Choose Your Way Bellevue Blog

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6th Street Fair, 2013. Photo from the Bellevue Downtown Association.


Bellevue’s nationally renowned arts fair weekend begins this Friday July 25 until Sunday, July 27, in Downtown Bellevue. Three art fairs make up this inspiring event: The Bellevue Downtown Association’s 6th Street Fair, the Bellevue Arts Museum artsfair and the Bellevue Festival of the Arts. Artists have traveled from across the nation to showcase their original creations. But you won’t be traveling that far, so let King County Metro, Sound Transit or the HOV lane get you downtown!

Fair information:

The BAM ARTSfair, Bellevue Square and Bellevue Arts Museum
Friday and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.

The 6th Street Fair, Bellevue Galleria (Northeast 6th Street and 106th Avenue Northeast)
Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bellevue Festival of the Arts, Cost Plus World Market parking lot (10300 Northeast Eighth St.)
Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Traffic updates:

If you are planning to carpool, expect the following closures provided by the City of Bellevue:

  • 100th Avenue Northeast will be closed southbound from Northeast 8th Street to Northeast 10th Street (Thursday, July 24, 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; and Sunday, July 27, 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.);
  • Northeast 10th Street will be closed westbound between 108th and 106th avenues. (Thursday, July 24, 5-10 p.m.);
  • 106th Avenue Northeast will be closed in both directions between Northeast 4th and Northeast 6th streets (Thursday, at 6 p.m. until Sunday, at 11 p.m.);
  • Northeast 6th Street will be closed in both directions from Bellevue Way to 106th Avenue Northeast (6 p.m., Thursday, until 11 p.m., Sunday); and

102nd Avenue Northeast will be closed in both directions between Northeast Eighth and Northeast 10th streets (7 a.m., Friday, until 11 p.m., Sunday). Businesses will be open and accessible.

Tips for riding transit to downtown Bellevue:

  • Carry your exact fare in cash. Bus drivers do not have change. You may pay your fare, and the fare for others traveling with you, using any combination of paper and coin currency. Various transit passes, including ORCA, will also be accepted provided they have a value equal to or greater than the required fare.
  • Free fares for children: Up to 4 children ages 5 and under always ride free with a paying adult on Sound Transit and King County Metro buses. On Sundays, up to 4 children ages 18 and under may ride for free on King County Metro routes with an adult paying a $2.25 fare.
  • All buses are wheelchair accessible.
  • Return trip to park and ride: Plan ahead by locating the bay where you will wait to catch a bus back to the park and ride, as well as determining when the last bus leaves to get you there. Schedules will be posted at each bay to assist you.

Suggested Park and Ride Options for Saturday, July 26 and Sunday, July 27:

The information below is specific to Saturday/Sunday operations. If you plan to utilize a park & ride lot on Friday you can expect more frequent service, an increased fare and fewer available parking spaces due to heavy commuter use. All suggested routes serve the Bellevue Transit Center for incoming and outgoing trips. For specific bus schedules and more detailed information, please visit http://metro.kingcounty.gov and enter your preferred route number in the “Get a Timetable” box in the upper right corner. For Sound Transit routes (535, 550 and 560) visit soundtransit.org.

Park and Ride Most Direct Route Departure Information Return pick-up at the Bellevue Transit Center Fare Additional route options
South Bellevue 
2700 Bellevue Way SE
Sound Transit 550 Bay 1, departs every 15 minutes on Saturdays and every 30 minutes on Sundays Bay 9 $2.50 Metro 241*
Metro 249
ST 555*
ST 556*
ST 560
Eastgate 
14200 SE Eastgate Way
Metro 271 Bay 1, departs every 30 minutes on Saturdays and every hour on Sundays Bay 5 $2.25 Metro 240
Metro 241*
Metro 246*
ST 555*
ST 556*
Mercer Island
8000 N. Mercer Way
Sound Transit 550 Departs every 15 minutes on Saturdays and every 30 minutes on Sundays Bay 1 $2.50 n/a
South Kirkland
10610 NE 38th Place
Metro 234 or 235 Bay A, departs every  15 minutes on weekdays, every 30 minutes on Saturdays and every hour on Sundays Bay 10 $2.25 Metro 249
Overlake Park and Ride
2650 152nd Avenue NEOverlake Transit Center
15590 NE 36th Place
Metro B-Line Bay 7, every 15 minutes during peak travel times Bay 3 $2.25 Metro 249
Kingsgate
13001 116th Way NE
Metro235 I-405 Totem Lake South Bound Freeway Station, departs every hour on weekends Bay 4 $2.25 n/a
Sound Transit 535** I-405 Totem Lake South Bound Freeway Station, departs every hour on Saturday

 

*Weekday service only
**No Sunday service

BIKE

Bike routes will change depending on where you are coming from. Please check this bike route map for routes in the Bellevue area or get in touch with us to plan a bike plan for you, email: info@onthemovebellevue.org or 425-990-3097. Bike racks are available throughout downtown Bellevue, check out our Bike Rack Map to find one near Bellevue Arts Fair Weekend venues.

 

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 11:01 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

I_90Echannel_joint_replacement510

Photo from WSDOT



At 9:30 p.m. on Friday, July 18, westbound Interstate 90 will close all but one lane just before Bellevue Way SE around the clock for seven days. As the day of closure approaches many commuters are anxious about their commute over I-90, but much is being done by WSDOT, King County Metro, Bellevue transportation officials and Choose Your Way Bellevue (CYWB). Below are some solutions and resources to help you plan for your commute from July 18-25 (sources: WSDOT, King County Metro and City of Bellevue). CYWB staff are also available to plan your commute; submit a commute inquiry here.

I-90 lane closure details

Quick reference:

Contractor crews are working to replace two 33-year-old, 92-foot-long expansion joints on the East Channel Bridge just west of Interstate 405. The original expansion joints were built in 1981 and at 2014 they have reached the end of their useful life. WSDOT crews have seen water leaking into both expansion joints and water leakage can deteriorate the steel and concrete underneath the bridge. Expansion joints on a bridge are needed so that the bridge can expand and contract depending on traffic load and temperature change. Without proper maintenance the bridge could can bend, crack or even collapse.

Questions have been circulating of why the bridge can’t be repaired on weekends. According to WSDOT several reasons amount to why it can’t be done. The expansion joints are more deeply embedded in the bridge deck than other expansion joints commonly found on Interstate 5. Thus, more concrete will need to be chipped away in order to take out the joints. A weekend would not be enough time to accomplish this.  There are also several other projects that will require weekend closures happening this summer, specifically on State Route 520 bridge. Weekend availability is limited because both bridges can’t be closed at the same time and holiday closures must be avoided.

When WSDOT took into account the amount of work needing to be done, the nature of the work and the available weekends, it was determined that a seven-day closure of multiple lanes was the best option to get the job done safely and quickly.

