Allison Hart—Allie, as she was known to many—was struck and killed by the driver of a passenger transport van as she rode her bike in a crosswalk on September 13, 2021, and died on the scene. She was 5 years old.
The location of the crash is just down the street from Allie’s home in the Brookland neighborhood in Northeast DC. This particular intersection is a four-way stop and in a school zone—at the four corners of the intersection are two homes, a church, and a school playground.
Allie is often remembered as the District’s traffic violence victim number 28 in 2021, but she was so much more: joyful, loving, kind, curious, thoughtful, brave, funny. The list could go on and on. She had just started kindergarten and was flourishing with new experiences, friends, and discoveries.
Following the crash, DDOT installed flexposts at the intersection to narrow the space for cars in an effort to make them slow down and make pedestrians more visible; added “stop ahead” notices; and repainted the crosswalks. All too little, too late for Allie.
In the wake of their daughter’s death, Allison’s parents have pushed for safer streets as a way to honor their beloved daughter. Their efforts are the result of a deep and abiding need to ensure that Allie’s death was not in vain. To have a child’s life so cruelly and violently cut short is horrifying. For the Harts, they feel passionately that they cannot accept that their daughter is gone, this violence continues, and that the city continues to fail to meet its goals to eliminate traffic violence. More personally, they refuse to accept that the only change is the end of Allison’s life and her family’s devastation.
To that end, the Harts have spoken out to share memories of their daughter and to use their grief to push for the goals of Vision Zero, including testifying before DC Council hearings on automated enforcement, transportation bills, and oversight and working with local journalists to tell Allie’s story.
Local bike and safe streets advocates worked with the Harts to organize a “chalk-in” for Allie, where the community gathered at the intersection to draw hearts and flowers and memories of Allie while they demanded action from the Mayor’s office.
For World Day of Remembrance in 2021, the Harts honored their daughter with a post on the Remembrance Wall. In 2022, they created a sign for Allie at the intersection of 14th and Irving Streets NE as part of the chapter’s District-wide initiative to visibly mark and catalog deadly crash sites. The Harts will continue to share Allie’s story to push for safe streets in DC.