City of Buffalo, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Derived from Art. III of Ch. VII of the Charter and Ordinances, 1974, of the City of Buffalo. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Public utilities — See Art. 26 of the Charter.
Electricity — See Ch. 165.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 413.
It shall be the duty of every corporation, company or individual owning or controlling any telegraph, telephone or electric light wires or cables, or the poles or appliances used in connection therewith, now located in or over any of the streets, alleys or public grounds in the City of Buffalo hereinafter described to remove or cause to be removed from in and above the surface of said streets, alleys and public grounds all such wires, cables or poles and appliances within six months from the enactment of this chapter, and any corporation, company or person who shall refuse, neglect or omit to comply herewith shall forfeit and pay a penalty of not less than $100 nor more than $250 for each and every week he or it shall so refuse, neglect or omit after the expiration of said six months and shall be compelled by mandamus to comply herewith.
The streets and parts of streets, alleys and public grounds to which this chapter relates are as follows: Main Street, Pearl Street and Washington Street between the southerly side of Exchange Street and the northerly side of Chippewa Street, Seneca Street between the westerly side of Pearl Street and the easterly side of Michigan Avenue; and Exchange Street between the westerly side of Main Street and the easterly side of Michigan Avenue.
A. 
The Commissioner of Public Works is hereby authorized and directed to extend the districts defined in § 330-2 of this chapter, not to exceed, in the aggregate, 9,240 feet, street measurement, in the year 1907; not to exceed, in the aggregate, 18,480 feet, street measurement, in the year 1908; not to exceed, in the aggregate, 15,840 feet, street measurement, in the year 1909; and not to exceed, in the aggregate, 10,560 feet, street measurement, each year thereafter. On or before the first day of March in each year, except in the year 1907, said Commissioner shall define the limits of such enlarged district for such year and report the same to the Common Council for its action thereon; and immediately upon the approval or amendment by the Common Council of the enlarged district so reported, said Commissioner of Public Works shall notify each corporation, company or individual maintaining telegraph, telephone or electric light or other wires or cables overhead in any of the streets, alleys, public ways or public grounds in such district to remove such wires, cables and the poles and appliances connected therewith before the first day of January following such notice or such later time as shall be not less than six months from the service thereof. Said notice shall specify date when the work of such removal must be done, which shall be not less than six months from the date of service of the notice. For the year 1907, such enlarged district shall be reported by said Commissioner to the Common Council as nearly as practicable on the first day of June; and after approval or amendment thereof by the Common Council, the notice hereby required to be given by said Commissioner shall be given as nearly as practicable upon the 15th day of June 1907. No person, company or corporation shall be excused from the obligation of removing the wires from overhead in such enlarged district in any year by reason of the failure of said Commissioner to serve the notice hereby required to be given.
B. 
In defining the enlarged district from year to year, said Commissioner shall give preference first to the territory bounded as follows: beginning at the intersection of Chippewa Street and Delaware Avenue; running thence east along Chippewa Street to Washington Street; thence north along Washington Street to the north bounds of Washington Market, thence east along the north bounds of Washington Market to Ellicott Street; thence south along Ellicott Street to Exchange Street; thence west along Exchange Street to the Terrace; thence continuing northwesterly along the Terrace to Delaware Avenue; thence northerly along Delaware Avenue to Chippewa Street at the place of beginning.
C. 
The streets mentioned in Subsection B or in any notice given pursuant thereto shall be deemed included in said territory or in the district defined.
D. 
