DENVER — The speakers took turns reading the names out loud.
“Victor Barela... killed while walking.”
“Nicholas Tucker... killed while riding a motorcycle.”
The list was long.
“Ruben Vargas... killed while walking.”
“Phillip Abeyta... killed while walking.”
Wednesday night, city leaders and community members held a vigil for people killed walking, biking, or driving on Denver’s streets.
“Unfortunately, 88 people have died since January 2018, and that is just unacceptable,” said Danny Katz, with the Denver Streets Partnership.
“The only acceptable number of deaths on our streets is zero, and we're not going to stop until we get there.”
That’s the idea behind Denver’s Vision Zero program, an effort to reduce traffic-related deaths and serious injuries to zero by 2030.
“These are deaths we can prevent by designing our streets safer, by reducing the speeds on a lot of streets where pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars are all interacting,” Katz said. “There’s a lot of things we have in our control and that’s why we are shining a spotlight on people who have been impacted and the things we can do to make our streets safer.”
The vigil started with a ride and walk of silence through downtown Denver. Participants carried signs with the name of the victims. They started at the City and County Building and ended at Sunken Gardens Park where the names were read out loud.
“It’s easy to talk about the statistics and the numbers,” said Michelle Roche. She said her son, Cole Sukle, was killed in 2016 when a drunk driver hit him on his skateboard.
“It’s really important, in my opinion, that each one of the 88 people honored tonight are people. They have names, they have families. They are somebody’s child, or brother or sister or parent or loved one,” she said.
David Ramirez was one of the lucky ones who survived a crash.
“I was out jogging and I got hit by a car who didn’t stop for a stop sign as I was in the intersection in crosswalk,” he said. Ramirez wore an arm sling Wednesday night, as he walked alongside other families.
People gathered in Sunken Gardens Park, inside a circle created by the posters with victim’s names.
“We all responsible for each other,” a speaker told the crowd.
“And we must slow down, pay attention, and support solutions that save lives.”
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