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Buffalo Council members call for crackdown on speeding, broken sidewalks after death of baby on Moselle Street

Buffalo Common Council members are calling for a crackdown on speeding and other traffic violations in the wake of the death last month of an infant struck by a car while in a stroller on Moselle Street.

Councilman David A. Franczyk, of the Fillmore District, also expressed concern over the condition of sidewalks on parts of the East Side residential street, making it, he said, difficult to walk a baby stroller on them.

The Council member noted that when he was campaigning on Moselle last year, he was forced to walk in the street because of sidewalk conditions in front of some vacant properties where houses had been demolished.

He blamed contractors for damaging, and not repairing, sidewalks.

“I walked the entire length of Moselle,” Franczyk recalled Tuesday. “I would say probably on five occasions, I had to walk in the street. It was impossible to walk on sidewalks.”

Franczyk said that police are still investigating the death of Nyree Anderson. The circumstances that led to the 7-month-old’s death have not yet been determined, he said

The baby’s mother and the mother’s aunt had just stepped out of the aunt’s home on Moselle, and down from the curb into the street, when they were struck by a car, police said.

The mother and aunt were knocked down but survived. The baby girl was killed.

Franczyk said Tuesday that police are investigating the possibility that the driver dropped something inside the car and that when he went to pick it up, the car possibly swerved, and hit the women and the stroller.

But whether that is the case or not, Franczyk and other Council members said, cars routinely speed down Moselle.

“People should not be speeding in the city,” Franczyk said.

“It’s just ridiculous,” said University Council Member Rasheed N.C. Wyatt. “We don’t want another tragedy.”

Franczyk introduced a resolution, unanimously approved Tuesday, asking the city Police Department to step up enforcement on Moselle and other streets to address speeders and other traffic violators.

The resolution also asked the city to consider putting a stop sign on Moselle near Frankfort Avenue in an effort to slow traffic.

Franczyk also called on the city to ensure demolition contractors repair in a timely manner any sidewalks they damage or destroy.

The Council member noted that he brought the issue up last year, following the election.

Franczyk said he gave a list of damaged sidewalks to the city’s Department of Public Works, Parks and Streets. Franczyk said that many of the sidewalks were damaged a while ago and that it’s not clear whether the city will be able to establish contractor responsibility at this point. The city is now doing a better job overseeing demolition contractors than it did in years past, Franczyk said.

The Council member said that if the contractor cannot be forced to repair the sidewalks, he’s like to see the city make the repairs.

Franczyk said he understands the demand for sidewalk repair in Buffalo is so great that it all can’t be done at once, but Franczyk said he would like to see the city find a way to get the sidewalks repaired.

Public Works Commissioner Steven J. Stepniak told Franczyk that he would discuss with the city’s Law and Permit and Inspection Services departments the issue of demolition contractors damaging sidewalks.

Stepniak also said his department could get a list of demolition sites, and inspect sidewalk conditions.

Public Works officials also said the city just received an additional $932,000 in grant funds to help repair city streets and sidewalks.

email: schulman@buffnews.com