Poignant reminders about pedestrian safety are going up in Montgomery County as part of a global effort to call attention to dangerous intersections and advocate for road improvements.
On a wooden utility pole in the Aspen Hill area Sunday, traffic safety advocates placed two pairs of all-white sneakers called “ghost shoes” to remember Claire and Robert Grossman.
Claire was struck and killed on Georgia Avenue in April, near the place where her husband, Robert, also lost his life in 2016.
Two more pairs were also put up to remember Etsegenet Hurissa, who was killed in 2011, and Victor Ramos, who was killed in 2009.
The memorials are part of UN Global Road Safety week. This year’s theme is “streets for life.”
Members of the community and elected leaders came together to remember the victims and call for safety changes, such as lowering speed limits.
“At least three of the four people killed who we’re memorializing today were returning home after getting off the bus,” one activist said at the memorial.
Councilmember Evan Glass said 2020 was a near record-setting year for traffic-related tragedies.
“We had 18 people killed on our streets and more than 600 serious incidents, in a year when many people were off the roads, presumably. And in this year alone in 2021 we already have five deaths on our roadways,” he said.
One of the victims memorialized had just started nursing school at Montgomery College when she was struck and killed on her way home from school.
The speed limit has already been lowered in one part of Georgia Avenue. Elected leaders are calling for a safety review along the stretch to see what more can be done to improve the intersection.