effect for the hours posted on the signage at each of the sites