Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday issued an executive order for the state Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit on the Scajaquada Expressway to 30 mph following Saturday's tragic vehicle accident that claimed the life of a 3-year-old boy and left his 5-year-old sister in critical condition.
Cuomo directed New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald to install speed messaging boards, and construct park-appropriate guard rails to protect pedestrians. Crews had already installed new speed limit signs late Sunday afternoon.
The governor says he is "deeply saddened" by the accident and his administration "will continue to take every available action we can through engineering, education and enforcement to avoid crashes like this in the future."
Cuomo sent the following letter to the commissioner on Sunday:
Dear Commissioner McDonald:
I am deeply saddened to learn of the tragic car crash in Buffalo on Saturday that claimed the life of a young child and severely injured another.
While law enforcement agencies are still investigating the circumstances surrounding this terrible crash, it is clear that immediate action needs to be taken to improve safety for motorists and pedestrians on the portion of the Scajaquada Expressway that passes through Delaware Park.
For this reason, I direct you to immediately lower the speed limit on this section of the roadway to 30 mph, install speed messaging boards, and construct park-appropriate guard rails to protect pedestrians.
These actions are to be taken as the Department of Transportation continues to investigate long-term solutions to prevent further tragedies on this part of the Expressway.
This administration will continue to take every available action we can through engineering, education and enforcement to avoid crashes like this in the future.
Andrew M. Cuomo
Saturday's accident, where a vehicle crossed over from the expressway into a crowded area on a pleasant spring day where many pedestrians were enjoying a day at the park, drew immediate calls for a lowering of the speed limit along a stretch of road where many vehicle routinely travel 60 mph.
For years, critics have called the close proximity of the highway to the busy park without guardrails a recipe for disaster. They called for a speed limit reduction or for the road to be converted to a low-speed parkway.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown addressed the tragedy at a news conference Sunday afternoon.