Solutions to keep traffic flowing

Quick reference:

  • Seattle Transit Blog – showcasing solutions and transit impact
  • King County Metro – rewards for filling empty Vanpool seats
  • KIRO – features Bellevue Transportation officials, resources for traffic planning
  • www.ChooseYourWayBellevue.org – one-stop resource for using transit, carpool, vanpool, walk, bike, telework and alternative work schedule options

There are a few things you could do to ease your commute over I-90 or avoid it altogether:

  • Bike across the bridge. The pedestrian and bike path will be open during the closure but pedestrians and bikers should expect delays. More bikers are expected to use the ped/bike path. According to WSDOT, pedestrian and bike path work will occur weeknights from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Cyclists may be required to stop and dismount. Both cyclists and pedestrians will be escorted through the work zone and flaggers will be present to hold bike/ped traffic until it’s safe to proceed.
  • Join a Vanpool temporarily. King County Metro is rewarding existing vanpool groups a $50 MasterCard rewards card (one per van) for filling an empty seat with a temporary rider, and the rider rides for free. If you’re looking for a ridematch visit www.OnTheMoveBellevue.org and find an open vanpool or carpool. Current vanpoolers are encouraged to use OTMB as well to scope out commuters that are looking for a pool to join.
  • Telecommute. Talk to your employer to see if you can work from home for the week of the closure.
  • Take a vacation. Get out of the city, state or country to avoid the closure completely. It’s summer time and you deserve a vacation :).
  • Carpool. If it takes one more car off the road, it will help ease traffic. Share the ride with a coworker or find a ride share partner by going to www.OnTheMoveBellevue.org.
  • Bus. Transit will experience delays so transit riders should consider catching an earlier bus. Bus routes that will be affected: 111, 114, 210, 211, 212, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 550, and 554, and to a slightly lesser extent 241, 555, and 556.
  • SR 520. The State Route 520 bridge will be open. You can purchase a short-term Good To Go! pass that only lasts for 2 weeks.You can find rates and pass description under “How do I pay the tolls?”
  • Delay or reschedule discretionary trips. Choose your trips. If it can be pushed back, wait until after the closure. Travel before or after peak times.
  • Leave early. If you are going to brave the traffic, leave early. Commute times over the bridge can be an hour or more in the morning and afternoon. Stock up on coffee, CDs, audio books and gas.

Additional advice: If you are planning a different route, try it on Friday and on the weekend. Plan out your commute before Monday. Make sure your bus route or bike route is not affected. Talk with your co-workers today about carpooling.

As you’re traveling over I-90 next week, keep in mind three things:

  • Safety
  • Maintenance
  • Preservation

After the project is completed we will reap the benefits of pavement improvements that will lessen the risk of vehicle damage and fewer emergency repairs resulting in better flow of traffic and newer, stronger expansion joints to extend the life of the roadway.

 

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 4:17 PM | by geri | Add a Comment


Photo by Colin Walker


Celebrate the Fourth in red, white, blue and travel in green! If you’re planning to celebrate America’s Birthday in Bellevue try taking a greener mode to your destination. The Bellevue Transit Center is basically the heart of the city and is only blocks away from Bellevue Downtown Park and Ashwood Park. There are plenty of bike racks and options for parking if you are planning to carpool. Check below for all your traveling options so you can enjoy the Bellevue Collection Bellevue Family Fourth presented by PACCAR and Puget Sound Energy, and the Acura of Bellevue Four on the 4th Dog Jog and Walk!

Traffic forecast for Independence Day in Bellevue

Some streets in downtown Bellevue will close before the spectacular fireworks show! At approximately 9:30 – 9:45 p.m., Northeast Fourth Street, from 100th Avenue to Bellevue Way; and 100th Avenue Northeast, between Northeast First to Northeast Fifth streets will close. After the fireworks, the following road restrictions will be implemented to streamline traffic leaving the city:

  • Right turns will be prohibited from 100th Avenue Northeast to Northeast Eighth Street; drivers may turn right on Northeast 10th Street.
  • Right turns will be prohibited from eastbound Northeast 10th Street to all side streets between 100th Avenue and Interstate 405. Access to I-405 from 10th will be via 116
  • Left turns will be prohibited from southbound Bellevue Way to eastbound Northeast Fourth Street. Drivers headed to I-90 or I-405 may continue south on Bellevue Way.
  • Various other lane closures and turn restrictions, as needed, to move traffic quickly out of the downtown core. When traffic volume decreases, roads will reopen and turn restrictions will be lifted.

BUS

Buses will still operate on the Fourth of July, but transit service will follow a holiday service schedule. Both Sound Transit and King County Metro buses will follow a Sunday schedule. Please click on the alerts below to see if your bus will be affected and to check other transit agencies besides Sound Transit and King County Metro.

Tips for taking the bus

  • Carry exact change in fare; bus drivers are unable to give change back. You may pay in any combination of coins and paper American currency.
  • Free fares for children is available; up to four children ages 5 and under always ride free with a paying adult on both Sound Transit and King County Metro buses.
  • Buses are wheelchair accessible.
  • If you are making a return trip by bus, make note of the bay (bus stop at the Bellevue Transit Center). They are usually different from the bay you arrived at.

CARPOOL

Make use of the HOV access ramps on I-405 at NE 6th Street, open only to vehicles with two or more occupants. Find directions here.

PARK-AND-RIDES

There are several park-and-rides that provide free parking and accessible to direct buses to Bellevue!

All suggested routes serve the Bellevue Transit Center for incoming and outgoing trips. For specific bus schedules and more detailed information, please visit metro.kingcounty.gov or soundtransit.org.

For Sound Transit route 550: from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Route 550 will not stop at 110th Ave in either direction due to the Four on the 4th Dog Jog. Riders should wait to get off at the Bellevue Transit Center. Also see ST Route 550 reroute information here for the Bellevue Family 4th .

Park and Ride Most Direct Route Departure Information Return pick-up at the Bellevue Transit Center Fare Additional route options
South Bellevue 
2700 Bellevue Way SE
Sound Transit 550 Bay 1, departs every 15 minutes on Saturdays and every 30 minutes on Sundays Bay 9 $2.50 Metro 241*
Metro 249
ST 555*
ST 556*
ST 560
Eastgate 
14200 SE Eastgate Way
Metro271 Bay 1, departs every 30 minutes on Saturdays and every hour on Sundays Bay 5 $2.25 Metro 240
Metro 241*
Metro 246*
ST 555*
ST 556*
Mercer Island
8000 N. Mercer Way
Sound Transit 550 Departs every 15 minutes on Saturdays and every 30 minutes on Sundays Bay 1 $2.50 n/a
South Kirkland
10610 NE 38th Place
Metro234 or235 Bay A, departs every  15 minutes on weekdays, every 30 minutes on Saturdays and every hour on Sundays Bay 10 $2.25 Metro 249
Overlake Park and Ride
2650 152nd Avenue NEOverlake Transit Center
15590 NE 36th Place
Metro B-Line Bay 7, every 15 minutes during peak travel times Bay 3 $2.25 Metro 249
Kingsgate
13001 116th Way NE
Metro235 I-405 Totem Lake South Bound Freeway Station, departs every hour on weekends Bay 4 $2.25 n/a
Sound Transit 535** I-405 Totem Lake South Bound Freeway Station, departs every hour on Saturday Bay 4 $2.50

PARKING

Complimentary event parking is offered after 6 p.m. at the Bellevue Collection (Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place). Using Lincoln Square or Bellevue Place allows for a much quicker post-event exit. Free parking also is available in the visitors’ lot at Bellevue City Hall (450 110th Avenue NE) – and a much quicker way to exit downtown post-event if you are willing to walk a couple blocks.

BIKE

Bike routes will change depending on where you are coming from. Please check this bike route map for routes in the Bellevue area or get in touch with us to plan a bike plan for you, info@onthemovebellevue.org or 425-990-3097. Bike racks are available throughout downtown Bellevue, check out our Bike Rack Map to find one near Bellevue Downtown Park.

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 12:06 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

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Those who travel via alternative mode are relying more on technology to make transportation choices. Tech-savvy travelers are on the look out for the next best transportation app. RideScout is the newest application to hit the mobile world that lays out all your traveling options for you. Choose Your Way Bellevue team members got to try it and want to share with you what they’ve found.