Upon the completion of the work in the territory last above described, said Commissioner, in defining the enlarged district from year to year, shall give preference to the following described territory: Main Street, from Chippewa Street to Ferry Street; Main Street, from Exchange Street to the Buffalo River; Genesee Street, from Ellicott Street to Fillmore Avenue; Broadway, from Ellicott Street to Fillmore Avenue; William Street, from Michigan Avenue to Fillmore Avenue; Seneca Street, from Ellicott Street to Fillmore Avenue; Perry Street, from Main Street to Chicago Street; Delaware Avenue, from Chippewa Street to Gates Circle; Edward Street, from Main Street to Virginia Street; Elmwood Avenue, from Virginia Street to Forest Avenue; Linwood Avenue, from North Street to Ferry Street Niagara Street, from Niagara Square to Albany Street; South Park Avenue, from Abbott Road to the City line; Michigan Avenue, from Scott Street to Fulton Street; East Market Street, from Scott Street to Fulton Street; West Market Street, from Scott Street to Fulton Street; West Bennett Street, from William Street to Clinton Street; East Bennett Street, from William Street to Clinton Street; Gibson Street, from Broadway to the south bounds of the Broadway Market, Lombard Street, from Broadway to the south bounds of the Broadway Market; provided, however, that said Commissioner shall include in the district last above defined in the notice given for the year 1912 the following streets, which shall be substituted for an approximately equal amount of work in such district as hereinbefore defined and shall not be deemed an additional requirement. Ferry Street, between Niagara Street and Main Street; and Grant Street, between Hampshire Street and Forest Avenue; it being hereby required that all poles and all overhead wires, cables and appliances shall be removed in the year 1912, and all such wires, cables and necessary appliances shall be buried during said year or as soon thereafter as practicable without detriment to the service, and provided that the Commissioner of Public Works shall include in the district defined in the notice given for the year 1916 Jefferson Avenue from Swan Street to East Ferry Street, which shall be substituted for the amount of work for said year in such district as hereinbefore defined and shall not be deemed an additional requirement; and provided, further, that, during the years 1916 and 1917, all overhead wires, cables and appliances remaining in the streets shall be removed from the district bounded as follows: beginning at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and the Buffalo River, running along said river to Main Street, to the Upper Terrace, to Genesee Street and South Elmwood Avenue, to Edward Street, to Main Street, to Goodell Street, to Michigan Avenue, to the Buffalo River and the place of beginning, and provided that the Commissioner of Public Works shall include in the district defined in the notice for the year 1918 Genesee Street, from Jefferson Avenue to Haven Street, and Clinton Street, from Michigan Avenue to Jefferson Avenue, a total of approximately 16,800 feet, street measurement, for the year 1918, and provided that the Commissioner of Public Works shall include in the district defined in the notice for the year 1919 Sycamore Street, from Michigan Avenue to Fillmore Avenue; and Eagle Street, from Michigan Avenue to Jefferson Avenue, a total of approximately 11,700 feet, street measurement, for the year 1919.
Where the Commissioner of Public Works is satisfied that permission for the maintenance of distributing poles on private property cannot be obtained at reasonable expense or they cannot be placed in public alleys, such necessary distributing poles may be erected and maintained in the streets, alleys and public places in locations to be designated by the Commissioner of Public Works. Such permits of the Commissioner shall be subject to revocation by the Common Council.
The refusal or neglect on the part of any corporation, company or individual to comply with the notice of the Commissioner of Public Works herein provided for or with § 330-3 and § 330-4 of this chapter shall subject the offender to the penalty prescribed in § 330-1 of this chapter, and compliance with any such notice shall be enforced, so far as practicable, by the City by mandamus proceedings.
The Commissioner of Public Works is hereby authorized and directed to extend the districts defined in § 330-2 and § 330-3 of this chapter not to exceed 21,120 feet (four miles), street measurement, in the year 1930, and a like amount each year thereafter. For the year 1930, the Commissioner of Public Works shall certify the four miles of streets for that year on or before April 15, 1930, and on or before March 1 in all subsequent years until the year 1981. Thereafter, the Commissioner shall certify the four miles of streets upon three months' prior notice.
Any corporation, company or individual owning or controlling any wires or cables, or the poles or other appliances therefor, which are or may be in and above the surface of any street, alley or public grounds or any part thereof from which the Common Council shall, by ordinance, require that the wires or cables or poles or other appliances therefor be removed may place such wires, cables or other appliances in conduits under the surface of any street or alley or public ground upon compliance with and subject to the following regulations and restrictions:
A. 
Not more than one conduit, other than an electric light conduit, shall be laid in any street, alley or public ground without special permission of the Common Council; and after any corporation, company or individual shall have manifested its intention, as hereinafter provided, of laying a conduit, other than electric light wire conduits, in any street, alley or public ground, no other corporation, company or individual shall place its wires or cables under the surface of such parts of such streets, alleys or public grounds, except upon making some arrangement with the corporation, company or individual first manifesting such intention to enter or use the conduits of such first corporation, company or individual.
B. 
The corporation, company or individual desiring to place a conduit under the surface of any street, alley or public ground or part thereof shall first apply to the Common Council by written petition, signed by the real applicant, which petition shall specify all streets, alleys or public grounds or the parts thereof and the sides and portions thereof proposed to be used and the size of the conduits proposed to be used and the depth of the same as proposed to be placed and shall be accompanied by a map or profile and specification which shall accurately show the proposed location of the conduit with reference to the street and the dimensions and material of the conduit, which map, profile and specification shall, after being finally corrected, be filed and kept in the office of the Division of Engineering. Such application shall at once be referred to the Commissioner of Public Works for approval, and the proposed location shall be changed as shall be directed by the Commissioner of Public Works in his report upon such reference, and such map or profile and specifications shall be altered accordingly and at the expense of the applicant.
