On Monday afternoon, there was a recommendation to the Common Council to adopt a resolution asking Albany for authorization to proceed with a one-year pilot program to install red-light cameras in the city.
The pilot program would allow city lawmakers to gather data to help determine if it would even be worth using the technology in Buffalo.
But by Tuesday’s regular business meeting, University District Councilman Rasheed Wyatt said he knew he had lost support from his fellow council members to proceed with the resolution.
His colleagues felt it was a University District issue, Wyatt said. And they felt that voting in favor of the Albany resolution could give their constituents the impression they supported the cameras when the reality is they do not.
So Wyatt pulled the plug on the resolution and didn’t put it up for a vote at Tuesday's meeting.
He said he understands his peers’ position and is working with Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda to come up with other ways to calm traffic in the University District.
While he couldn’t get his colleagues on board, Wyatt has a lot of support for the idea from residents in his district and block clubs.
There’s been a lot of back and forth for a very long time on whether or not the city should install red-light cameras as a way to cut down on speeding and accidents in neighborhoods and to reduce collisions at intersections.
Those who oppose the idea say installing the cameras is a money grab for the city, that the technology won’t make the city safer and that people in lower-income communities would be affected most.
Mayor Byron Brown proposed red-light cameras in 2007, only to run into repeated opposition from the Common Council.
And when Wyatt held a public hearing on the matter in July after a rash of hit-and-run accidents – including three fatalities - dozens of people showed up for the City Hall meeting. Most of them were against the idea. So were most of the 12 speakers.
The Buffalo Preservation Board convenes at 3 p.m. Thursday for a regular business meeting to be held in room 901 in City Hall.
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