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Benefits of Riding Transit

Posted on June 22, 2022

With summer kicking off, so does Transportation Choices’ Ride Transit Month for June! We are excited to see more people starting to use transit again as we slowly return to normal. King County Metro has recently been seeing 200,000 daily weekday bus riders, among other encouraging statistics! Here are some benefits to using transit for Ride Transit Month and beyond.
 

Bus


Cost: 
•    Transportation is the second largest household expense, with housing being the only expense listed above it. (transportationchoices.org).
•    Gas prices continue to go up making it more expensive to drive alone to work. Meanwhile bus, train, and vanpool fares are remaining the same and there are no current plans to raise them.  
•    By taking any form of public transportation to your destination, you can avoid parking fees. 
•    For more some additional stats, check out one of our previous blogs breaking down the cost of owning a bike vs the cost of owning a car.

Environmental impact:
•    Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington State. (transportationchoices.org)
•    At least 14 million pounds of toxic chemicals flow into Puget Sound every year including motor oil spill, drop, and runoff from paved areas. (transportationchoices.org).
•    In Washington, driving accounts for almost 60% of air pollution. (transportationchoices.org).

Saving time and staying active:
•    One in three Washingtonians don’t get enough physical activity. (transportationchoices.org)
•    People who take the train or bus are more likely to get their 30 minutes of recommended physical activity each day. (transportationchoices.org).
•    Trains are among the safest and most reliable forms of transportation during inclement weather. (transportationchoices.org). 

These are just a few of the many benefits that come with riding transit! If you are taking transit to work, make sure you are logging your trips so you can claim rewards like a $50 gift card as part of our “Return-to-Travel” campaign. 

Sources:
https://transportationchoices.org/rider-tools/ 

-Choose Your Way Staffer Jake 


 

Get to Know the Choose Your Way Bellevue Team: Jake Uttich

Posted on June 7, 2022

Our interview blog series is back! We bring you an interview with different Choose Your Way Bellevue staff, discussing their work and life throughout the last year. This blog’s interviewee is Jake Uttich.


 
What is your occupation?
I am the TDM Outreach Coordinator for TransManage.

Where do you live and work?
I currently live in Seattle and work for the Bellevue Downtown Association.

How has your work life shifted since the beginning of the pandemic?
In the beginning of the pandemic, I was an essential worker and had to go in most days of the week which was stressful. But I have since graduated and began working for TransManage. As a result, I have been working from home most days of the week, which has been a huge relief for me. I look forward to coming back into the office as we slowly migrate back to a “normal” life.  

How has your commute shifted since the beginning of the pandemic?
I used to carpool to work every day with a couple coworkers before the pandemic. I had to switch to driving to work by myself temporarily once it began. Fortunately, since starting with TransManage I have been able to work from home remotely and when I do go into the office, I take the bus. 

What advice would you give to those working from home?
I would say that getting comfortable in your workspace is what is most impactful for me. I miss a lot of the small things from working in an office like being able to pop into a cubicle if I had a quick question that might be tough to word in an email, watching people’s small office plants grow, small talks on my walk to fill up my water bottle, etc. To supplement this, I have been taking walks while I eat my lunch, bought my own house plant for my desk, and bought a bird feeder that I placed outside my window. All little things that keep things loose while also making sure that I stay focused.  

What do you do for fun and how do you get there?
I love being outside! I just moved here from Florida so spending as much time in the mountains as I can has been a priority. I have so far been hiking (Poo Poo Point… Wow!), outdoor bouldering and taking long walks throughout the city hitting an occasional art museum or park. I have so far been carpooling to the mountains with some friends and then I either walk or take the bus when staying in the city. (Editor’s note: Check out King County Metro’s Trailhead Direct for direct bus service to trailheads!)

Want to share your commute story? You can do so through the Mover of the Month reward from our Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards program! Each month, our staff will select one Bellevue traveler's submission, and their story will be featured in our monthly newsletter. Winners will receive $50 towards your bus or vanpool fare in the form of a TranBen voucher or the equivalent in Choose Your Way Bellevue merchandise! There's no need to reapply each month, but feel free to share more than one story with us. Learn more and submit your commute story here.

