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City Hallways (May 20) How did you get to work on Bike to Work Day?


Bike to Work Day
I stopped by the Medical Campus where there was a morning press conference on biking to work since it's Bike to Work Day. Matt Enstice, Medical Campus president, was there with his bike helmet in hand. He doesn't usually bike to work, but said he did bike in today from his home near Delaware Park.

Mayor Byron Brown was there too. Brown biked over to the press conference from City Hall last year, but not this time. He had too busy a morning schedule-wise, and this year's press conference may have been at a different time than last year's, he said.

While I was there, I talked a bit with Enstice about the Fruit Belt parking situation. Enstice, not surprisingly, encourages Medical Campus employees to bike  - or take some means of transportation other than a car - to work. I'll have more on that in my next post.

Brown's last press conference
Typically, after Mayor Brown calls the media to his office for a specific announcement, he'll end the session by first taking "on topic" questions then "off-topic" ones.  (Off-topic is  basically any topic other than the topic of the press conference.)

That's what happened earlier this week when, after making an announcement about the upcoming police exam, Brown was hit with a barrage of unrelated questions.

Media: There's been some criticism of your proposal to reward Buffalo public school students for good attendance by giving them computer tablets. Better use the money to hire a truant office, it's been said. Any response?

Brown: "In a $494 million budget, $60,000  isn't a back-breaker," referring to the amount of money to be spent on computer tablets for 200 students and gift cards for their  parents.

"There are many children that attend school in the district that are living in poverty. This was designed to encourage them to continue good attendance - those who have good attendance; those who have greatest improvement in attendance."

Also, Brown said, it would help address the "digital divide" between those whose families can, and those whose families cannot, afford computer equipment.

Media: What's your position on the proposal for a 23-story apartment  building at the site of the former Freezer Queen?

Brown: "I am open to the project."

Media:  Do you have any concerns?

Brown: "In general, I'm not taking  positions when a project is going through the process.  I received a briefing.  I am very open to the  project."

Media: There have been reports of late response times by the city's ambulance service, Rural/Metro.

Brown: The city is "absolutely concerned."

Brown noted Rural/Metro is in the process of being purchased by a national company. "We know that there is a transition period between the two companies," he said.

Nonetheless, Brown  said, Buffalo won't tolerate slow response time. The city's fire commissioner and EMS board are monitoring the situation. There has been some improvement, he said.

(Rural/Metro issued a statement to the media saying the company is taking aggressive action and is near compliance on its response times.)


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