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Group pushes for 25 mph limit on city streets

A children's advocacy group is asking the City of Rochester to lower the speed limit on neighborhood streets from 30 miles per hour to 25.

That's the proposal from the Healthi Kids Coalition, a group that advocates for healthier, more active children in Rochester.

Healthy Communities Project Coordinator Mike Bulger says his group found that parents are reluctant to let their kids go near city streets because of the traffic.

"Hearing time and time again that speeding vehicles and traffic safety are one of the biggest barriers that parents face when they want to let their kids go out and play or walk or bike to school," he said.

Bulger says research shows that five mile per hour difference can be a life saver.

"A car traveling 30 miles per hour takes a lot longer to stop than a car traveling 25 miles per hour.  It also takes longer for a driver who's traveling 30 miles per hour to see and react to danger," he said.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren says she supports the idea and has contacted state representatives about doing an analysis about lowering the city speed limit to 25.

"Especially in the last couple of weeks, the number of accidents and other things that have been happening that have been tragic in our community, I'm not sure if it's due to speed or anything like that, but I think that we have to make sure that we're doing everything to keep our residents safe," she said.

Rochester Police Chief Mike Ciminelli adds that lowering the speed limit is something that would require serious study by traffic engineers and other experts.

"However I would be supportive the right experts looking at anything that would render our city streets safer." he said.

There is legislation pending in Albany that would give the city permission to lower the speed limit.

State Assemblyman Harry Bronson says he has met with a number of neighborhood associations throughout his district and the city, and they are all concerned about the increased level of traffic and people speeding.

"So I introduced a piece of legislation that would authorize the city of Rochester to reduce the speed limit as far down as 25 miles per hour," he said.

Bronson says if the state is going to act on the measure, the city has to send a Home Rule message. 

City Council would have to vote on a resolution calling on the legislature to pass the bill that Bronson has introduced in the Assembly and Joe Robach has introduced in the Senate.