C. 
At the time of making application under Subsection B of this section, the applicant shall file with the Comptroller a bond to the City of Buffalo in the penalty and with sufficient sureties in a sum of not less than $100,000, conditioned that no excavation or obstruction will unnecessarily be made, placed or continued and that any excavation or obstruction made or placed in any street, alley or public ground at any time for any purpose whatever by the applicant, his or its agents or servants, contractors or assignees shall be properly guarded by the applicant and that any pavement at any time or for any purpose whatever torn up or displaced by said applicant shall be properly and speedily replaced and shall at all times, for the period of five years thereafter, be kept in proper repair by the applicant and that the applicant will assume and pay all damages for injuries to persons or to the property of any person or corporation, as well as to the City of Buffalo, resulting from or occasioned by or growing out of the laying or constructing of its conduits or the maintenance of the same and shall fully indemnify and save harmless the City of Buffalo from and against all claims, actions or suits at law or in equity of any name or nature for damages to person or property resulting from, occasioned by or growing out of the omission of such applicant or its or his servants, agents, contractors or assignees to properly guard any excavation or obstruction at any time or for any purpose whatever made, placed or caused in any street, alley or public ground or the omission to properly or speedily replace and repave any opening or to keep said repavement in proper repair and that the applicant will pay all expenses of the City in supervising the construction of its conduits or in the doing of any work made necessary by the neglect or refusal of the applicant to construct such conduits in the manner approved by and as directed by the Commissioner of Public Works. Said bond shall contain a further condition that the liability thereunder shall not be deemed to have expired until the filing in the office of the Comptroller of a certificate from the Commissioner of Public Works that the terms thereof have been fully complied with. Such bond shall be renewed from time to time as the Common Council may direct.
D. 
All work proposed to be done by said applicant shall be done under the direction of the Department of Public Works. Said Department of Public Works shall, at the expense of the applicant, employ an inspector or inspectors to have charge of the work of construction. In case said applicant shall neglect or refuse to do and perform such work of construction in a manner satisfactory to and approved by the Department of Public Works, then said Department may require that said work shall be stopped, or it may complete said work in a proper and satisfactory manner and charge the expense thereof to and collect the same from said applicant.
E. 
Any company, corporation or individual so placing its wires underground in any street, alley or public ground of said City shall, upon notice from the City or any of its departments that a local improvement or sewer or water main or branch thereof is to be constructed or repaired in such manner as will necessitate the moving or altering of the conduit or conduits of said company, corporation or individual, move or alter the same at his or its own expense so as to permit the construction or repairing of the improvement where ordered; and should any such person, company or corporation omit to comply with such notice, the conduit or conduits may be altered or moved by the City of Buffalo and the cost and expense thereof recovered from said person, company or corporation.
F. 
No person, company or corporation shall hereafter erect or construct any underground conduits, wires, cables or electrical appliances of any kind in any of the streets, alleys or public grounds of the City of Buffalo without permission of the Common Council so to do, obtained in the manner by this chapter prescribed, under a penalty of $100 for each and every offense; and the Common Council shall have general powers to designate the streets and the location within the streets where any conduits may be laid.
A. 
None of the provisions of this chapter shall affect the right of any individual, company or corporation to erect or maintain wires used for call boxes or burglar alarms where the same are not attached to or connected with poles in any street, alley or public ground, provided that the same shall be run over the tops of buildings or private grounds, except the street crossings.
B. 
Nothing herein contained shall in any manner affect the grants heretofore made by the Common Council to the Bell Telephone Company of Buffalo by resolution of the Common Council April 26, 1880, and adopted April 18, 1887.
Any person, company or corporation, not included in the provisions of § 330-1 of this chapter, desiring to place wires or electrical conductors of any kind in conduits under the surface of any street, alley or public ground shall first apply to the Common Council by petition and in all respects as provided in § 330-7B of this chapter. The same proceedings shall be taken and had with such application as are required by said subsection, and a bond shall be filed in the sum and condition in all respects as provided and required by § 330-7C of this chapter, and all of said subsection shall be applicable thereto. The provisions of § 330-7D, E and F and § 330-8 of this chapter shall also be applicable to such petition, and permission shall be granted to any such person, company or corporation upon the following additional conditions:
A. 
Said applicant shall construct, within eight months after the date of such permission, not less than two miles of the conduit proposed to be laid by such applicant or so much in extent thereof as the Common Council shall, by resolution, determine and direct; and in case of noncompliance with this condition, said applicant shall thereupon forfeit all rights acquired under such grant or permission.
