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'Remembrance Wall' at Union Station honors people hurt, killed in traffic crashes

The installation, which will be open through Nov. 21, comes just days after yet another fatal traffic crash in DC.

WASHINGTON — A “remembrance wall” has been set up in D.C.’s Union Station to honor people impacted by traffic crashes.

The installation, which was set up in advance of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on Nov. 21, is covered with names of people who have either been killed or have had their lives dramatically altered by traffic violence. Passersby are encouraged to write additional names on the installation’s chalkboard.

DC Families for Safe Streets and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Street Smart Program helped create the installation.

“We felt it was incredibly important to have the remembrance wall put up in a space where we can honor and remember our loved ones that have been impacted by traffic violence,” said Volunteer Co-Chair Christy Kwan. “So, that includes people who have been fatally struck by cars as well as those who have survived serious crashes.”

Kwan added that it was important to set up the installation following the pandemic.

“The remembrance wall really came out of an idea for the need for us to continue to support each other and remember loved ones,” she said. “During the pandemic, a lot of us were processing our grief and trauma in isolation and we still haven’t got to really gather together to have a big event to talk through what it’s like to experience traffic violence.”

The installation will stay up through Sunday.

According to the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, the World Day of Remembrance is a 16-year-old international event honoring the 1.35 million people killed on roads throughout the world.

“This year’s World Day of Remembrance takes on extra urgency as the number of people dying and severely injured in preventable traffic crashes in the U.S. is rising at an alarming rate,” a WABA statement reads.

The installation was set up just days after, yet another person was killed on a D.C. street. Nina Larson died after a driver in an SUV hit and killed her on Columbia Road NW in the District’s Adams Morgan neighborhood Saturday. 

The case, which has once again brought attention to traffic safety in D.C., is still being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department.

Following that death, the planning, transportation, and zoning subcommittee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1C held a meeting Wednesday night.

At that meeting, the subcommittee moved to pass a resolution calling for the installation of raised crosswalks, rectangular rapid flashing beacons, and other traffic calming measures on the 1800 block of Columbia Road NW. That is the location where Larson died.

“ANC 1C urges DDOT to not wait until a vulnerable road user is killed before making similar changes in Adams Morgan and throughout the city, especially in the neighborhoods that see the highest numbers of pedestrian fatalities,” the resolution reads.

The resolution also urges the D.C. Auditor to include analysis of fatal crashes as part of its audit of D.C.’s Vision Zero Initiative.

Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau also recently called for changes to address traffic safety concerns in the District.

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