-Choose Your Way staffer Jake

Cost of Owning a Bike Vs Cost of Owning a Car

Posted on May 31, 2022

Happy Bike Month! Even though Bike Month is coming to a close, that doesn’t mean you have to stop biking. Here is some information regarding the cost of purchasing, maintaining and owning a bike compared to a car. These are just a few of the many things to consider. 

Bike Painting

 

Purchasing: The average cost of buying a bike in America is around $900, a figure that has been steadily rising over the past five years. (Bicycling.com). For the first time ever, the average cost of buying a new car in America has risen to over $47,000 in 2022. This is a more than $6,000 increase from previous years and the biggest jump in the last five years. (Kelley Blue Book).

Maintenance: The cost of maintenance for bicycles is estimated to be at around $350 per year. (Bicycling.com). The average price that an American will spend on having maintenance performed on their car every year is estimated to be just under $800. (AAA.com). 

Other costs: There are additional required costs of owning a car such as insurance, registration, and taxes. Averaged together, these costs are estimated at $1,900 per year. (AAA.com). For bikes, insurance, registration and taxes are not required by law. Some bikers do choose to get bike insurance if it is not already covered under their existing housing or rental insurance policy or if they want additional coverage on their bikes. On average, the estimated cost for that insurance is $400. None of this even includes the amount of money biking saves you from having to put gas in your car.

If you’re looking for additional information about biking in Bellevue, check out our Bike Page and the Bellevue Bike Map.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Jake

Sources: 
•    https://www.aaa.com/autorepair/articles/what-does-it-cost-to-own-and-operate-a-car
•    https://www.bicycling.com/rides/a20024531/how-much-do-you-spend-on-cycling-gear-every-year/
•    https://www.kbb.com/car-news/average-new-car-price-tops-47000/
 

 

Bike Safety Tips for Bike Everywhere Day and Beyond!

Posted on May 23, 2022

With Bike Everywhere Day coming just in time for the wonderful weather, we are starting to see more people biking around! Here are some safety tips to consider while biking around Bellevue. 

bike jake

 

Check your bike before you ride: Make sure your bike is in good condition and ready for the road. Check to make sure the brakes work, the tires are inflated correctly and in good condition, the reflectors are on and in the correct positions, and the seat is in the correct and comfortable position.

Wear a helmet: Wearing a helmet is required by law in Bellevue. Make sure that you find a properly fitting helmet and wear it correctly; check out “Helmets: The Right Fit” on the back of the Bellevue Bike Map. For a guide on which helmet is right for you, visit Helmets.org.

Be aware of your surroundings: Understand and process what is going on around you while biking and anticipate other vehicles' moves. Some ways that you can do this are checking the weather before you ride and planning accordingly, riding defensively and assuming that the other rider or driver doesn’t see you, and obeying traffic signals and road signs.

Learn about Bellevue’s bike lanes, trails and road characteristics: Bellevue has more bike trails and dedicated bike lanes than you may think!. You can find them, plus roadway characteristics, more safety tips and other useful biking information, on the Bellevue Bike Map

Stay safe out there and enjoy this beautiful kick off to the summer!

-Choose Your Way staffer Jake
 

 

New ORCA System – Need to Knows

Posted on May 20, 2022

With the launch of the new ORCA system, it’s important to know what has changed and what has stayed the same. Here are some tips to make the transition as easy as possible!

neworca

Image from myORCA.com 

 

What You Need to Know (From King County Metro):

  • You do not need a new card. All cards will work indefinitely (Adult, Youth, Senior, Disabled, LIFT and other reduced fare cards) 
  • A new smart phone app is available to download, through Apple’s app store or the Google Play store.
  • All existing ORCA card value, E-purse balance or passes have been retained 
  • You can load E-purse value or passes instantly at myORCA.com, with the myORCA app, at a vending machine, or by calling or visiting customer service 
  • Retail stores will only load E-purse value and no longer sell passes. You can convert E-purse value to a pass at myORCA.com, with the mobile app, at vending machines or by visiting customer service 
  • While technology is updated, all value loaded at a retail store location will experience a one-hour delay before it is available for use
  • All customers who had an account at orcacard.com will need to set up a new account at myORCA.com or with the myORCA app, We encourage all riders to set up an account, but it is not required to use ORCA 
  • All ORCA Autoloads have expired. Set-up your Autoload again at myORCA.com 
  • Check out the ORCA Business Account FAQs for information on how Business accounts will be handled moving forward

You can check out the new myORCA.com website and Metros’ blog post for more details!

