I work in Hamburg and live in Buffalo, and I am frequently asked how can I live in that crime-ridden city. The reality is that although there are a few obvious areas of danger, on the whole the city is safe.
Here are a few simple ideas that would not only make the city more livable but would generate income as well.
Enforce sidewalk shoveling in the winter. Tremendous amounts of money were spent to install special curbs, yet for three or four months each year the elderly and handicapped are trapped in their houses because this law is not enforced. Have the traffic enforcers ticket the houses that have not shoveled within a certain length of time after a snowstorm. The ticket could be automatically applied to the property taxes of that house.
Put in pedestrian crosswalks. Streets such as Elmwood Avenue and Chippewa Street would benefit greatly from this, as would other areas that need to control the speed of traffic.
Set up random speed traps on the side streets and the Delaware S-curves. How odd it seemed after spending money to repave Delaware Avenue that the city wanted to straighten out the curves. The problem isn't the street -- it's the drivers. Kenmore is known for giving speeding tickets -- why can't Buffalo get the same reputation?
Give people an incentive to recycle. Rather than charging everyone a tax on garbage, why not reward those who recycle by establishing drop-off points around the city? Those who are interested can bring their recyclables and get money refunded from the tax.
Upgrade the existing train lines from the suburbs to establish an active public transportation system. This would decrease the number of cars on our highways and reduce the amount of money that is spent on road repairs. Special trains could be set up during sporting events that would bring people downtown and return them home after the event. This would also help eliminate some drinking and driving.
Move the Botanical Gardens greenhouse from South Buffalo to Delaware Park. One has only to look at the crowds flocking to the new greenhouse and butterfly exhibit in Canada to see how interested people are in nature. This could be a big attraction.
Gerald A. Malabre Buffalo