Tag Archives: Bob Ferguson

Bus reading, part–OK, I’ve lost count

For some unknown reason, I regularly receive a monthly e-mail newsletter from King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson. (This is only unusual because I don’t live in his district and don’t remember signing up for it. Call me a civics nerd, but I do actually enjoy reading it.)

Councilmember Ferguson is a proud bus rider and regularly mentions Metro in his communiqués. His latest bus-related broadcast: The inaugural entry of Bob’s Bus Books.

This month, I am starting a new section in my eNews to share what I have been reading on my bus commutes. A few of the books I have enjoyed in the past few months are:

• The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig – Doig is a Shoreline resident and was nominated for the National Book Award for This House of Sky.
• The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – I stole this one from my wife’s reading stack.
Winter Wheat* and The Curlew’s Cry by Mildred Walker – Walker’s works focus on Western themes. These two novels take place in Montana and were no doubt inspired by her time there.

I am currently reading Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey, which many consider to be the best novel set in Oregon.

Looks like Mr. Ferguson is partial to novels written by and about the West. Not that I can talk; I just finished reading (in honor of the anniversary of the boycott, and all) three Rosa Parks-related books–two by her, one about her–in a row. And since we’re on the subject…

My current bus read is Green Metropolis, by David Owen. I would have gotten to it sooner (it came out in September), but the library’s waiting list was about 50 deep. I dutifully waited my turn, and then, just days after my name finally came up, my sweet baby brother, Joel, bought me a copy for Christmas. Lucky for the next person in line.

I digress.

Here’s an excerpt from the publisher’s blurb about the book:

Most Americans think of crowded cities as ecological nightmares, as wastelands of concrete and garbage and diesel fumes and traffic jams. Yet residents of compact urban centers, Owen shows, individually consume less oil, electricity, and water than other Americans. They live in smaller spaces, discard less trash, and, most important of all, spend far less time in automobiles. Residents of Manhattan — the most densely populated place in North America — rank first in public-transit use and last in per capita greenhouse-gas production… They are also among the only people in the United States for whom walking is still an important means of daily transportation.

I’m only on chapter one, but I already love it, and not just because it completely validates my world view–and hates on Portland**, just a little bit. (OK, mostly because of those reasons.) I’m actually learning something about individual energy consumption in the US, and since Owen is a strong writer, his nonfiction goes down nice and easy. (That means that this novel-preferring bus chick won’t take three months to get through it.) Get thee to a library and check out Green Metropolis (or, at least, get on SPL’s website and add yourself to the wait list) immediately.

Next up for me, another Christmas gift: Barbara Kingsolver’s latest, The Lacuna.

And you? What’s on your bus reading list for 2010?

* I’ve actually read Winter Wheat (my mom lent it to me over a decade ago), but I don’t remember much about it except that I enjoyed it.
**Folks, I have nothing but love for our Northwest neighbors to the south, but I do admit to being a wee bit jealous of all the love Portland gets from the rest of the planet. Sue me.

Survey says…

Councilmember Bob Ferguson, of April Golden Transfer fame, recently surveyed his District 1 constituents about their priorities. (District 1 includes North Seattle, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell and some of Woodinville.) Here’s what they had to say about transit:

2. If you are a bus rider, what is the most important way that Metro can improve bus service?

37% More, different routes
29% Greater Frequency
11% Fewer transfers to get where we’re going
11% Safer, cleaner buses
7% More bus shelters
5% Reduced fares


3. When paying for improvements to our transit system, which methods would you support?

29% An increase in the gas tax.
26% Tolls on certain freeway and thoroughfare lanes.
24% An increase in the motor vehicle excise tax.
12% None.
9% An increase in the sales tax.

4. In November, a two-part transportation funding proposal may be on the ballot. The first proposal will primarily include funding to help repair or replace the 520 Bridge and the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and expand Interstate 405. The second proposal may fund an extension of Sound Transit’s Light Rail to Lynnwood, Bellevue and Pierce County. For one part of the proposal to pass, both parts must pass. The specific costs are unknown at this time, but could be as much as $250 annually per-average household for 25-30 years. Please select which one of these options best represents your position.

46% I support the combined roads and transit ballot measure.
19% I do not support either.
19% I support the second ballot measure (Sound Transit).
16% I support the first ballot measure (roads projects).

Visit Councilmember Ferguson’s site for his assessment of the results.

District 1 is primarily suburban, and suburban residents are likely to have different transit needs and priorities than city types. How would you have answered these questions?

April Golden Transfer

Golden TransferThis month’s Golden Transfer goes to Bob Ferguson, King County Councilmember for District 1 and all-around bus booster. Ordinarily, I don’t play favorites with council members (except that I’m partial to my own), but in this case, I’ve decided to make an exception.

You might recall that Councilmember Ferguson (aka Bob) took the time to send us the scoop about the new reader boards and additional shelters. He understands the importance of changes like these, and not just because bus-riding voters appreciate them. Bob believes in transit, and he demonstrates that belief by riding the bus (the 41 from Northgate) to work every day. (I’m guessing that if he chose to drive, he’d get a pretty sweet deal on parking.)

Bob also demonstrates his interest in transit by his membership on the Council’s Transportation Committee, which, as you might imagine, reviews and makes recommendations about County transit policies.

And speaking of committees…

Earlier this month, Bob sent a member of his staff to sit in on the monthly meeting of the Transit Advisory Committee, a group of regular, bus-riding citizens who advise the Council and Metro staff on “transit issues and policies.” As one of the regular, bus riding citizens on the committee, I was pleased to see that he was interested not only in our formal recommendations, but also in our discussion and our individual perspectives.

And then there was the picture on one of his recent e-newsletters:

Who wouldn’t vote for a man who rides the bus?


Thanks, Bob, for demonstrating a true commitment to the transit system you govern–by listening to the voices of the people who use it, and, especially, by using it yourself.