-Choose Your Way staffer Alex
 

 

May is Bike Month

Posted on May 9, 2022

 

Happy Bike Month! We are very excited to be hosting 3 celebration stations on May 20th, Bike Everywhere Day. Each station will offer its very own style of sustenance, treats, swag & prizes, so be sure to visit as many as possible!

 
Choose Your Way Bellevue will host three stations in or near Bellevue at 6 a.m.–9 a.m.: 

  • Evergreen Point at the 520 Trail in Medina
  • Bellevue Transit Center at NE 6th Street between 108th and 110th Avenues NE
  • The I-90 Trail at Enatai Beach Park

For those of you with a competitive streak, grab up to ten of your coworkers and friends for the Washington Bikes/Cascade Bicycle Club BIKE EVERYWHERE CHALLENGE – there’s fun to be had and prizes to be won! Cascade Bicycle Club has an organization toolkit and Team Captain Toolkit to help you get started.

If you have any questions about Bike Everywhere Month & Day, or a non-drive alone commute? Contact Alison Crosier, City of Bellevue CTR Program Administrator, at acrosier@bellevuewa.gov or 425-452-4318. Also be sure to peruse the Choose Your Way Bellevue website and check out our bike page too! 

 

Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer- Travis
 

Earth Day - A Look at Commute Options

Posted on April 19, 2022

Earth Day 2022

 

Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States. (Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency - USEPA). The gasoline-powered automobile is the single greatest polluter worldwide, because emissions from millions of vehicles on the road add up. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, individuals can use cleaner modes of transportation to get around, from public transit to biking and walking and car or vanpools.

 

DRIVING: Transportation relies heavily on petroleum, and passenger cars and light-duty trucks (i.e. sport vehicles, pickup trucks and minivans) contribute half of the carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. transportation sector. Burning one gallon of gasoline creates about 20 pounds of CO2—which means the average vehicle creates roughly six to nine tons of CO2 each year. (Source: United States Department of Transportation – USDOT). Even zero emission vehicles (ZEV’s) can leave an environmental footprint via electricity over usage and add to local traffic congestion & parking crunches.

ECO-DRIVING: Pre-planning/bundling your trips can play a huge role in lessening emissions and save money in a gasoline-powered car. Try bundling-up your errands into one trip!  

CAR SHARING & CARPOOLING: Need to get around town but don’t really need a car all the time? Car sharing programs provide access to a car when you need one. Membership fees cover gas, maintenance and insurance. Many companies – such as Flexcar and ZipCar – offer low emission or hybrid cars too! Car sharing can help reduce the number of cars manufactured and driven, which saves natural resources and energy – and can also reduce land needed for parking as well as traffic congestion. Carpooling is another friendly way to save money, time, frustration, and gasoline. If daily commuters carpooled 20 days a month, it would reduce driving costs by 40-50 percent. (Source: United States Department of Transportation – USDOT).

TRANSIT: Individuals can save more than $10,000 per year by taking public transportation instead of driving. Moreover, this mode can lead to substantial environmental benefits. If your commute is 20-miles round trip, the switch to public transportation could lower your carbon footprint by 4,800 pounds annually. Communities with strong public transportation can reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons yearly. (Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency - USEPA).

CYCLING & WALKING: Bicycling and walking are not just recreational activities; these options help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion and our demand for oil. Additional benefits include reducing other environmental impacts of motorized transportation, such as noise and the destruction of open space, wetlands, and other habitats. For local guidance on bicycle and pedestrian trails check out our Bellevue bike map. Your local bike shop is also an excellent resource for information on bicycle commuting and the latest bike gadgets and safety tools.

TELECOMMUTING: The best commute is no commute! Check with your employer about their remote/virtual work policy. If it currently doesn’t offer an option to telework, speak with the human resources staff at your workplace to consider implementing one. Even working one day a week remotely helps the environment & saves you money among other myriad ecological & personal benefits!

