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Activists plan memorial for two people killed by driver in Pennsylvania Avenue NW park

The two people were resting in the park when they were fatally struck

Pennsylvania Avenue NW, a block from where the crash happened
District Department of Transportation

Street safety advocates are organizing a community vigil Thursday for two men who were struck and killed by the driver of an SUV last week in James Monroe Park on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The driver had come off the avenue late Wednesday and smashed through a number of trees and benches, including one where the two people were reportedly sitting.

The vigil is scheduled to begin at 5:15 p.m. Attendees are asked to wear white, or red if they or someone they know has been “impacted by traffic violence,” according to the organizers. “Nobody should be killed by a driver while sitting on a park bench,” a Facebook post for the event says. The District has seen 14 total traffic deaths so far in 2019, D.C. police data show.

D.C. traffic deaths are down this year compared with this point last year, but they increased from 2015 through 2018 despite Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration overseeing a Vision Zero program to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2024. Last year’s count of 36 traffic deaths reached levels not witnessed since 2008, when there were 39 traffic deaths.

The District Department of Transportation is advancing a redesign of Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 17th and 22nd streets NW, which includes the part where the fatal crash occurred. Six car lanes would be cut to four and sidewalk space would be added, among other efforts.