Car crash in Highland Park Neighborhood

Guest essay submitted by: Michael Tomb & Marcia Zach, Highland Park residents… 

Dear Friends,

As many of you are aware, because of a crash near the intersection of Meigs & Linden, in 2009, we created the HPNA Traffic Calming team which eventually became “The Highland Placemaking Team”. We came up with a plan for traffic calming in the area of our playground and, although quite a few items were implemented, many of the safety related traffic calming features were not because of County resistance, City policy and other things.

Car crash in Highland Park NeighborhoodOur intent was to avoid something as what JUST happened in my neighbor’s front yard.  No children should have to witness such a scene in their front yard while waiting for the school bus. I am thankful we avoided (barely!) a major heart-wrenching tragedy, but it was NOT because of this driver’s fear of the consequences of being so careless. It was only a matter of timing that prevented something much worse from occurring.  You and I both know we need to do better.

We are also both saddened and absolutely outraged the driver was NOT ticketed.  Maybe  I am bit ashamed of my city as well.  My assessment after working on matters of traffic calming in Rochester has actually been to expect that kind of response from law enforcement.  Indeed, I have been telling friends that if a person desires to damage property and and even kill innocent bystanders, in order to face the fewest number of consequences, the car IS your weapon of choice. It wasn’t always that way… the tolerance for irresponsible driving was a hard -earned privilege.

So, I wish to express my continued concern on behalf of my neighbors that we  truly need to make our neighborhood streets safe for our pedestrians and children. This is not the only incident recently.  It has regressed in my opinion, to the point that I think drivers have less respect for traffic laws than a decade ago.  I’ll bet that there has NOT been a driver ticketed for speeding on Meigs or running this stop sign over that period.  Well, if you knock down the Stop Sign, drag it down the block into people’s yards and eventually drive away without a ticket…maybe we should call the parking people next time for the offense of parking on the sidewalk for an hour?  Please explain exactly the reason that no ticket was issued. 

Car crash in Highland Park Neighborhood

Even within sight of this accident, with police lights flashing, drivers continued to run the intersection from the three directions where a Stop Sign still stood.   I have to admit that despite numerous accomplishments since 2009, our discouragement at this moment is greater than when we first began.  As is my resolve to enact real change. So we are not looking for another website or another proclamation or more lectures or more stickers promoting Safe Driving (especially when drivers in employ of the City itself do NOT follow the simple rule themselves – More on that soon.)

Traffic Calming Plan for Highland Park Neighborhood

We will be scheduling a meeting of our [neighborhood] team. We will work with you. And together we will make the streets around one of the most popular playgrounds in our city safer.  As a start, everything in our original plan should be viewed as back on the table. 

Michael Tomb and Marcia Zach


  1. I met Michael Tomb when I lived in Rochester. He struck me (no pun intended) as a solid guy and good neighborhood leader. I’ll be rooting for these folks!

    One note: when I lived in the Neighborhood of the Arts we used to joke about our neighborhood’s obsession with traffic calming, which informed the planning of the ARTWalk. The HP Neighborhood may find some folks there who would be allies in this battle.

    “Guerrilla traffic engineering” may get you in some hot water with City Hall, but it will also get their attention 🙂

  2. ‘Even within sight of this accident, with police lights flashing, drivers continued to run the intersection…’

    And right there is a huge problem, the Rochester police force is useless in actually enforcing traffic laws. I never see the police actually on the streets catching speeders, or people that don’t stop at stop signs. I do see them driving without their lights on in the pitch dark and going through stop signs themselves. Why would anyone else follow the rules when the police don’t?

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