-Choose Your Way staffer Alison
 

 

What you can do about gas prices

Posted on March 31, 2022

Gas prices have reached record levels nation and worldwide, and Bellevue is no exception. Don’t let the pressure at the pump keep you from getting where you need to be! There are myriad money-saving ideas and non-drive-alone opportunities available to folks who live or work in Bellevue, including the following:

Skip driving alone when possible by taking advantage of these suggestions:

  • Join a friend or coworker and carpool to work so you can split the cost of driving and parking. There are hundreds of active carpool participants coming into Bellevue every day. Carpool and ridematch information is on our Share the Ride page.
  • Carshare can help you get around during the day when you don’t have a car at your workplace; check out our Carshare section to learn more about Zipcar in Bellevue.
  • Join a vanpool. There are a multitude of benefits to vanpooling to work, including pre-paid gas, insurance and vehicle maintenance, as well as avoiding road tolls. Even during these times there are 90 active vanpools operating in and out of Bellevue. Learn more about vanpooling (and about vansharing, for getting to or from a transit hub) on our Share the Ride page.
  • Take transit. Approximately 36 bus routes operate in Bellevue. Check out our transit page for schedules and tools to plan a specific route!
  • Get your exercise in and walk or bike to your destination. Downtown Bellevue boasts an enviable Walk Score of 94 out of 100. View our walk and bike pages to learn more.
  • Is your job a fit for telework? Telework and hybrid work options have become a standard practice for a significant proportion of companies in the United States and through the world, having increased significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If your employer does not yet offer a remote work opportunity, direct them to our Choose Your Way Bellevue business telework section linking to city- and county-provided information, tips, sample agreements, checklists, and even webinar recordings!

When you do drive, ensure your vehicle is at its best mechanically:

  • Check your tire pressure. Fluctuating temperatures can cause your tires to lose air more quickly and make your car exert more gas.
  • Ditch the remote start. Getting into a toasty car is nice, but letting it run is a waste of gas and money.
  • Drive the speed limit. Use cruise control to help keep your speed consistent and save energy.
  • Create a gas-saving, smart route for your trips and errands.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alison

How the March Service Change Will Affect Bellevue Routes

Posted on March 17, 2022

BLine

 

With the March Service Change right around the corner, you’re probably wondering how bus routes running through and out of Bellevue will be different? Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s coming, starting on March 19.

SOUND TRANSIT ROUTES

  • ST 532
    • Schedule adjustments to reflect current traffic conditions. Frequency reductions due to operator shortages.
  • ST 535
    • Schedule adjustments to reflect current traffic conditions. Frequency reductions due to operator shortages.
  • ST 550
    • On weekdays, service frequency from Bellevue to Seattle will be reduced slightly in mornings between approximately 7:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Weekday service frequency from Seattle to Bellevue will be slightly reduced in the afternoon and evening, approximately 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. On weekdays, Saturday and Sunday, one additional trip from Seattle to Bellevue will be added at approximately 12:20 a.m.
  • ST 566
    • Minor schedule adjustments to align better with the Sounder S Line schedule.

 

For a full breakdown of the March Service Change, you can check out both King County Metro’s and Sound Transit’s pages on the matter.


- Choose Your Way staffer Alex

 

Sources: Sound Transit and King County Metro

 

 

Get Ready to Spring Forward!

Posted on March 8, 2022

spring forward

 

Daylight savings is right around the corner. We will all unfortunately be losing an hour of sleep on Saturday night, but there are A LOT of great things to follow and prepare for when we turn the clocks forward. Here are some things to keep in mind:

 

  • The mornings are darker, and colder
    • To ensure you are seen while walking or biking, wear reflective material, use a bike light, etc. Mornings will be colder as well, so make sure to bundle up before your travels!
  • The nights are longer
    • Opposite to the statement above, with more light in the evening, why not take that scenic route on your way home?
  • Prioritize your sleep
    • Make sure to change your clocks and go to bed an hour earlier on Sunday night so you can start your work week strong.
  • Log Your Trips
    • Don’t forget to log your trips and participate in our “Return-to-Travel” incentive program! You can earn gift cards to Spotify, Hulu, REI and more. Learn all about it here.

 

These are just a few ways to help you adjust to when daylight savings hits--remember to mark your calendars for Sunday, March 13!

 

-Choose Your Way staffer Alex
 

 

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