DENVER (CBS4)– There are still six weeks left in 2019, but the number of traffic deaths in Denver is already higher than in 2018. City officials report there were 61 people killed on Denver roads last year, but as of Oct. 24, there have been 64 traffic deaths.
On Sunday, the Denver Streets Partnership and the City of Denver organized a candlelight vigil for World Day of Remembrance at Civic Center Park. The purpose was to honor victims of traffic crashes and their families while reaffirming the city’s commitment to making the streets safer.
Attendees tied ribbons to ghosts bikes and watched as city leaders lit 235 candles, representing the lives lost on Denver streets since 2016.
Among the people concerned with traffic safety was Traci Carpenter, whose aunt, Nancy Condit, was hit and killed by a distracted driver in July of 2018.
“It was horrible,” Carpenter said. “Nancy was like a sister to us. She wasn’t married, she didn’t have kids, so she was a big part of our family.”
Dominique Cain, 33, pleaded guilty in February to a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving death. According to Carpenter, Cain was speeding and distracted at the time of the crash.
Condit’s Family has since closed her art studio. Now, they sell her art on postcards to raise money for cyclist safety via their website Sand Dollar Cards.
“We’re scared to be biking in neighborhood,” Carpenter said. “We’re scared to walk; we’re scared to bike our kids to school.”
Denver’s solution to traffic violence is the Vision Zero Action Plan – an ongoing initiative to eliminate traffic deaths by 2030.
“We’re asking people to help by not driving distracted, by wearing their seat belts, by slowing down,” said Nancy Kuhn, Director of Public Information for Denver Public Works.
On Sunday, Vision Zero’s Director, City Council members and the Denver Police Chief assured a concerned crowd that changes are still being made.
“They’re going to see more things in the roadways, such as bollards, paint, protected bikeways, transit lanes,” said Kuhn.
As part of Vision Zero, the city has already lowered speed limits on several roads and added protected bikeways, among other initiatives.
“For me, I just want changes quickly so this doesn’t happen again,” Carpenter said.
The ghost bikes displayed during Sunday’s vigil will remain in place for one week. You can go see them at the Voorhies Memorial on the North side of Civic Center Park.