RideScout is a free mobile app that shows you real-time information about all transportation options that are available right now. When they say “all” they mean all. The app is very simple to navigate and only requires you to enter a start and end location. Once you enter in the information you can “search rides” and the app will bring up all the options to consider such as taking a taxi, driving alone, riding transit, using ZipCar and biking. You can filter results by arrival or departure time and estimated cost. Some options come with a great added feature:

options all

Transit: If you choose the transit option you can have your route broken up into steps and you can receive alerts reminding your when to leave to catch the bus, when a bus is on its way and when you are within ½ mile of your destination bus stop.

transit options

Taxi and ZipCar: You can book taxis and ZipCar straight through the app.

Driving: You can share the ride with someone else by posting on Facebook through the app.

Bike: It will tell you how many calories you’ll burn.

Here’s what staff had to say about RideScout

Read the rest of this entry »

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 3:46 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

Here’s an opportunity to meet the staff! From time to time we’ll feature a Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer on the blog. They’ll share with you how they get to work and some tips and tricks for getting from place to place the greener way!

Resized Jason CYWB 2Jason Hampton
Transportation Program Coordinator

Hi there, I’m Jason Hampton, the new Transportation Program Coordinator for TransManage, a service of the Bellevue Downtown Association (BDA). Much of my role involves working with buildings in Bellevue, serving as the Employee Transportation Coordinator for Puget Sound Energy, and supporting everyone involved with Choose Your Way Bellevue.

I’m thrilled to be at the BDA and I am honored to be part of an enthusiastic team engaged in providing people with resources geared toward improving the quality of life in Bellevue. Last September, all the members of the Choose Your Way Bellevue team introduced themselves and described their commute in this blog. I may be late to the party, but I’m equally excited about what we do—and here’s how I got here!

Early last month when I joined the BDA, it was a given that I would commute by bus to and from Bellevue. While I often drive, my preferred mode of transportation is the bus. Prior to commuting to Bellevue, I frequently rode the bus to Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland for evenings out, sporting events, and while running errands.

However, riding a bus on a regular schedule is a new experience for me. I pick up the Sound Transit route 535 Express Bus at the Bothell Park-and-ride, just down the hill from my house. From Bothell, the 535 travels south on I-405, only stopping twice before arriving at the Bellevue Transit Center.  I usually catch the bus at 6:43 a.m. or 7:13 a.m. on my way into the office. Typically the ride takes between 20 and 25 minutes, although one Friday morning it only took 14 minutes.

My morning commute usually consists of coffee, Crosscut, Twitter, and if there’s time Facebook.  My ride home usually lasts about 35 minutes, but I value the time to relax and reflect on my day. By the time I get home, I’ve developed an action plan for the next day and I’m ready to spend time with my friends and family.


resized Jason CYWB

Friday, June 13th, 2014 2:07 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

Last Friday hundreds of bike commuters, both seasoned and new, hit the road on two wheels and a helmet for Bike to Work Day. Choose Your Way Bellevue welcomed more than 200 bike riders at the Bike To Work Day station at the Bellevue Transit Center. That beats last year’s count of 164!

Choose Your Way Bellevue and On The Move Bellevue, along with Gregg’s Cycles, King County Metro, Puget Sound Energy, and Sound Transit, worked together to host a Bike To Work Station at the Bellevue Transit Center. Bike tools and gear were given away with a spin on the Choose Your Way Bellevue spin wheel. Many bike riders took their chances on Gregg’s Cycles raffle for gift cards from the store. And all were happy to indulge in a Bike To Work Day victory treat from Top Pot Doughnuts and Whole Foods Market. The Gregg’s Bellevue Cycle team also offered free tune-ups for bike commuters.

“We couldn’t be happier with the turnout on Friday. It was a pleasure to be able to give back to commuters who biked to work – whether they were seasoned cyclists or trying it for one day. Thank you for the opportunity, Cascade Bicycle Club,” said TransManage1 Program Manager, Augusta Prehn. “I can’t wait for next year!”

Check out the photos below of Bike To Work Day in Bellevue. See more here.

Like this event? Choose Your Way Bellevue will be at the following events in the next few months:

Bellevue Farmers Market – Dates and Times TBA
Lake to Lake Bike Ride – Saturday, June 14
Live At Lunch Concert Series – Dates and Times TBA
Bellevue Strawberry Festival – Saturday, June 28 and Sunday, June 29.

1. Organization working on On The Move Bellevue and Choose Your Way Bellevue.

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 11:10 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

Ever wonder what it’s really like to be in a vanpool? A Bellevue commuter gives us an exclusive look at how he got into a van and what it was like becoming a vanpool commuter at heart! Read on to hear Kurt’s story.

Vanpool

—-

Chapter One: Whatcom Transit Authority
Let’s just say, I am no stranger to commuting – I made the trek from Bellingham to Everett for over a year to my job at Boeing. I drove myself for about a month but I was dissatisfied, as you might imagine. I searched for commuting alternatives and I was made aware of rideshareonline.com* from a Boeing commuting resource. I immediately set up my profile and searched for fellow commuters. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of people with similar motives to my own. What a convenient and thoughtful approach for connecting commuters!

Within two weeks I was riding a Whatcom Transit Authority (WTA) vanpool. What a relief from that painful sixty-five mile (one way) drive by myself. I was also pleasantly surprised by the corporate incentive offered by Boeing to subsidize the cost of the van. It was a win-win all around. I could relax on the way to work and utilize the carpool lane on the way home for reduced commute time. On top of that, I was saving loads of money on gas and maintenance costs for my personal vehicle. Eventually though, I decided that it was time to move away from that little Canada-bordering town so near to my heart.

Chapter Two: Community Transit
I moved to Bellevue with the excited outlook of a fresh, booming city and the new lifestyle it held. The job however was still in Everett, so I remained one of the commuting faithful. This time I had a new and exciting starting point: Bellevue. Again however, I found myself behind that wheel at 6:20 every morning for a 30 mile commute; I needed a vanpool.

It was at that time that I discovered the Choose Your Way Bellevue website. Similar to my previous experience, I was directed to www.rideshareonline.com* where I updated my profile and started the search for a van going to Everett.Again, I was relieved to find fellow commuters with a desire to share the road with me. I was quickly plugged into a Community Transit vanpool with six other riders. Here I was back in a van, and excited to be saving time and money once again.

Chapter Three: King County Metro

The summer of 2013 was summer of change for me, and my work schedule was shifted unexpectedly more than once. At that point, I was unable to continue ridership in the Community Transit van and I was back on the road driving myself. I needed another van. I want to take a moment here and highlight the simplicity of finding another van to fit my schedule. It again took me just a matter of weeks to find, contact, and join a new van with a work schedule that worked for me. A new opportunity presented itself when I joined this King County Metro vanpool. I was asked to be a backup driver. While I was a little hesitant at first, I decided to accept the challenge knowing that this could only be a growth opportunity. I proceeded to take the simple, but information-packed King County Metro course and quickly became a backup driver. While I now drive rarely, I am glad that I am able to should the need arise. On top of that, it was a great refresher on rules of the road and the techniques of defensive driving.

Chapter Four: Vanpool Contentment
Currently I commute 23 miles each way and save the equivalent of $8 worth of gas and maintenance every single day. I catch the van just 1.5 miles away from my apartment. Boeing subsidizes the cost of the entire van for me – $56 per month. Sweet deal! The savings in my pocket are roughly $130/ month depending how often I ride in the van, and that sure adds up.

During the last two and a half years, I have become a vanpool commuter at heart. I utilize rideshare services and the resources available through Choose Your Way Bellevue and rideshareonline.com to find the best commuting solution for me. I have little doubt that I will need to find a commuting alternative again as our schedules sometimes change at work, and I have no doubt that it will be just as easy as the last time. See you on the road, fellow commuters – hopefully in the HOV lane.

