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Commuting To Magic Season

Posted on November 27, 2019

Magic Season

The holiday season is here, and with it, the start of Magic Season in Bellevue! There are a multitude of activities to experience over the coming weeks -- skating at the Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink, witnessing the incredible Snowflake Lane parade, watching enchanting performances at the Meydenbauer Center Theatre and taking in the illuminated Garden d'Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden. If you decide to experience one or experience them all, skip the parking and traffic this year: Choose Your Way Bellevue encourages you to save time and money by taking alternative modes of transportation to Bellevue's festivities. We've rounded up the easiest ways to do just that for each event:

Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink presented by Symetra

Ice Rink

Cycling - Utilize the high-comfort bike lanes southbound on 108th Avenue and westbound on Main Street to get to Bellevue Downtown Park. Use the Bellevue Bike map or the bike icon on Google Maps to help plan your bike route.

Carpool - Make the most out of the car space, grab some friends and head to Bellevue Downtown Park where free parking is provided. If the lot is full, you can park in Bellevue Square mall parking and take a short walk down 100th Avenue or Bellevue Way Northeast to get to the rink.

Bus - Take the bus to the Bellevue Transit Center, walk south and then three block west on Northeast Fourth Street to get to the rink.

Meydenbauer Center Theatre

Meydenbauer Center Theatre

Cycling - The new bike lane on 112th Avenue Northeast from Northeast Eighth Street to SR 520 provides access to Meydenbauer Center Theatre. Use the Bellevue Bike Map or use the bike icon on Google Maps to help plan your route accordingly.

Carpool - Vehicle parking is provided at the Meydenbauer Center. The first 30 minutes is free, while the first hour costs $5 and increases from there. Carpooling allows you to share the cost!

Bus - We recommend taking the bus to the Bellevue Transit Center and making a short walk eastbound on Northeast Sixth Street to get to the Meydenbauer Center.

Snowflake Lane

Snowflake Lane

Cycling - Utilize the high-comfort bike lanes on 108th Avenue (Main to Northeast Twelfth Streets) and Main Street (Bellevue Way to 108th Avenue Northeast) to get to Bellevue Way Northeast to enjoy the experience. Check out the Bellevue Bike Map or use the bike icon on Google Maps to help plan your bike route.

Carpool - Free vehicle parking is provided at Bellevue Square mall and getting to Snowflake Lane is a short walk away from Bellevue Square parking.

Bus - Take the bus to the Bellevue Transit Center and walk westbound on the Grand Connection (Northeast Sixth Street) to make your way to Snowflake Lane.

Garden d'Lights

Garden d'Lights

Cycling - Utilize bike lanes on Northeast Fourth Street, 120th Avenue Northeast and 118th Avenue Northeast. Use the Bellevue Bike Map or use the bike icon on Google Maps to plan your route accordingly.

Carpool - Parking is provided at Bellevue Botanical Garden.

Bus - We recommend taking the 271 bus route that will drop you off right by Bellevue Botanical Garden. From there, walk down Southeast First Street, then Main Street until you get to Garden d'Lights.

General tips on some options

Cycling

There are bike stations located at Bellevue Downtown Park where you can lock your personal bike. Take a gander at the Bellevue Bike Map to help you plan your route.

Carpool

Bellevue Way will be closed from Northeast Fourth Street to Northeast Eighth Street, 6:30 to 7:45 pm nightly, from Nov. 29 through Dec. 24.

Free parking is available at:

  • Bellevue Downtown Park
  • Bellevue Square Mall

Keep in mind that this is an extremely traffic heavy time of year and finding parking can often be a challenge. Try using other methods of transportation like biking or busing!

Transit

We recommend taking the bus to the Bellevue Transit Center. It is a transportation hub and requires just a short walk to the Meydenbauer Center Theatre, Snowflake Lane and the Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink.

  • Carry your exact bus fare in cash or have your ORCA card ready to go. Use the transit icon on Google Maps to plan your route accordingly or ask us for help.
  • Free fares for children: Up to four children ages five and under always ride free with a paying adult on Sound Transit and King County Metro buses.

Safe commuting and Happy Holidays!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Alex

 

12 Things You Could Do on Your Commute if You Weren't Driving

Posted on October 31, 2019


1.    Knit a sweater

  • What’s better than making something from scratch?

Knit Sweater

2.    Master a new language

  • Being fluent in another language will make you cooler. Guaranteed.

3.    Catch up with a long-lost pen pal 

  • When was the last time you talked to your pen pal? Probably when you were nine years old--let’s change that!

4.    Watch all episodes of The Office. All of them.

  • The greatest show on American television can never have enough appreciation… get caught up! 

5.    Memorize the lyrics to every Beatles song

  • Don’t feel left out when your friends are belting out songs by the most popular band in the world. It’s time to hop on the BANDwagon!

