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World Day of Remembrance 2021: Honoring the Lives Lost to Traffic Crashes in Denver

Denver Honors Victims of Traffic Crashes with Candlelight Vigil and Temporary Art Installation

Candles lit for each life lost in 2021 to a traffic crash in Denver

Representatives of the Denver Streets Partnership and City and County of Denver held a candlelight vigil on Sunday, November 21, to honor victims of traffic crashes in Denver. The vigil coincides with the United Nations World Day of Remembrance for victims of road traffic crashes and their families - a day adopted by UN resolution in 2005.

Since announcing its commitment to becoming a Vision Zero city in 2016, 378 people have been killed in traffic crashes in Denver, including 74 people (as of Nov 21) in 2021. Each life was honored with a candle at the vigil.

Denver’s Vision Zero Program, which acknowledges that traffic deaths are preventable, aims to eliminate fatal and serious injury crashes in the city by 2030. The Vision Zero Action Plan calls upon Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to implement safety treatments on its streets with the most vulnerable roadway users in mind, including those who walk and bike. Changes being made on city streets include the installation of traffic calming measures, safer pedestrian crossings, intersection improvements and better bike lanes.

While Denver works to redesign its streets to make them safer, we also ask the public to embrace safe driving behaviors, including driving sober, eliminating distractions, wearing seatbelts, and following the rules of the road, particularly speed limits. Speed is a primary contributor to the severity of traffic crashes and increases a person’s risk of serious injury and death in a crash.

For several weeks in November, a banner encouraging people to slow down was installed on a bridge behind the Denver Wastewater Management Building, visible from I-25. The banner was designed by Allison Ramirez of Set Forth Creative.

The banner at the site of the Denver Wastewater Management Building as seen from the S Platte Bike Trail

Statement from the artist, Allison Ramirez:

As an artist, I aim to create art that expresses the voices and perspectives of those that do not feel seen or heard. This project with Vision Zero is an amazing opportunity to support those who have been affected by traffic incidents, as well as their loved ones, who want to share their story. It's important to me to bring awareness to the need for safer driving and I'm so humbled I have been able to do that with Vision Zero and Denver's DOTI department. This design was greatly inspired by the streets of the city of Denver, itself. The elements within the banner are meant to reflect road signs, crosswalks, skyscrapers, geometric street art, and even the setting the banner is placed in - the bridge and its architecture. I'm thankful to be able to support the families of those who have been victims of driving incidents, and to Vision Zero for their contributions to that community, as well.

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