*Downtown Bellevue On The Move is a network of Rideshareonline.com

Friday, January 31st, 2014 12:25 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

Photo by Chad Coleman (c) 2009 Chad Coleman

Photo by Chad Coleman (c) 2009 Chad Coleman

‘Tis the Magic Season to be jolly! We hope that many of you will come to downtown Bellevue to enjoy ice skating, the festivities, lights, dining and shopping. The warm, fuzzy holiday feeling is in the air, but it’s still chilly outside making road conditions slick and icy. Pedestrian safety is also a priority this season with the increase of foot traffic due to holiday shopping.

To ensure you have a safe and fun holiday in downtown Bellevue, we would like to share a few transportation tips! Do you have a few tips of your own for getting around for shopping and events, or a holiday commuting story you’d like to share? Did anyone wear their festive holiday sweater on the bus? Does your family have a favorite place you like to go to celebrate the holidays? How do you get there? Share your story to enter to win a free skate pass to the Chaplin’s Bellevue Subaru Ice Arena! You can post a comment below, post it on our Facebook wall or send stories to DBOnTheMove@cywb.org. We’ll be drawing 10 winners on Dec. 31. Winners will be notified by Jan. 2.

Choose Your Way Bellevue and Downtown Bellevue On The Move will be at the Chaplin’s Bellevue Ice Arena brought to you by Bank of America from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 23. Visit us to enter for a chance to win $100 in Commuter Plus Bonus Vouchers, vouchers that can be used at a number of commute-related businesses such as Brown Bear Car Wash, REI, Union 76 Gas (at participating locations), and more. Three lucky commuters will receive a $10 Starbucks gift card to keep them warm or hydrated, and there will be commuter swag giveaways that are essential when you’re on the go: tote bags, lanyards and bookmarks.

If you or someone you know is trying the bus for the first time, visit us at the event to receive a free ORCA card with $6 in e-purse fare loaded on it (certain restrictions apply)!

Magic Season Commuting and Transportation Tips:

RIDE TRANSIT: More than 20 Metro and Sound Transit bus routes come through the Bellevue Transit Center in the heart of downtown. Park your car at one of the nearby park-and-ride lots, such as the South Bellevue, Eastgate, or South Kirkland Park and Ride and take a bus the rest of the way downtown for shopping and attending downtown events. Visit the online trip planners at King County Metro or Sound Transit to plan your route.

TRY THE B-LINE: Metro’s RapidRide B Line route begins at the Redmond Transit Center and ends in downtown Bellevue with stops through Overlake, Crossroads and all along NE 8th Street.

TRAVEL WITH FRIENDS: Carpooling is a great way to shave time off your trip downtown. Be sure to use the direct access ramp at NE 6th Street off of I-405, as well as the HOV lanes on I-405, I-90 and parts of SR-520.

AVOID CONGESTION: Heading to the Bellevue Collection? Save time and skip the NE 8th Street exit off of I-405. Use NE 4th Street instead. Or make a jog to NE 2nd or NE 10th to avoid backups.

PARK NEAR THE PARK: Free on-street parking is available for up to 2 hours on and around Main Street in Old Bellevue. You’ll be just steps from your favorite Old Bellevue restaurants, boutiques and ice skating!

SAFETY FIRST: With even more people out and about, please use caution when making turns, and look out for pedestrians.

Download these mobile apps to help you get around in real-time.

  • ONE BUS AWAY: Taking the bus to complete holiday shopping? Download the OneBusAway app for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone and have real-time bus arrival times at your fingertips. onebusaway.org.
  • INRIX TRAFFIC OR WSDOT: Both apps will keep you in the know on real-time traffic and travel information. Save time by avoiding the backups! inrixtraffic.com and wsdot.gov
Monday, December 23rd, 2013 9:23 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

webfall commute challenge

One of the biggest challenges of carpooling, or even vanpooling, is following a schedule. Greg and his wife show us that schedule changes are manageable.

Have you ever wanted to try carpooling or vanpooling but scheduling has made you hesitant? Carpooling even once a week can make a difference on your time and budget. Find a van to join on DB On The Move. Contrary to what you may know about vanpooling, this mode can be flexible so you don’t have to be bound to a Monday to Friday schedule. You can ride in a vanpool even once or twice a week.

Read on to see how Greg’s second week of commuting went.

This was our second week commuting to work as a family and it didn’t go as smoothly as last week. On Monday, our plans to carpool took a last second detour as our child was sick so my wife and I drove separately in order for each of us to spend some time at home with our child. *

It’s still taking a bit of additional logistics and some sacrifices to stick to our carpooling commitment. On Tuesday we had planned to meet at 4 p.m. to leave for the day.  I went down to my usual waiting spot, but my wife got stuck in a meeting that ran late, until about 4:30 p.m.  I didn’t mind the waiting, but it was just another small logistical glitch for us.  On the bright side for Tuesday, we decided to go to Costco on the way home from work.  I-405 north had really bad traffic, but we were able to use the carpool lanes all the way up which saved us a ton of time getting there!  All-in-all we’re still enjoying carpooling.

–Greg

*Editor’s Note: Check with your employer to see if there is an Emergency Ride Home program available to employees. The Emergency Ride Home program allows for an employee to be reimbursed for a taxi ride if an emergency, such as leaving work to tend to a sick family member, may occur.

Friday, December 13th, 2013 5:01 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

webfall commute challenge

There’s an app for just about anything, but transit and traffic apps are especially helpful for the common commuter. These apps give us updates on bus schedules or traffic delays and they allow for us to plan ahead. Commute Challenger, Crystal shares her experience with using One Bus Away.

Kind of crazy that my first journal entry was chosen for the blog, however I’m glad that I could share my Fall Commute Challenge motivation with others and maybe even inspire someone else to consider a new mode of transportation. Here’s a recap of my second week of commuting:

Monday, Nov. 11, I took the bus both ways, well almost. My husband has still been wonderful about dropping me off in the mornings at my stop in the University District so that I only have to take one bus in the mornings. When I returned to the U in the evening I quickly realized that Veteran’s Day might be affecting the bus schedule, as there were only about a third of the commuters typically waiting for their transfers.

Since moving from Florida and hearing about the One Bus Away app I’ve used it to get around town and check bus times. It’s really great and not everyone knows about it (I try to spread the word when I can). Sometimes it’s a blessing, sometimes it’s a curse. On the one hand you can locate bus routes, check times to see when your bus is scheduled to arrive, if it’s running late, etc. On the other hand you can also see that you juuuuuust missed your transfer and will be waiting another 15 minutes until the next one shows up. Most of the time it’s pretty much right on track*, but there have been a couple of times when I’m standing at a bus stop and it says 4 buses passed my stop when they actually never showed up. I am still not up on the way the app actually works but it has been both a lifesaver and a frustration maker.

I checked the buses on One Bus Away and there were no Route 70 buses scheduled to show up for another 30 minutes. I thought that it just might be one of those days when it never shows up at all so I decided to walk to the 66 stop on the University Bridge. I arrived at the 66 stop and there was one guy waiting. One Bus Away said I had just missed it by five minutes and the next would arrive in about 15 minutes so I decided to keep walking home to Eastlake. It’s not a bad walk (1.7 miles from the University District stop) and it was nice and cool out. I dialed my mom and started chatting as I walked my way home. Just as I crossed the bridge I saw the 66 and the 70 bus passing me. BAH! One Bus Away tricked me again. As much as it can make me crazy it is a helpful tool. My husband had offered to pick me up on his way home but I just enjoyed the rest of the walk and caught up with my mom on the phone.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were pretty uneventful. All included roundtrip bus rides and lots of reading. Since starting my personal commute challenge I have been reading a lot more. I really enjoy reading in my spare time but often life gets busy and I find other things to occupy my time during the workweek. Now I have about an hour and a half each day to read; time all to myself that I don’t have to worry about traffic, filling up my car with gas, and all the other stressors that come along with commuting.  All in all I am pleased with how things are turning out and the best part, it’s been free to try. THANKS DOWNTOWN BELLEVUE ON THE MOVE!

