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2014 Memorial Walks & Rides: A Year In Review

Wirtu Kakshapati speaks about the loss of Sandhya Khadka and #VisionZero at #Party4OurStreets

Wirtu Kakshapati speaks about the loss of Sandhya Khadka and #VisionZero at #Party4OurStreets

The most moving moments during #Party4OurStreets came as victims of traffic violence, their families, the community leaders who stepped up to organize Memorials and Solutions Meetings and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) staff who responded with safer streets came to the front of the room to stand together and be acknowledged for their dedication to healthier, safer streets.

The Memorial Walks program is one of our most visible ways to bring #VisionZero sensibilities to Seattle streets. Because of this program we have been able to honor 13 victims and their families. We have raised awareness among communities and government so that we are all willing to invest time and money in traffic safety improvements. We intend to expand the outreach for this program by hiring dedicated staff in 2015.

Memorial Walk and Ride Recognition We want to recognize all the individuals who have made significant contributions of time and energy to creating healing and impactful Memorial Walks or Rides and Solution Meetings to honor families and mobilize for safer streets.

  • James St. Clair Memorial Walk: Deb Vandermar, Shukri Olow, Gene Tagaban, and Odin Lonning. James St. Clair was killed legally crossing  35th Ave SW, the 5th fatality of a person walking or biking 35th SW since 2006. High Point Community Council and Tlingit  people joined to bless the life of James St. Clair and pray for traffic safety improvements. SDOT began a multi-year road safety corridor project on 35th Ave SW in 2014.
  • Sandhya Khadka Memorial: Renee Staton, Shraddha Kakshapati, and Wirtu Kakshapati. Sandhya Khadka, 17 years old, was killed legally crossing the street getting to her bus stop at NE 115th and 5th Ave NE on her way to college. Sandhya was the only child and pride of her of her Nepali family. Pinehurst Community Council and Sandhya’s Seattle Nepali community came together to honor her. SDOT has added a marked crosswalk at this high-speed intersection.
  • Rebecca Scollard Memorial Walk: Merlin Rainwater, First Hill Improvement Association, WHEEL\Women in Black, Feet First, Brigid Hagan, Skyline at First Hill, and Harborview Medical Center. Every life matters. Rebecca Scollard, who struggled with homelessness and addiction, was killed legally crossing the street at 9th and James in First Hill. Central Greenways leader Merlin Rainwater brought together a coalition of local groups for the Memorial Walk and Solutions Meeting. SDOT Director Scott Kubly and City Traffic Dongho Chang attended and pledged to improve pedestrian safety in First Hill.
  • Caleb Shoop Memorial Walk: Glen Buhlman, Caron LeMay, Tammy & Ben Shoop, and Janine Blaeloch. 19-year-old Caleb Shoop was killed riding his bicycle legally across an intersection in Kenmore, WA. Kirkland Greenways and Lake City Greenways leaders worked with Caleb’s family to organize a Memorial Walk and Solutions meeting. A reconfigured crosswalk now marks this busy road. Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes are determining whether the Caleb Shoop case can be used to implement the Washington State Vulnerable User Law.
  • Sher Kung Memorial Ride: Jake Vanderplas and Brock Howell. Sher Kung, a new mother and LGBTQ activist lawyer died on 2nd Ave in the bike lane just a week before it was converted to Seattle’s first downtown protected bike lane. West Seattle Greenways Jake Vanderplas and Cascade Bicycle Club Brock Howell worked with the City of Seattle and Sher’s family to organize a moving tribute to Sher Kung and raise awareness about traffic safety and #VisionZero.
  • Zeytuna Edo Vigil Walk: Phyllis Porter, Deb Salls, Mayor Ed Murray, Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Abdul Yusef, and Mohammed Arden. Rainier Valley Greenways, Bike Works, Seattle politicians, and the Somali community rallied around 7-year-old Zeytuna Edo who was hit and critically injured by a speeding driver as she legally crossed the street with her family on MLK Ave S. Zeytuna is slowly recovering. SDOT and the Mayor have pledged to improve traffic safety in the Rainier Vista area. Mayor Ed Murray deserves special appreciation for attending the Vigil Walk and Solutions Meeting for a full 2-hours as the community  met
  • Original Artwork for Memorial Walks: Karen Stocker. Karen is a public artist and therapist who has volunteered for Seattle Neighborhood Greenways since April 2013 to paint heartfelt and eye-catching signs for Memorial Walks. When appropriate, Karen works with families of victims to make art and signs reflecting their love and concern.

    Stu Hennessy holds sign painted by Karen Stocker at Schulte Memorial Walk 2013 More signs/photos: http://seattletimes.com/html/picturethis/2020689296_memorialwalkforschultefamily.html

    Stu Hennessy holds sign at Schulte Memorial Walk 2013 More signs/photos: http://seattletimes.com/html/picturethis/2020689296_memorialwalkforschultefamily.html