Writing on the bus

6.    Work off that side of fries

  • Walking and biking are a great way to commute. Not only do they reduce waste, they also reduce your waist! Link to bike map: https://chooseyourwaybellevue.org/bike

7.    Read all those lingering letters from your ex

  • They were meaningful to you at one point. Will things rekindle in the future or has the fire died? Time to find out if you need to keep swiping on your phone. 

8.    Call your mom

  • You can never give your mom enough praise. Give her a call, thank her for everything she has done for you and tell her how much you appreciate her!

9.    Perfect the art of origami

  • You know you’ve always wanted to. Impress your friends with paper cranes, turtles, butterflies, and more.

Origami

10.    Master ventriloquism

  • Feeling the need to impress your friends with your puppet skills? With more free time on your hands (literally), you can make it happen!

11.    Snag tickets to that concert you’ve had your eye on

  • Ed Sheeran? Kendrick Lamar? Chance the Rapper? Don’t miss out like last time!

12.    Become a guitar legend

  • There’s no time like the present to learn a new instrument. Why not pick up the guitar, practice and serenade others on your way to work?

Guitar on bus

13.    And finally, live life a little easier

  • These 12 things you could be doing during your commute are just the beginning… your ride is your oyster! Make the most of it and have fun along the way!


Bonus: Log 12 trips by bus, carpool, vanpool, walking, biking, telework or compressed work week at ChooseYourWayBellevue.org/rewards and earn stylish merchandise to help with your commute!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 

Commuting in the Cold Part 1- Riding the Bus

Posted on October 10, 2019

Bus

 

Now that autumn is in full swing, it’s time to talk about commuting in the cold. This series will dive into some tips for not only surviving, but thriving, in the dark and cold months that lie ahead. A question I hear a lot is: "how do I plan for cold weather when I’m using transit?" That’s easy. Technology, preparation and a little ingenuity! The last thing you want to do when it’s cold out is stand with your teeth chattering at your bus stop, all because you aren’t sure when the next bus will arrive. Check out these couple tips for thriving in the cold.


•    Download a useful transportation app. One Bus Away is a personal favorite for all things bus. You’ll never have to wonder when your next bus is going to arrive again.

•    Pick up a pair of smartphone compatible gloves, you can keep them on while still using your phone or other touch screen devices. The gloves will keep your fingers from getting cold when you check schedules and real-time arrivals. Not sure where to get these? Log your trips through the Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards program, for a chance to win smartphone compatible gloves or other great rewards. 

•    Dress in layers! This cannot be said enough. The only thing worse than freezing outside is stepping into a building that has the thermostat set to 80 degrees while wearing a parka. Layers make removing extra articles of clothing much easier and will often keep you feeling warmer than just wearing a single jacket or coat.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Travis

 

Thinking about a less stressful commute? Vanpool is a great option!

Posted on October 3, 2019

Are you one to daydream about a commute that would allow you to sit back, relax, read or check your messages? Well, today it’s easier than ever to make that dream a reality! King County Vanpool is a popular way to save money and time on your commute.

VANPOOL

 

Q: What is a Vanpool?  

Vanpools are a flexible, comfortable and cost-effective way for commuters to share their rides to work. They allow you to drive in the HOV lane and can also save riders an average of about $6,000 annually. Check out the video .

Q: How much does it cost?

Fares are based on mileage, number of riders and size of van. On average, the monthly vanpool cost is similar to a monthly transit pass. Fares cover gas, insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance and an emergency ride home. Check out the programs that wave the fare and allow personal use of the van for participants who are willing to drive.

Q: How do I get started?

Create a profile and search for a Vanpool group.  After completing your profile, you will receive a customized list of commuters who live and work near you. Find a match - contact the bookkeeper to confirm seat availability, route and schedule so you can be on your way to a less stressful commute.

Taking a vanpool can mean less time behind the wheel and more time to spend on important tasks, it also means more time for yourself. Instead of focusing on driving, taking a vanpool allows you to save time, which can be used for work-related activities, checking your phone or resting.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Phyllis

 

5 Key Benefits of Using Public Transportation

Posted on September 27, 2019

People Outside Bus


Whether you’re embarking on your early morning commute to work or heading to Seattle for a Seahawks game, making the switch from driving solo to utilizing the public transit system can benefit you in numerous ways. These range from saving money to lowering stress levels to helping the environment.


1.    Save Money


Taking the bus means you’ll be burning less gasoline in your car, which lowers the amount you spend on fueling up your personal vehicle. Public transportation also eradicates the need for personal parking spots, which can save an immense chunk of change for individuals and companies. Seattleites save an average of $12,000 a year by making the switch, according to the APTA.


2.    Be More Productive


Less time behind the wheel means more time to spend on important tasks, it also means more time for yourself. Instead of focusing on driving, taking the bus allows you to save time and use it for work-related materials, watching funny videos (spicy memes), or resting.


3.    Lower Stress Levels


Let’s face it, driving in traffic to work can be stressful. Drivers cut each other off, you must constantly be aware of obstacles and unsafe situations, and trying to make it through an intersection during a yellow light is an internal conflict (should I go for it?). Thankfully, when you’re on a bus, none of that is on your mind. You can even close your eyes and relax until you get to your destination. Have you been thinking about how to fit meditation into your day? Here’s your opportunity. 