Somehow I’ve managed to write too much again so I’ll save my Friday experience for journal entry 3.

–Crystal

*Editor’s Note: One Bus Away in the Puget Sound region receives time predictions from GPS-based tracking systems (King County Metro) or they are based on schedule data that is provided by the transit agency so a few delays may occur. If you have experienced issues with the application feel free to send feedback to onebusaway@soundtransit.org.

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 9:42 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

webfall commute challenge

The Autumn days are getting colder and darker! It’s nice to have some company during a commute. Fall Commute Challenger, Greg, is carpooling to work with his wife. It had been difficult in the past to carpool together since they have different work schedules, but Greg shares what sacrifices they’ve made to make the commute work and the overall benefits to carpooling thus far.

What sacrifices have you had to make in order to choose a different commute? We’ve all made some but there are plenty of benefits such as major time and money savings and incentives such as the $50 Get Started reward by participating in the Downtown Bellevue On The Move program.

Read on to hear more about Greg’s commuting story!

This was our first week commuting to work as a family and it went pretty well. My wife and I were both surprised at how nice it is to start and end your day with someone in the seat next to you rather than alone. We also have been loving the carpool lanes on our commute and the carpool entrances to I405 at NE 6th and NE 4th.

It has taken a bit of additional logistics and some sacrifices to stick to our carpooling commitment. My wife and I are regularly checking in on our work schedules— who needs to be at work when, who will be done when, who will drop whom off. Last Friday she was done with work early, and had we not carpooled, likely would have gone home a few hours early. Since we had driven together, she ended up killing time on the internet waiting for me to finish up. All-in-all we’re enjoying it and have noticed the gas savings after cutting out just a handful of commutes.

–Greg

Friday, November 22nd, 2013 4:10 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

webfall commute challenge

Think back to when you decided to switch to a new, greener commute. What motivated you? Our Fall Commute Challenger, Gaser, tells us what motivated him. The sight of bumper-to-bumper traffic definitely makes him want to continue his commute challenge! If you’re a commuter that is thinking about riding the bus, but distance is an issue, read Gaser’s Fall Commute Challenge post for a bit of Green Commuting Inspiration!

After commuting and waiting too long on regular lanes in rush hour, and seeing many accidents on the way to work every morning, I started to think about taking a safer way, where I can relax, and spend the commute time reading, or planning for my vacation, and most importantly being greener.

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Starting Friday Nov. 1, I started exploring the best route to and from home. At the beginning I didn’t think I’d ever find a route, but through the Fall Commute Challenge and the help provided, as well as using the King County Metro website, Bing and Google maps I figured out that I can take an early bus from Snoqualmie (route 215) to Eastgate Park-and-Ride and then take route 556 to Downtown Bellevue.

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I started enjoying this route in the early morning where the transfer waiting time is only 10-15 minutes. Looking back at the other very crowded lanes from the HOV lane gave me more motivation to continue.

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On the other hand, the way back home, and with the daylight’s savings time change, the challenge started to be interesting. It is too dark, and there is no way to go back home in a timely manner. For some reason the sync between route 215 and route 556 that I enjoyed in the morning, is flipped on the way back home. Route 215 reaches the Eastgate Park-and-Ride before route 556, which means I have to wait for the second one.  To make it more fun, route 215 is one where there is no regular fixed time between its buses at this stop, and the time distribution isn’t [consistent]. In other words, don’t expect that if you missed one you would wait a constant time for the second one (15 min, or 30 min); it is different from time to time, starting from 30 minutes to 50 minutes.*

The challenge is continuing, and the mystery to find the right synchronized bus routes still needs more investigation.

There is another though, which could involve biking, and I’m still investigating and evaluating the visibility of it.

–Gaser

*Editor’s note: Route 215 does have fixed start time for each of its runs, but other stops have estimated timepoints.

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 5:28 PM | by geri | Add a Comment
The Fall Commute Challenge is under way and we have batch of challengers!
It’s cold outside– so partnering up in a cozy carpool seems to be the way to go with two of our challengers. But the other two are taking the bus and one of them is even braving the bike ride for part of their commute!

webfall commute challenge

The Fall Commute Challenge is under way and we have a new batch of challengers!

It’s cold outside so partnering up in a cozy carpool seems to be the way to go with two of our new challengers. But the other two are taking the bus and one of them is even riding his bike for part of his commute!

Our first post comes from Crystal; read on to find out why she decided to try a new commute. Can you relate? Comment below!

My name is Crystal and I recently started my own personal commute challenge. I take care of managing the finances in our household of two (plus one dog) and I had recently revised our budget for the year. After discussing the new budget with my husband we decided to try and challenge ourselves to move outside our comfort zone and make small, everyday changes in hopes of seeing a payoff on our bottom line. Everyone wants to save money, lose weight, get a great new job but not all want to put in the work and make the changes to achieve their goals. I am guilty of this myself but we’d finally had enough and decided to start trying to change.

We decided to be better about eating out, making our lunches for work and asking ourselves to stop and think it if was worth the money for that latte you sometimes crave. Another area that I felt I could try and improve was my commute. I live in Seattle and work in Bellevue and up until recently my husband was commuting to Bremerton. We had moved from Florida and until I got my job I had driven him to the ferry each morning. After getting my job in Bellevue that stopped, and he started taking the bus to and from the ferry docks. Frustration set in and he decided to start biking to the ferry. It was greener, he was able to exercise and he wasn’t stuck on a bus downtown and could even get home in less time. I was happy he found a way to make three hour commute each day more bearable.

A couple months ago my husband switched jobs (now he works in Everett). We were paying for 2 people to commute each day so I thought I should try to start taking the bus as my primary mode of transportation. We had moved from FL where there is almost NO public transportation to a city where I felt sure I’d be taking public transit and here I was still driving. I felt like it was just time- time to push myself out of my comfort zone and see if I could do it. I started periodically taking the bus, though admittedly I couldn’t give up my parking pass. Some days I have errands to run, sometimes you’re sick and don’t want to sit on a bus and some days you’re late and need that extra 20 minutes at home. But I started trying nonetheless.

I let my coworkers know about my new schedule (I get in a ½ an hour earlier and leave ½ hour earlier) and everyone warned that it will be harder once it’s raining constantly. My HR person knew I was trying to make a change and forwarded along the email and application information for the Fall Commute challenge. I explained my situation, applied and here I am, finished with week 1. Here’s a recap of my week:

I received my Orca card on 11/4/13 and used it to take the bus home that evening. My husband has been sweet enough to drop me off in the U where my bus stop is (it’s my transfer stop in the evening). It saves me one leg in the morning and it’s a nice way to start the day together. He had a dentist appointment Tuesday so I decided to drive in. THANK GOODNESS I did… Traffic was terrible due to an accident on I5 and 520 was backed up as well. I sat in my car for about two hours. I know it wasn’t green but I was very thankful I was in the comfort of my own car, listening to music and not feeling as if I had to escape the bus. I took the bus round trip Wednesday and Thursday and then took the bus to work Friday, however my husband picked me up from work on our way out of town.

Commuting on the bus has been nice so far. I love to read and I’ve had much more time to do so. I’m glad that I’ve kept pushing myself to try and make a difference, for the environment and for our budget. I’ll keep you posted on the rest of my bus adventures but so far so good.

Stay tuned for more!

