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Kshama Sawant
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Sawant calls for speed bumps to curb drive-by shootings in Central District

Councilmember Kshama Sawant proposed a handful of measures to combat recent gun violence in Seattle’s Central District Tuesday, including a ban on semi-automatic weapons, and adding speed bumps to 21st Avenue.

The measures were proposed during a committee meeting chaired by Sawant. In that meeting, she looked to address outstanding issues related to gun violence in the Central District, following a fatal shooting last Friday at the intersection of 21st Avenue East and East Union Street.

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That area has been no stranger to frequent gun violence, with Sawant citing three separate drive-by shootings along 21st during this current school year alone. With that in mind, the council member pointed to feedback from constituents regarding some possible solutions.

“Several CD residents have reached out to us with proposals to address the incidents of gun violence, including concrete changes to space usage and vehicular traffic, which they believe could have a positive impact, and help reduce the incidences of drive-by shootings,” she said in Tuesday’s meeting.

To that end, she recently reached out to the Seattle Department of Transportation, asking that they “use their expertise to review and implement” speed bumps and raised flower beds to slow traffic flow on 21st Ave E.

In a brief pubic comment period, not everyone agreed with the proposal.

“Gun violence is a symptom of systemic racism, not of traffic patterns,” one commenter stated.

Sawant went on to acknowledge that “we are aware that environmental design as gun control measures will be insufficient if the overarching problems faced by our society remain unaddressed.”

“Statistically speaking as nationwide studies have systematically shown, reducing inequality has the greatest impact on reducing violence and crime, and improving public safety for working people,” she continued.”

In the wake of the shooting, representatives for the Seattle Police Department have pointed out that emphasis patrols have been active in the Central District, a measure that Sawant was critical of Tuesday.

“The fact remains that the recent gun violence was not prevented, despite the emphasis patrols,” she pointed out. “Decades of statistical evidence demonstrates that we will not be able to police our way out of this crisis.”

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