DENVER (CBS4) – Green signs have appeared on street corners throughout the City of Denver. The sign at Colfax Avenue and Osage Street reads: “Ethan Small was killed on Denver streets in a preventable traffic crash.”
There are 87 more signs like Ethan’s for 87 more fatalities.
“We put signs at every location of a fatal crash that happened since January (of 2018). There are 88 people who have died in preventable traffic crashes. Thirty were walking, six were on bikes,” said Jill Locantore, Executive Director of WalkDenver. The remaining deaths were people inside vehicles.
Locantore placed more signs Wednesday morning that say “Slow the Funk Down.” They lined the route of this year’s annual Ride & Walk of Silence on Wednesday.
The event commemorated the lives lost to traffic crashes on Denver streets. People gathered at Denver’s City & County Building, then used various modes of transportation to get to Sunken Gardens Park.
Council members read the names of every person who died on their respective district’s streets last year.
“I experience close calls every day,” said Locantore, an avid cyclist. “There are some streets that are safe and comfortable to bike on, but a lot of the destinations I’m trying to get to are on major streets like Speer. There’s no bike lane.”
In 2018, Denver’s Vision Zero program brought the installation of more than 19 miles of new bike lanes and four new pedestrian signal crossings. The goal is zero traffic deaths by 2030, but despite their efforts, the numbers are going up.
“It’s an average of at least one person per week,” said Locantore.
The city had 59 traffic deaths in 2018. So far, 26 people have died on Denver streets in 2019.
“We’re all responsible for each other’s safety. We all share this space on Denver’s city streets and we need to look out for each other,” said Locantore.