Friday, November 15th, 2013 5:56 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

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This past summer we saw four courageous commute challengers hit the road by bike, bus and carpool. We dared them to leave their car at home or share the ride for a month. And what we found were positive responses. Check below for the Top Three Revelations of Greener Commuting:
Carpools allows for quick travel and great conversations. Brandon got to know a new friend and enjoyed music and conversations while on the road. Because he and his carpool partner drove in the HOV lane, they were able to get to work faster than they would have driving alone. You can find a carpool partner here [Linked] through the DBOnTheMove network!
Ride your bike and cross “exercise” off your to-do list.  Gillian and Kate rode their bikes to work and were excited to get their exercise in earlier in the day while enjoying the beautiful weather. It’s a great way to get your day started especially when you might be inside the majority of the day. Also, by exercising while you commute you’re saving time by not having to go to the gym after work and saving money by not getting a gym membership.
Taking the bus is relaxing.  We’ve heard from our past commute challengers that they were able to read a book, take a quick nap and catch up on email before they head into the office. Stress was eliminated just by not worrying about traffic on the road.
The Summer Commute Challengers learned what it was like to commute via alternative mode transportation and found out if it fit with their lifestyle. A few have continued to keep commuting greener and some confirmed that it wasn’t for them. One challenger was able to find a more efficient route to work saving time and gas.  Another challenger continued to log his trips and recently earned his $50 Get Started reward (link to reward info).
DBOTM is looking for a new set of Commute Challengers! DBOTM staff will help the new Commute Challengers plan their commute from start to finish and even pay for one month of commuting (while supplies last). You’ll get to join them on their journey with weekly blog updates about their experiences.
Already commute greener? Share it with a friend! Tell us what you like about your commute and we will share it with the new challengers. Solo commuter? Check out the application link below to sign-up for the Fall Commute Challenge!
We are excited for this fall; leaves are changing color, the scarves and gloves are coming out and commuters are turning over a new leaf by leaving their cars at home!
Fill out the Fall Commute Challenge application today!
Downtown Bellevue On The Move Staff
Join the Downtown Bellevue On The Move Network. Learn how at www.DBOnTheMove.org.

This past summer we saw four courageous commute challengers hit the road by bike, bus and carpool. We dared them to leave their car at home or share the ride for a month. And what we found were positive responses. Check below for the Top Three Revelations of Greener Commuting:

  • Carpools allows for quick travel and great conversations. Brandon got to know a new friend and enjoyed music and conversations while on the road. Because he and his carpool partner drove in the HOV lane, they were able to get to work faster than they would have driving alone. You can find a carpool partner on the Downtown Bellevue On The Move network!
  • Ride your bike and cross “exercise” off your to-do list.  Gillian and Kate rode their bikes to work and were excited to get their exercise in earlier in the day while enjoying the beautiful weather. It’s a great way to get your day started especially when you might be inside the majority of the day. Also, by exercising while you commute you’re saving time by not having to go to the gym after work and saving money by not getting a gym membership.
  • Taking the bus is relaxing.  We’ve heard from our past commute challengers that they were able to read a book, take a quick nap and catch up on email before they head into the office. Stress was eliminated just by not worrying about traffic on the road.

The Summer Commute Challengers learned what it was like to commute via alternative mode transportation and found out if it fit with their lifestyle. A few have continued to keep commuting greener and some confirmed that it wasn’t for them. One challenger was able to find a more efficient route to work saving time and gas.  Another challenger continued to log his trips and recently earned his $50 Get Started reward.

DBOTM is looking for a new set of Commute Challengers! DBOTM staff will help the new Commute Challengers plan their commute from start to finish and even pay for one month of commuting (while supplies last). You’ll get to join them on their journey with weekly blog updates about their experiences.

Already commute greener? Share it with a friend! Tell us what you like about your commute and we will share it with the new challengers. Solo commuter? Check out the application link below to sign-up for the Fall Commute Challenge!

We are excited for this fall; leaves are changing color, the scarves and gloves are coming out and commuters are turning over a new leaf by leaving their cars at home!

Fill out the Fall Commute Challenge application today, or challenge your friends and family to take the greener way!

Downtown Bellevue On The Move Staff

Join the Downtown Bellevue On The Move network! Learn how at www.DBOnTheMove.org

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 5:02 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

Recently some of our staff thought it would be fun to explore different areas we can reach from downtown Bellevue by bus. This started as an interesting way to spend our lunch hour and explore routes we hadn’t taken before but is now evolving into a regular blog post about ways you can leave your car behind without missing out on anything.

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We started out with Kirkland because it’s nearby and easy to get to – plus, a couple of the newbies on the DBOTM team had never been to downtown Kirkland before.

We hopped on Metro’s Route 235, which, along with the 234, leaves the Bellevue Transit Center approximately every 15 minutes during the day. It took us about 25 minutes to get to our destination – the Kirkland Transit Center. This transit center is a very short walk from downtown Kirkland and all it has to offer.

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We planned this outing around lunch time which was perfect because there are many restaurants right near the transit center on Central Way and Park Lane. We ate at a Thai restaurant and it was delicious. If the weather had cooperated more we would have eaten our food at Marina Park, which is less than 10 minutes from the transit center. Marina Park is even home to outdoor concerts in the summer and events year-round.

After lunch, we window-shopped along Park Lane on our way back to the transit center. All in all, it was a bit longer than a typical lunch hour, but it was so easy getting there and back.

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Now that we know that downtown Kirkland is just a short ride away, we can grab lunch after a meeting nearby, meet friends after work for happy hour or just explore the fun shops and stores throughout downtown. And we can do this all stress-free, without driving or sitting in traffic on I-405 because the 234 and 235 both take back roads into Kirkland.

We also got a chance to see the brand new parking structure a the South Kirkland Park and Ride. It looks great! Anyone used it yet?

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Where have you explored recently by bus? Where should we go next?

Thursday, September 26th, 2013 9:55 AM | by admin | Add a Comment

Ever wonder who is behind the Choose Your Way Bellevue Blog and the Downtown Bellevue On The Move Network? Well, today is your lucky day. The Connect Downtown Partnership is responsible for both of these programs. The Partnership is made up of staff from the City of Bellevue, King County Metro and TransManage.

Alissa
TransManage
Social Media and Web Coordinator

What I do: I’m behind our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter and I also update our blog and website.

How I get there: I started riding the bus to work for my first job out of college when I was commuting from downtown Bellevue into Seattle. Even though my commute would have been shorter if I drove myself, I chose to ride the bus because reading a book on the bus was a lot more relaxing than sitting in traffic. I now commute from Redmond to downtown Bellevue and still have a shorter commute if I drove alone, but the stress of rush hour isn’t worth it to me. If I’m in the middle of a great book, I take Metro’s B-Line winding my way through Redmond and Bellevue while reading a few chapters. If I’m in a rush I can drive to the Overlake Transit Center and catch the 566 which gets me to downtown Bellevue in about 15 minutes.

Allison
TransManage
DBOTM Member Deals Coordinator

What I do: I find new companies to join our new Downtown Bellevue On The Move Member Deals Pilot Program.

How I get there: I enjoy beginning each work day by hopping on the bus near Green Lake with my iPod and coffee in hand and commuting to downtown Bellevue. When I moved to Seattle for school I didn’t have a car so I got used to riding the bus and carpooling. When I began working in Bellevue I didn’t even think about driving, my first thought was which bus do I need to take. My commute allows me to relax, recharge and save some cash. If I had to sit in traffic every day I would probably be pretty cranky by the time I got to work.

Augusta
TransManage
Program Manager

What I do: I oversee the TransManage team and make sure we’re continuing to provide a great program to downtown Bellevue residents and employees. I also work closely with businesses in downtown Bellevue to improve their employees’ commutes.

