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Friday, March 31, 2023

The mayor swings heavily on pedestrian safety near schools and cannabis businesses

There’s a lot to like about Mayor Eddie Sundquist’s State of the City address—and one thing deserves special attention.

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Sundquist mentioned focusing on something called Vision Zero in an effort to reduce the number of accidents near city schools. The Vision Zero effort is the kind of all-around effort that could do some good — for a price. A case study from New York City showed that the city invested money to re-engineer problem intersections and lanes, new street lighting in dimly lit areas, road markings, and speed bumps installed in problem areas, installation of new traffic lights and installation of new pedestrian dividers. The program also came with speed cameras.

The city’s embrace of Vision Zero will likely be much like the city’s embrace of full streets, with a lot more work to be done as roads for repair work appear on the city’s annual schedule or private projects paid for through state Department of Transportation grant money.

While we’ll never be fans of speed cameras, especially given the issues noted with the system installed and then removed in the Buffalo, the Vision Zero is a versatile approach that has a greater chance of success than using speed cameras alone. Council members and the general public should give a chance to this idea.

Sundquist also indicated a focus next year on embracing the cannabis industry that is expected to start growing in New York state this year and working on the lower Chadakoin River. Both are projects that can benefit the city in different ways. Sundquist has been optimistic, in particular, about the economic benefits of marijuana in areas of the city where reinvestment has proven difficult. City administrations have been working for years to unleash the economic potential of the Chadaquin River for tourism and recreation.

Accomplishing one of these items would be a major achievement for Sundquist given the work required. Give the mayor credit for making big swings when he sees a floor he can hit.

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