West Seattle memorials placed on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Photos by Leda Costa for West Seattle Blog

One of five deaths along 35th Ave SW. This one is honoring an 85 year-old person killed while walking in 2007.

That silhouette placed today at 35th and Othello is in memory of Oswald Clement, hit and killed by a driver while crossing there nine years ago, just days before what would have been his 86th birthday. The silhouette is one of 24 that were to be placed around West Seattle for World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, to raise awareness of deaths on and by the roads, as silent reminders of 24 deaths in this area since 2006.

Before fanning out this morning, volunteers, led by Bob Anderton, gathered at Ampersand Café on Alki to mark the silhouettes and get the list of locations:


They wrote on each one with the victim’s age and date of death, plus a short description of the circumstances, adding a sticker explaining World Day of Remembrance:

Each silhouette includes the age of the person being honored, the cause of death, and a sticker explaining World Day of Remembrance.

Then they headed out – below, Kathy Dunn from West Seattle Bike Connections:


She and WSBC’s Don Brubeck put up silhouettes along Alki Avenue, where four people were killed in incidents in 2006:

Don Brubeck and Kathy Dunn working together to install Traffic Violence Victim Silhouettes.

The Alki deaths happened in 2006, which, according to the spreadsheet that was created for today’s efforts, was a particularly deadly year in West Seattle – 10 people killed. One of the Alki Avenue silhouettes was for 21-year-old Travis Gracey, hit and killed while skateboarding; the motorcyclist who hit him also died.

One of four deaths that happened on Alki.

You’ll also see a silhouette at California/Oregon in The Junction, where 62-year-old motorcycle rider Larry Keller died in a collision with a truck in 2013 – Dunn installed it with Michael Sedgewick:


Silhouettes have been placed in other areas around the city, too; as listed on the Seattle Greenways website, the Alki gathering was one of 11 today in Seattle. From the World Remembrance Day flyer:

Over the past 10 years, 200+ people have died by walking, biking, or driving on Seattle’s streets. These 4-foot tall silhouettes are installed at the places people have died to remember these people and highlight the need for traffic safety everywhere.

In a startling moment of irony … while WSB photojournalist Leda Costa was photographing the silhouette shown at the top of this story, at 35th and Othello, two cars got into a fender-bender nearby. No injuries reported.

16 Replies to "West Seattle memorials placed on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims"

  • Katy November 20, 2016 (9:59 pm)

    I saw a few of these while driving today.  I understand and respect the sentiment, but you can’t read the signs while driving because the text is too small, and it is a distraction to drivers to try to figure out what the signs say.  I think creating distractions for drivers might contradict the message that is trying to be sent.

    • Guy Olson November 21, 2016 (10:37 am)


    • AceMotel November 21, 2016 (4:20 pm)

      Agree.  Almost went off the road trying to read one this morning.  Second time, almost hit the car in front.  I think it’s a nice sentiment, but these cutouts do not improve safety.  The white bicycles are easy to understand.  Maybe these cutouts have been around for a many years, but this is the first time I have seen them.  I wondered if it represented a missing person?  Something I really need to read?  Should I park my car around the corner and walk back to read whatever it says on them?  I have to be at a meeting in 20 minutes. Yes? No? The second one, I tried again to read it but was not in a place to park my car.  This is not a complaint about the observance.  IT is a remark about the safety of having a sign with writing too small to read at 20 mph next to a roadway.  Maybe the organizers did not think about this.  If they want to improve safety, this is something to consider.  And all the remembrance signs along the state highways with people’s names on them?  I have memorized all those names from here to Yakima.  Yes, I honor those people on every car trip.   

      • Safe Driver November 21, 2016 (10:29 pm)

        If it’s too small to read then just keep your eyes on the road! it’s an awareness campaign, not a reason to be distracted behind the wheel. This is a prime example of why pedestrians and cyclists are being injured and killed. 

        • WSB November 21, 2016 (10:47 pm)

          It should also be noted that for better or worse, utility poles are often well-papered with flyers and signs that can’t be read as you drive by … lost/found pets, yard sales, live music, political exhortations, sometimes those “I buy homes” scrawls …

          • AceMotel November 23, 2016 (8:15 pm)

            With all due respect, I will beat this dead horse.  The people who put up these displays did a brilliant job of getting attention.  Large white cutout representations of the human form are not like the usual grist of concert posters, lost cats, missing dogs, electrician looking for work and “I buy houses.”  There is significance in coming around a corner and seeing a representation of the human form with some small black writing on it, with the message pointed at the oncoming driver, not pointed at the sidewalk.  I don’t know.  Maybe the message is supposed to be aimed at the bicyclists who ride up at a slower rate than drivers.   Safe driver, thank you for making my point for me, I appreciate it, even if it’s in bold, which I suppose is to warn others of a danger on the road.  In 59 years of driving, I have not had an accident yet, nor have I hit any bicyclists or pedestrians, because I did not stop to read your cutout man.  Sorry about that.

  • WestCake November 20, 2016 (11:50 pm)

    They should have done this the last week of October. 

    • WSB November 21, 2016 (12:13 am)

      The third Sunday in November has been the WDR for 20 years – http://worlddayofremembrance.org/about/ – but if you have a suggestion to change it, they have a contact page on that site. – TR

  • behappy November 21, 2016 (8:23 am)

    I am always amazed that there is always some people that have complaints about anything and everything. This story as WSB says has been going on for 20 yrs and until these complainers have lost someone tragically like this I guess they’ll always complain. (And Heaven forbid that they never do).

    • Guy Olson November 21, 2016 (10:37 am)


    • Patb November 23, 2016 (4:11 pm)

      Wow, someone(s) bring up what they think are legitimate concerns  of safety and even say they are supporting the cause and they are criticize.  Whether it’s a white bike or these silhouette they can be distracting to some people, it’s just a fact.

      The first silhouette I saw (in the fifteen years I’ve live in WS) was  yesterday in the neutral zone at the top of Admiral Way, headed up the hill, just as you make the turn, West bound. As I came around the corner it surprised me.  When a friend told me this was happening around the city I thought how wonderful,  but that anyone who wanted to view this one would have to cross Admiral and stand in the neutral zone to view it and that alone would be pretty dangerous.  

      I personal think this is wonderful, and though I’ve been reading the WS blog for a few years now it’s the first time I’ve seen a post about this. I’m glad were remember those who have lost their lives. I just wish we’d be kinder and safer to all of use still here, and maybe better placement in places. 

      (o.k. blast away if you must but I still love everyone in WS, even you blasters…  ;L) )

  • waikikigirl November 21, 2016 (12:50 pm)

    @Westcake…and why the last week of October?

  • Mike November 21, 2016 (1:22 pm)

    Is there a list?

  • steve November 21, 2016 (4:19 pm)

    I’ve certainly passed what should have been my nine lives, (knock on wood).  Remember.  Be careful, be safe, slow down.   If you need to touch that cell phone, pull over first. Thank you.

  • West Seattle Hipster November 21, 2016 (4:45 pm)

    One way to truly make World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims significant is for law enforcement to quadruple all moving violations given out on that day.  That might send a message.

    • Patb November 23, 2016 (4:12 pm)

      Oh, yeah… now that’s a great idea!

Sorry, comment time is over.