B. 
All underground conduits shall be of sufficient capacity to accommodate the wires of such applicant and all other electrical wires of other companies, except electric light wires in the streets, alleys and public grounds in which permission is asked to lay such conduits. Such conduits shall be of a capacity which shall allow an increase of such electrical wires therein to the extent of at least 50% over the number then in use in said streets, alleys and public grounds.
C. 
All wires belonging to or maintained by the City of Buffalo shall be carried in such conduits free of charge.
D. 
The owners of such other wires as are specified in Subsection B may occupy such conduits upon such terms as may be agreed upon with the petitioner; and in case of a disagreement upon the terms, such terms shall be determined by arbitration as follows: Said applicant shall designate one arbitrator, and said owner or owners of any conduit so applied to shall designate another, and those two shall designate the third; and in case the parties in interest cannot or do not agree upon such third arbitrator or do not designate said two arbitrators, or either of them, within 30 days after the application for such use, the Mayor of the City of Buffalo shall appoint some disinterested citizen and taxpayer of said City as such third arbitrator or shall so appoint all of such arbitrators not designated or agreed upon; and the decision of the majority of said arbitrators as to the terms and conditions of using the conduit or conduits shall be obligatory on both parties and shall constitute the terms and conditions upon which such applying party, other than electric light companies, shall enter, use and occupy said conduit or conduits.
E. 
If permission is asked of said Common Council to lay any conduit in said street, alley or public ground in which the wires owned by the City may be safely carried and where a conduit is already laid down in which space is provided for wires owned or maintained by the City or where a conduit providing such space for such wires of the City is already laid down in the next adjacent parallel street, then said applicant shall pay to the City of Buffalo annually the sum as provided in Chapter 175, Fees, for the right and franchise to lay, construct and maintain such conduits in the streets of said City.
A. 
Any person, company or corporation desiring to place a conduit for electric light wires under the surface of any street, alley or public ground or part thereof within the limits of the City of Buffalo may have such permission upon complying with all the requirements contained in so much, of § 330-7 of this chapter as precedes Subsection B of said section and upon and subject to the following conditions:
(1) 
The person, company or corporation shall construct and lay in the street, alley or public ground conduits of sufficient capacity to accommodate the wires of such applicant and all other electric light wires of other persons, companies or corporations then in use overhead in the street, alley or public ground in which permission is asked to lay such conduit, and the conduit shall be of a capacity which will allow an increase of such electrical wires therein to the extent of at least 50% over the number then in use in such street, alley or public ground at said time.
(2) 
The owner of such other electric light wires as are overhead in the street, alley or public ground or part thereof mentioned in the petition may occupy such conduits upon such terms as may be agreed upon with the petitioner, and in case of a disagreement upon the terms, such terms shall be determined by arbitration as follows: The party desiring to use such conduit shall designate one arbitrator, and the owner of the conduit shall designate another, and the two so designated shall designate a third; and in the case the parties thus empowered cannot or do not agree upon such third arbitrator or the parties in interest do not designate said two arbitrators, or either of them, within 30 days after application shall be made to the owner of the conduit for such use thereof, the Mayor of the City of Buffalo shall appoint some disinterested citizen and taxpayer of said City as such third arbitrator or shall so appoint all of such arbitrators not designated or agreed upon; and the decision of the majority of said arbitrators as to the terms and conditions of using the conduit shall be reduced to writing and signed by the arbitrators or a majority of them and filed with the Comptroller of said City and shall be obligatory upon both parties and shall constitute the terms and conditions upon which the party so desiring to use the conduits of the other may enter, use and occupy such conduit, provided that the owner of any such wires heretofore erected in the street, alley or public ground referred to shall not, by submitting to arbitration as herein provided, incur any liability or obligation thereby unless it shall desire to avail itself of the privilege of entering the conduit.
B. 
It shall not be necessary for any company or corporation to comply with any of the conditions of the sections of this chapter anew that it has already complied with.
C. 
Any grant obtained hereunder shall be subject to such further ordinances as the Common Council may enact.
No telegraph or telephone or electric light wires or poles shall be strung or erected in, upon or over any public street, alley or grounds without permission from the Common Council. All such poles hereafter erected for new lines or to replace other poles shall be placed at such places as shall be designated by the Commissioner of Public Works, and any pole erected without such designation shall be forthwith removed, and the company owning or erecting such pole shall forfeit and pay a penalty of $25.
