CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — There were a lot of empty shoes at First Ward Park Sunday. From children to adults, each pair represented a person who died on area roadways.

“205. That is the number of lives lost on Charlotte streets due to traffic violence from 2019 to 2021,” said Debbie Smith, director of the Charlotte Department of Transportation.

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW: Sign up here for QC News Alerts and get breaking news sent straight to your in

The number of traffic accidents is on the rise according to CDOT. Some are still not able to come up with the words for losing a loved one. Like the family of Officer Kara Alsup who died in a car crash on I-85 in December 2020.

“Kara always had a smile on her face,” said her mother, Melissa Alsup. “She had a beautiful Elvis smile, and she was very photogenic, always loved to take selfies.”

And David Counter, who lost his wife right before Christmas last year.

“As we remember, so we should double our efforts to increase road safety and ensure each year we display fewer and fewer pairs of shoes,” added Counter. “Until ultimately there are no fatalities to represent.”

CDOT is hoping to reduce the number of traffic fatalities with the Vision Zero plan. The goal is to have no traffic fatalities or serious injuries by 2030. Recently the department started testing an app in the South end to alert motorists of pedestrians, and cyclists in the roadway.


📲 Download the Queen City News app to stay updated on the go.
📧 Sign up for QC News email alerts to have breaking news sent to your inbox.
💻 Find today’s top stories on QCNews.com for Charlotte, NC, and all of the Carolinas.


It’s something Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police chief Johnny Jennings hopes will work. Jennings said he says he has been touched by people dying in traffic-related accidents as well, and that is why CMPD is working hard to identify areas of concern and increasing patrols.

“As we grow that means more pedestrian foot traffic, more bicycles, more scooters, more vehicles on the roadway,” Jennings told the crowd.

Each person remembering the victims, says more can be done and hopes no other family will feel this type of grief.