How I get there: I love my walk to work; getting my heart pumping and some fresh air before sitting down at my desk for the morning is a great way to start off my day. When I walk I get a chance to window shop; I look for familiar faces and I get the opportunity to notice interesting details of the neighborhood that I just wouldn’t notice if I were focused on driving. My favorite route takes me through a park and past interesting stores and sometimes I even make it down the road faster than some of the cars who are stuck in traffic! Walking is the best start and finish to my day, and I love that I can go weeks without driving my car, saving money all the while.

Clare
King County Metro
Rideshare Operations Planner

What I do: I use vanpool, vanshare, carpool and RideshareOnline.com programs to show commuters how to create personalized, non-drive alone commutes to fit their work/life demands and save a ton of money.

How I get there: I started commuting on trains and buses at the age of 12.  Now I am full-time bus rider.  The bus gets me to work reliably and removes the tense, running-late, frustrated-by-stupid-traffic commuter that I would be if I drove alone.

Debbie
King County Metro
Program/Project Manager
King County Commute Trip Reduction Representative

What I do: Represent Metro as a transportation resource for both large employers and smaller businesses in Bellevue who are seeking commute alternatives for their employees, and also provide staffing for employee events.

How I get there:
Riding the bus to-and-from work each day is one of my favorite times of the day.  I can read, relax, daydream, catch up on e-mails or knit.  When I was young, I rode two buses to-and-from school and learned I could finish my homework while making the long trip and be free to do other things when I got home.  That lesson was a good one that still applies to me today.  And, it is one that I hope more people will pass on to their young.  Teach them that taking the bus is a great alternative to driving a car.

Geri
TransManage
Member and Incentives Coordinator

What I do:As the newest member of the team, I just started managing our incentives program. You’ve probably had an email or two from me if you’ve earned your Get Started reward recently.

How I get there: When I planned my move from Bellingham to Renton, I made sure that my new place was close to a transit center or bus line. Riding the bus is important to me because I care about how I treat the environment and I want to save money. I’d also much rather relax on a bus ride for 30 minutes, rather than sitting in traffic. I carpool with my boyfriend to the Renton Transit Center and then take the 566 Sound Transit Express to the Bellevue Transit Center. The bus comes frequently so I’m not worried if I miss a bus. If I drove myself to work, I’d be spending more than $200 on gas a month when now I spend half that!

Kate
City of Bellevue
Transportation Planner

What I do: I manage the Choose Your Way Bellevue and Downtown Bellevue On The Move programs for the City of Bellevue, in partnership with King County Metro and TransManage. These programs inform the public about transportation options and help ease the way for getting around by transit, carpool, vanpool, walking and biking.

How I get there: After growing up in Bellevue and riding the bus a lot as a kid, I feel fortunate to work here as a transportation planner making it easier for people to get around without driving alone. In the past I have settled on a year-round combined bicycle and bus commute on most days and keep my attire simple with a rubber band around my pants leg (plus helmet, lights and reflective gear). However, I recently joined a vanpool and it’s quite a bit faster than the bus. The only drawback is that it is too close to my home – only one mile from my home, so on most days I take a roundabout bike ride home from my van drop-off point to get more exercise.

Pamela
King County Metro
Employer Transportation Representative

What I Do: Represent Metro as a transportation resource for both large employers and smaller businesses in Bellevue who are seeking commute alternatives for their employees, and also provide staffing for employee events.

How I Get There: I have a Metro bus stop at the end of my block near the end of the #7 line, and my employer provides me a free pass.  On days when I’m not riding my bike to work, I can either hop on the #7 or I can get a lift to the light rail station at Henderson & MLK Blvd.  Taking the bus or rail provides me time to read, check email/texts or send messages.  (I don’t make phone calls because I think most folks prefer a quiet commute)  When I ride my bike to work, I have the option of cruising along Lake Washington Blvd. (relatively flat) to the I-90 tunnel, or taking the Chief Sealth Trail over Beacon Hill which is quite hilly and gives me a good work out.  People may not realize they have options to driving alone, and unless you try at least one of those, you won’t experience the benefits of doing it differently.  Bus it, bike it, try it, you’ll like it!

Monday, September 16th, 2013 10:00 AM | by admin | Add a Comment

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Brandon is one of our challengers that decided to ride the bus and carpool. Brandon shows us how fun carpooling with a friend can be. Whether it’s jamming to music or getting to know each other (and yourself) carpool is one way to beat the commuting blues!

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The Carpool Chronicles: Started off the month of August with a fresh, new exciting way; it has been quite eventful believe it or not. I would leave my house with my co-worker and friend (Adriana) the first couple of days. I never knew how much fun, exciting and intriguing our rides were going to be. I have learned a lot about myself and my budget (HA) while carpooling. I am prepared for this challenge and what it has to uphold. LET’S DO IT!

August 8-It’s Monday morning. Adriana and I are prepared to take on the week.The day starts off a little gloomy (weather that is) but during our commute we blasted Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Trey Songz “Two Reason” as we were going down I-405. That is how you start it right when carpooling with cool people!

August 28- Rainy and gloomy Wednesday. I was late getting up this morning and the traffic from my house to the Renton Transit Center was AWFUL!!!!!!!!!!!! On top of that I arrived at the transit center and there was this very looooooooooooong line patiently awaiting the 566. I quickly forgot how busy and popular the 566 is heading to Bellevue. Lesson learned: GET UP ON TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 3- It’s Wednesday, weekend after Labor Day and school are officially in session (at least a lot of the eastside schools are). Traffic of course is horrific but I am so glad that my carpool buddy Adriana was willing to drive. This carpooling stuff is not a bad idea after all.

Brandon

Friday, September 13th, 2013 9:56 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

GreenWA Blog Post

We got to sit and talk with Paul Andersson about GreenWA.org, a sustainability resource for the community.

What do you know about sustainability? We all can lead a sustainable lifestyle in some way whether it’s where we work, how we get to work, or how we live within our local economy. Sometimes it might seem hard to figure out how you can get started, but with the right resources and a little determination, a small change could make a big impact. We suggest starting with GreenWA.org, Bellevue’s resource for turning the concept of sustainability into action.

Paul Andersson is a Program Administrator at the City of Bellevue who leads the GreenWA project in partnership with other local organizations. Thanks to a federal stimulus grant, Andersson was able to build an interactive website that showcases creative ways to be sustainable. Andersson says the city’s strategy for sustainability outreach is divided among three pillars: city operations, business sector and residential sector.

GreenWA comes in at the residential outreach level. The purpose of the website is to inspire people in the community to be good stewards to the environment while at the same time reap the benefits of living healthfully. The interactive websites include detailed maps and videos among six categories:

  • Natural Environment
  • Mobility
  • Green Building
  • Local Economy
  • Culture & Community
  • Reuse & Recycle

Those who are thinking about commuting via alternative mode (or who already are) can navigate a user-friendly map that pinpoints transit centers, bicycle infastructure and electric vehicle charging stations in Bellevue. Andersson says Bellevue is one of the leading cities pioneering the use of electric vehicles (EVs). Bellevue’s has more than 50 electric vehicle charging stations available to the public. Drivers have saved over 7,000 gallons of gas from the use of 22 city-operated stations alone.

The efforts put forth by the city show a strong push in maintaining a balance between urban development and recreation for the pursuit of healthy living. The Downtown Livability initiative strives to implement a pedestrian and bike environment within the community, improve the area as a residential setting and incorporate future transportation plans.  In addition, local businesses taking the Green Business Challenge are in competition with each other to help reduce the natural resources they consume, resulting in lower costs, enhanced brand and improvement of the environment.

Twelve partners, including Downtown Bellevue On The Move, contribute to the GreenWA website to offer diverse sectors of sustainability on the website. Andersson says he hopes the website can be a template for other communities to use. He also hopes to strengthen elements of community engagement on the site, much like the pilot outreach campaign, Bellevue’s Best Ideas.