Whenever any person or corporation shall have received permission to construct and maintain conduits for electric light or other wires in, under and through any public streets, alleys or grounds in the City of Buffalo, and in the work of constructing or maintaining such conduits it shall be necessary to displace or in any way interfere with any street pavement, for the maintenance or repair of which any person or corporation shall have given security or bonds, no work shall be done in said street or streets until the person or corporation owning such conduit shall have filed with the Comptroller and Commissioner of Public Works duplicate consents duly executed by the person or corporation guaranteeing such pavement or repairs, together with the bondsmen who signed such guaranty or bonds, consenting that such pavement may be displaced without in any way releasing said guarantors or bondsmen from their liability to the City for the maintenance and repair of said pavements.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 413, Streets and Sidewalks, Art. XII.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all grants heretofore made to any person or corporation to construct and maintain conduits in, through or under any of the public streets, alleys or grounds in the City of Buffalo where the same are not inconsistent with the express terms of said grants.
A. 
For the sake of convenience, in §§ 330-14 through 330-21 inclusive, electric light and power wires, other than railway wires of a potential not exceeding 700 volts, are termed "Group A wires"; telegraph, telephone and similar wires are termed "Group B wires"; and railway wires of potential not exceeding 700 volts are termed "Group C wires."
B. 
When wires are run horizontally on crossarms from one pole to another, their distance from the center of the pole shall not be less than the following:
(1) 
All Group A wires on straight runs: 15 inches.
(2) 
All Group A wires on curves or corners: 12 inches.
(3) 
Group B wires when attached to the same pole and below Group A or Group C attachments:
(a) 
On straight runs: 15 inches.
(b) 
On curves or corners: 12 inches.
(4) 
Group C attachments when attached to the same pole with and below Group A or B attachments:
(a) 
On straight runs: 12 inches.
(b) 
On curves or corners: nine inches.
A. 
No wires of one group shall be placed on the same crossarm with wires of another group. When Group A and Group B wires, run horizontally from one pole to another, are placed on the same pole, the Group A wires shall occupy the upper position on the pole, and the uppermost crossarm for Group B wires and the uppermost Group B horizontally run cable shall be not less than four feet below the lowest crossarm for Group A wires.
B. 
When Group B and Group C wires, run horizontally from one pole to another, are placed on the same pole, the Group C wires may be placed below the Group B wires, in which case the uppermost Group C crossarm shall be not less than four feet below the lowest crossarm for Group B wires or the lowest horizontally run Group B cable. Where Group C wires are run above Group B wires or other Group B attachments, they shall be placed in accordance with the requirements for Group A wires.
C. 
Horizontally run Group C wires shall always be run below horizontally run Group A wires.
Group A, B and C lead-sheathed cable shall be protected by wooden molding or enclosed within a conduit of solid insulating material wherever such cable shall be run vertically upon the pole between a point not less than 40 inches above and a point not less than six feet below any wire, connection or attachment of another group, except properly run vertical attachments of another group.
No part of any transformer connected to Group A wires shall be placed less than 40 inches above or below Group B wires or attachments, except vertically run Group B attachments. One side of the pole shall be kept clear of transformers to permit free space for climbing.
Each guy attached to a pole on which there are both Group A and Group B attachments or Group B and Group C attachments shall contain a strain insulator, placed not less than six feet from the pole, said distance being measured horizontally. As far as practicable, each strain insulator shall have the following qualifications:
A. 
Mechanical strength equal to the tensile strength of the guy in which it is placed.
B. 
Construction so designed that a rupture of the insulating material shall not result in parting the guy.
C. 
Insulating properties suitable to the voltage of the currents to which the guy is exposed.
Group A or Group C wires must not be placed on the same pole with Group B wires unless the voltage does not exceed the following normal operating values: constant-potential metallic circuits: 5,000 volts; alternating-current series circuits: 5,000 volts; direct-current series circuits: 7,000 volts; and direct-current railway circuits: 700 volts, except that, where alternating- or direct-current series circuits do not exceed seven and one-half (7 1/2) amperes, voltage may be increased to 10,000 volts and that all the abovementioned wires shall be covered when installed with at least a standard weatherproof insulation.
A. 
In all cases where metal ropes or chains are used to raise and lower are lamps, a breaker shall be placed thereon.
B. 
All work performed in the streets or public grounds or public buildings of the City for any public service corporation or other person, firm or corporation upon electric wires of a potential of 440 volts or more shall be done by two linemen, each of whom shall have had at least three years' practical experience upon work of that kind.
Sections 330-14 through 330-20, inclusive, shall apply to all pole lines constructed after this chapter goes into effect and to existing pole lines as they are reconstructed.