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Seeking to slow down Parkside speeders

Frequent complaints about lead-footed drivers along Parkside Avenue by the Buffalo Zoo and Delaware Park may soon diminish with new speed readers that are being introduced by police to encourage motorists to slow down.

The solar-powered traffic-control units alert motorists to exactly how fast they are traveling. The speed limit is 30 mph.

Unveiled Friday by Mayor Byron W. Brown and Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda, the units are in response to years of complaints from Parkside residents.

Operating in “stealth” mode for the last two weeks, the devices, strapped to light poles, have collected data showing a majority of motorists along that stretch of Parkside, close to the Scajaquada Expressway, are violating the speed limit with speeds of anywhere from 32 mph to above 60 mph.

“Visitors to our city and residents of the Parkside neighborhood will be receiving a message from the sun that projects their speed,” Brown said. “It’s a proven technology that shows there is a traffic-calming effect. Once motorists see how fast they are going, they slow down.”

The units, Brown added, do not contain cameras that record license plates, resulting in speeding tickets.

But, there is a catch.

Speeding data collected by the devices, Derenda said, will be analyzed over the next month to determine when motorists most frequently speed.

Then, a detail of police officers armed with radar guns will be assigned to the stretch.

“Speeding has been a source of complaints along this road for years even though we have had traffic details here,” Derenda said.

The northbound speed reader is situated by the Florence Avenue intersection of Parkside and the southbound device is near the intersection of West Oakland Place.

When the sun isn’t shining, the devices, which cost $4,150, are powered by batteries, which can operate up to two weeks without recharging.

Because the portable units are easy to install, they will be relocated to other areas of the city where speeding is a problem, said the mayor, who added that four more units are on order.