Beginning in 2019, the Action Committee for Transit teamed up with fellow local transportation safety advocates, with a joint commitment to memorialize every single non-motorist traffic death in Montgomery County, Maryland. These memorials, often referred to as “ghost shoe” or “ghost bike” memorials are held along the roadside, near the fatal crash site – gathering loved ones, friends, neighbors, politicians, and other community leaders. The purpose of these memorials is to raise awareness of the growing dangers pedestrians and cyclists face on our roadways, and to bring attention to the senseless and preventable deaths of individuals, that often otherwise go unnoticed by policy makers and the media.
Over the course of 2019-2021, over 20 memorials were held, and the commitment to continue this practice remains firm. During the 2019-2021 memorials, organizers sensed a “missing piece” here in Montgomery County… we were lacking an organizing body. There was no existing organization with a goal of connecting victims’ families and community members, and there was no existing support network for victims’ loved ones and friends. Organizers sought to bring together an active support and advocacy community, poised to take action towards preventing future deaths.
In forging this group, the organizers found Families for Safe Streets, which seemed like an organization fully aligned with the new group’s objectives. Families for Safe Streets was founded in 2014 by the New York City families whose loved ones were killed or injured in crashes. Families for Safe Streets is a growing movement to fight for safe streets—with hundreds of members, representing the full spectrum of diverse populations—working tirelessly for awareness, policy change, and legislation.
The Montgomery County, Maryland Chapter of Families for Safe Streets launched in Spring, 2021, and operates in partnership and under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Central Texas
- Greater Philadelphia
- Nashville, Tennessee
- New York, New York (National Organization)
- New Jersey
- Northern Virginia (includes Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax)
- Oregon and Southwest Washington state
- Richmond, VA
- San Francisco Bay Area, California
- San Jose, California
- Southern California
- Toronto, Canada
- Washington, DC
The following individuals lead the Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets Chapter
- Peter Gray
- Leah Walton
- Kristy Daphnis
- Carolyn Wilson
- Miram Schoenbaum