City of Rochester Considers Lower Speed Limit, Asks Drivers to Sign Pledge

Nov 15, 2016

Just hours after the death of a 4-year old boy who was struck by a vehicle on Parsells Avenue, the city of Rochester announced the citywide expansion of an initiative aimed at improving traffic safety.

The Pace Car Traffic Calming effort started as a pilot program in the Southeast Quadrant.

It asks drivers to sign a pledge to obey the speed limit and yield to pedestrians. They then get a sticker to put on the back of their car to let other drivers know they'll be slowing down.

"If we could promote a culture of responsible driving in our city - a culture of courtesy - we would all be a lot safer," said Mayor Lovely Warren.

Michael Tomb represents a Southeast Rochester neighborhood group called Highland Park Neighborhood Placemaking Team.

He says they decided to adopt the Pace Car program after doing some research.

"The most sobering statistic we encountered is that the difference between 30 and 25 miles per hour usually determines whether a pedestrian, especially a child, survives an accident or is killed."

The city of Rochester is considering petitioning the state for permission to lower the speed limit to 25 miles an hour citywide.

"Some neighborhood associations were looking at just their neighborhood,” said Warren. “That would be too cumbersome for us to do it that way, but there is a way we can ask the state for approval to reduce the speed limit and give the city of Rochester, or City Council the power to reduce the speed limit."

Warren noted that speed bumps, while effective, are not allowed on some streets because accommodations have to be made for emergency vehicles.

The mayor made the announcement Tuesday morning in front of Lake Tower on Lake Avenue, a heavily traveled road that has been the site of several deadly accidents this year alone.

Charlene Thompson has lived at Lake Tower for 10 years. She frequently sees vehicles speeding by and has witnessed at least two fatal accidents involving pedestrians.

"They need to have a traffic light or something to go across to the health center, 'cause a lot of people are in wheelchairs,” Thompson said. “Some people can't walk fast. They go down to the corner light; that light changes fast. You can barely get across the street in a wheelchair or a walker."

Mayor Warren said the Rochester Police Department will be stepping up traffic enforcement efforts.

She said safer streets lead to more vibrant streets, which in turn makes it easier to create more jobs, more vibrant neighborhoods, and better educational opportunities in our schools.