Check out GreenWA.org today and get started living a more sustainable lifestyle!

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 2:54 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

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Remember Kate? She kicked off her challenge by biking and riding the bus to work! We last heard from her when she got a new bike and got sweet lights so she can see better and be seen when riding at night! Read on to find out how the rest of her commute went!

Thursday, August 15, 2013 So Sore, Bike Repairs
Today I honestly felt like I could not go on. I am SORE! I knew I would be sore on Wednesday from my first day of riding on Tuesday, and like any intense work out, the soreness on the second day (today, Thursday) is worse. I tried fiddling around with the gears, maybe more pedaling with less resistance would be the trick. Now my gears seem to be doing some strange clicking/grinding noise. It looks like the chain is rubbing against something. It stopped when I rotated my gear shifter a little. So in addition to being sore and focusing on the road I had to exert more effort to keep my gear shifter partially rotated throughout my ride to prevent the chain from rubbing.

Friday, August 16, 2013 The Wheels on the Bus
I had so much fun taking the bus to work today. The bus stop is about a half mile walk from my house. This morning my husband dropped me off at the bus stop. Lucky girl! While I was waiting for the bus somebody ran by on their morning jog. I gave them a high five for encouragement, they chuckled. It was fun. On the bus I started chatting with this girl about how awesome the King County Library System is. While we were chatting I wasn’t paying much attention to the stops. This is a new route for me and I suddenly realized we were getting close to my work, so I hopped up and got off the bus. As it turns out I got off a stop too early. That turned out to be a happy mistake since I ran into a coworker walking to work.

On the way home I got to see a building my company designed. I think it looks pretty slick. I am proud of the work they do, so I grabbed my phone and took a picture. Riding the bus is awesome because you can snap photos without the need to keep your eyes on the road, like in a car.

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Monday, August 19, 2013 Uphill Both Ways
Okay, so the joke about old people is how they always exaggerate that they had to walk to school uphill both ways (barefoot, in the snow, you know the story)
I finally get it.
There is a peak in my commute. I spend part of each commute struggling uphill, and part of it coasting downhill. Guess which part is more fun?
All I have to say is: I am really glad there are showers in my office building!

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It takes a bit of preparation to ride my bike in to work. I need to pack my breakfast and lunch the night before, get my office clothes packed and my workout clothes laid out for my ride in. I also have to take shower supplies, a towel and flippy floppies. Fortunately I inherited a great backpack that fits all this and it has hip and chest straps. I find those quite useful for holding the bag to my body while I ride.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 Rode the Bus, Again
I rode the bus again today; it wasn’t quite as fun as last week. You might think it’s crazy to give high fives to strangers running past you, but it’s not as odd as it sounds. Most people are quite receptive to it and you will both feel better for it. It is a mini pick-me-up. That being said, I know my high fives might get left hanging every now again, like today. I tried to high five a lady who jogged past. She wasn’t feelin’ the good vibes. The bus was full of people on their smartphones. Hum-drum commute, I plan on biking for the rest of the week.
Since I only live 4 miles away from home it is not really efficient for me to take the bus. I would have a shorter commute and spend less money on gas if I drove myself, instead of a $2.25-$2.50 bus fare. Biking may take longer than riding the bus, but it is free and I get exercise too. The bus is the option I have to choose if I oversleep or need to take something large or heavy to or from work.
I have heard that it is dangerous to ride with headphones on because you need to hear the traffic, I wonder if there is some way to mount my ipod to my frame… it would be fun to have some tunes to boost my energy while pedaling up hills! (I Googled “bike safety for adults” and NHTSA.gov had an informative PDF to read.)

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I took this snapshot while I was riding the bus this morning. This is the building I work in. I love being able to capture moments on my ride in to work,

Friday, September 6th, 2013 4:08 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

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Commute Challenger Cheryl decided she wanted to try to take the bus from Kirkland to Downtown Bellevue. She has found that commuting via alternative mode is not for her, due to her relatively short commute by car. Even though she won’t continue to take the bus, she has learned new routes that are faster to take thanks to her experience.

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August 5 – 9, 2013 – Week 1 – Bus commute between Kirkland & Bellevue

Nice morning for a short walk in the sun to the Kirkland Transit Center (KTC).  Not the best experience to start with – KTC is very dirty and the bus was old and musty smelling. There were many stops along the way to the Bellevue Transit Center (BTC). The bus ride home in the afternoon was in better condition but it was warm outside and there was no A/C on the bus.* Total commute time took about 30 minutes longer (including time waiting for the bus) than driving.  On the positive side, however, there was no traffic stress, the drivers were nice, commute is literally door-to-door, and I could sit back and relax!

*A metro representative notified DBOTM staff saying they are in the process of getting new buses:

“Whenever an old bus is taken out of our fleet and replaced with a new one—the new coach does come equipped with A/C.  But I don’t know how long that process will take, as Metro does tend to provide such good maintenance of their fleet that the buses have a long life. This probably explains the ‘old and musty’ comment.” – Pamela

August 12 – 16, 2013 – Week 2

I rode the bus twice this week due to other commitments after work.  I was accosted at BTC by a young man asking for money. After the news this week of a bus driver being shot in Seattle, I was pleased to see the great attitude and continued kindness of the bus drivers.

August 19 – 23, 2013 – Week 3

I rode the bus four days this week. Tuesday, Aug. 20 – See first picture of KTC below. Not a lovely start to the bus ride and it upsets me that Metro and City of Kirkland don’t take better care of this. Kirkland says it’s Metro’s responsibility but I think it should be shared, especially with City of Kirkland workers out and about early in the morning. Once on the bus, however, the scenery is beautiful, especially on a nice day (see second picture of the lake from the bus below). I received an email back from Metro – they say the Kirkland Transit Center is Sound Transit’s responsibility. The response from the City Manager of Kirkland says they will work with Metro. On Friday morning, it’s still not cleaned. I will continue to try to bring attention to the need for some agency to take responsibility.*

Cheryl JOnes Kirkland Transit Center 8-20-13

Cheryl JonesNice view from the bus

*Status as of 9/4/13: City of Bellevue staff determined that Metro is responsible for cleaning this particular shelter at the Kirkland Transit Center. After initial delay due to the complexity of ownership among transit agencies at this location, Sound Transit helped by contacting Metro to alert them of the need. The city followed up with Metro and learned that Metro staff have put in a work order for this shelter to be cleaned. Thank you, Cheryl, for alerting transit agencies of this maintenance need.

August 26 – 30, 2013 – Week 4

I rode the bus four days this week.  Monday, Aug. 26 – First rain since I’ve been riding the bus. I should listen to the weather report and plan ahead, which I did not, and ended up walking home from the bus stop in the rain. Tuesday, Aug, 27 – A beautiful huge rainbow arched over Kirkland this morning but my cell phone was dead, so I couldn’t take a picture.  Things you see from the bus are very different than things you see from your car while driving.  I would recommend everyone take some bus rides around their town – you’ll see things you never noticed before.

All in all this has been a good experience. I’ve learned a new, less crowded route to and from work.  The Metro bus drivers are friendly and helpful. The buses between home and work run every 15 to 20 minutes so it’s pretty convenient.  Savings calculated on the Downtown Bellevue On The Move network showed I saved $17, 3 gallons gas, 47 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, and I did 24 trips of not driving alone.  Since my commute is pretty short (less than five miles) I think the greenest thing about taking the bus is just one less car on the road and less emissions. I’ve enjoyed sitting back and relaxing, looking at the scenery and not having to be concerned about the traffic and the other crazy drivers.

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013 3:31 PM | by geri | Add a Comment