To raise awareness and memorialize victims of traffic wrecks, community organizations will place cardboard silhouettes throughout Seattle on Sunday.
In the past 10 years, about 240 people have died on Seattle streets in traffic.
Family members, city officials and first responders gathered Thursday at City Hall to remember them during World Day of Remembrance, a United-Nations-affiliated event to commemorate traffic victims.
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, a street-safety advocacy organization, organized the event. On Sunday, neighborhood community organizations will place 4-foot-tall, white silhouettes made of poster board at 212 locations where someone was killed.
Placing silhouettes on Sunday
Here’s where neighborhood meetings to place the silhouettes will be held Sunday.
Ballard/Aurora/Fremont: 12 p.m. at Peddler Brewing Company, 1514 N.W. Leary Way
Beacon Hill/Mt. Baker: 10 a.m. at The Station, 2533 16th Ave. S.
Central/Capitol Hill: 12 p.m. at Victrola Coffee Roasters, 310 E. Pike St.
Crown Hill/Broadview: 12 p.m. at Holy Grounds, 9000 Holman Way N.W.
Downtown/Belltown: 10 a.m. at Uptown Espresso, 2504 Fourth Ave.
Lake City/Northgate: 10 a.m. at Kaffeeklatsch, 12513 Lake City Way N.E.
Queen Anne/Magnolia: 10 a.m. at Starbucks, 2135 Queen Anne Ave. N.
Ravenna/Roosevelt: 10 a.m. at Third Place Cafe, 6504 20th Ave. N.E.
West Seattle: 10 a.m. at Ampersand Café, 2536 Alki Ave. S.W.
Rainier Valley: 10:15 a.m. at Bike Works warehouse, 3711 S. Hudson St.
Duwamish Valley: 12 p.m. at Oxbow Park, 6430 Corson Ave. S.
“Every one is a precious life, and a person that has died on our streets,” said Cathy Tuttle, executive director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.
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The remaining silhouettes “can’t be put up because it’s too dangerous” in the locations where those people died, Tuttle said.
It was a somber event. Family members shared their grief and recalled the painful aftermath after a loved one was killed in traffic.
Writu Kakshapati told the crowd about Sandhya Khadka, the family friend she considered her “little sister,” whom she described as a “positive, radiant person” who “could connect with people on a deeper level.”
Kakshapati recounted the “grueling few hours in the dark” that Sandhya’s father, Sahadev Khadka, spent searching for his daughter after she didn’t respond to text messages. The 17-year-old student at North Seattle College had been killed earlier that day when a pickup struck her in Seattle’s Pinehurst neighborhood in 2014.
Sandhya’s mother, Ranju Khadka, said she was sick for two months after her death.
“My baby is gone,” she said.
After the collision, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) put in a crosswalk at the intersection of Northeast 115th Street and Fifth Ave Northeast. The family would also like to see a stop sign or stoplights installed at the busy intersection.
Dan Schulte, in a letter read aloud by a family friend, thanked first responders and community members for their support after his parents were killed by a drunken driver in a Wedgwood crosswalk in 2013. Schulte’s then-infant son and his wife were left with lifelong brain injuries, he wrote, but have made strides in recovery.
“Even when the world explodes on you, there can be a great light that follows,” Schulte wrote. “For us, that light was the grace and community that build around us.”
The city of Seattle aims to end traffic deaths and significant injuries by 2030. Twenty-one people were killed in traffic last year and 135 were seriously injured, according to the city’s collision database.
“We’re on the right track,” said Jim Curtin, a transportation planner leading the city effort for SDOT. “We know we can do better. We must do better.”