Mayor Greg Nickels may be asking Seattle residents to give their cars "the summer off." But he nonetheless drove his Toyota Highlander, a hybrid SUV, to the May 21 press conference where he announced the initiative.
"Seattleites are aware of the perils of climate pollution, and they want to do their part," Nickels said at the event, held near the route of a future Sound Transit line on Rainier Avenue South. "While lots of people bike and bus to work, we also want to encourage folks to use carbon-friendly alternatives throughout the week and in their neighborhoods."
So why did the mayor drive there? "What can you say," says spokesman Alex Fryer. "It's almost an impossibility for any mayor of any city of any size to travel on public transit. You don't know when there will be an emergency. He also has to travel with security."
New York's Mayor Mike Bloomberg might take issue with that. He's been riding the subway to work for years. (Though The New York Times reported that it's not your conventional commute.)
Fryer notes that the mayor's car is fuel efficient. But as Rick Anderson has reported, Nickels is not known for going easy on the gas.