4.    Safer mode of transportation


In 2017 alone, there were a total of 120,993 car accidents in Washington State. Taking the bus lowers your chances of getting into a wreck by 90%, according to the APTA, and is overall a safer means of getting from point A to point B.


5.    Lower Environmental Impact

Car emissions make up a huge portion of air pollution in the world. The United States alone was responsible for 15.53 metric tons of CO2 emissions from fuel combustion in 2015By taking the bus, you’ll be lowering your personal carbon footprint, helping to reduce harmful pollutant levels.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Alex

 

5 Ways to Save Money by Changing Your Commute

Posted on September 19, 2019

Save Money

 

How much is your commute costing you? The IRS calculates the deductible cost of driving a car as 58 cents per mile. If you commute 20 miles round trip, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that's an annual $2,900 disappearing into your car. There are many ways you can save money with your commute. Here are just 5 simple things you can do to lower your transportation costs.

 

1.    Start a Carpool

An easy way to split your costs in half is by starting a carpool. Whether you have a significant other, roommate, or co-worker, carpooling is a popular alternative to driving alone. A good place to start is with carpool apps such as, iCarpool, Scoop and Waze Carpool


2.    Take Transit

According to the America Public Transportation Association, if you live in the Seattle area, you can save around $12,000 a year by leaving your car behind and switching to transit. The savings can be even more if your employer subsidizes your ORCA card. For more information on an ORCA card program, check out this website


3.    Join a Vanpool

Did you know that King County Metro (KCM) has the largest publicly provided Vanpool fleet in the country? Take advantage of this option by starting your own vanpool or by joining an existing one. With Vanpools, your gas, maintenance, insurance, and tolls are all taken care of through KCM. Find out how you can start or join a vanpool here.   

4.    Telework

The best commute is the one you don’t make. By taking advantage of your employers telework policy, you won’t have to fight traffic, spend on gas, or stress about parking. Even if you telework once a week, your wallet will thank you. If you’re not sure if your workplace has a telework policy, King County Metro’s Worksmart program is a great resource to get you started.  

 

5.    Ride a Bike

Why not save money and get your exercise at the same? Gone are the days of paying for car insurance, gas, and oil changes. The upkeep on riding a bike is far less than that of a vehicle. If you are not sure where to start, let us take the lead and show you your options. Sign up for a free commute plan here.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Travis

 

Link turns 10: A look to the future beyond Seattle!

Posted on July 29, 2019

Light Rail


After 10 years of railing in and out of the station, Link Light Rail celebrated its 10th birthday. It has been 10 years since Link left the station to transport its first passengers. On July 18, 2009 the City of Seattle said this little engine could, and she would. She has and continues to move commuters and residents down the track and back. 


Over that time, Link has transported more than 134 million riders to commute to work, explore the city, get to Seattle Seahawks games without driving in the heavy pre-game traffic or take the kids to the Seattle Science Center without having to hear, “Are we there yet?” from the back seat of a very long car ride. Sound Transit supports people, planet and prosperity by providing affordable, environmentally-friendly public transit that connect residents to where they live, work and play.

Expansion to the Eastside, North Seattle and South Tacoma 


Sound Transit is adding 22 stations and 50 more miles of rail over the next five years that will give Bellevue, North Seattle and South Tacoma residents and tourists opportunities to ride Link beyond Seattle.
Service to Northgate will open in 2021, followed by service to Bellevue in 2023, and service to Lynnwood, downtown Redmond and Federal Way in 2024. 
 

Sound Transit 2023

The Eastside Connection

The East Link construction is underway and is halfway completed. Once completion is done, there will be 14 miles of new light rail with 10 stations connecting Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue, downtown Redmond, Overlake and our Microsoft neighbor. 
 
Just because East Link isn’t open yet doesn’t mean you can’t try Link today! Connect with one of Sound Transit or King County Metro’s many routes from Bellevue or request a custom commute plan from our friendly Choose Your Way Bellevue staff. We’re here to help you plan your trip. 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Phyllis
 

It’s Time to Lime Part 2

Posted on July 10, 2019

Hi, it’s me again, Phyllis from CYWB.

This month, I’m taking a different approach and bringing Lime to you. In June, Choose Your Way Bellevue began partnering with Lime to make it easier for you to have a wonderful experience riding Lime bikes. A $1 promotional discount will be given to riders and can be used toward the unlock fee of $1. Find out how on the Choose Your Way Bellevue bike page. Once the Lime app is installed, click it, and then click on the three black lines in the upper left-hand corner and click the wallet. Under Wallet you will be directed to add the promo code "CYWB."

So how does this work? I’m going to do an intro to using our code, and hope that you can get out this weekend and go for a ride with Lime. This article may help you feel more comfortable riding. There are lots of questions to cover, and hopefully by the end of this article I will have answered them all. If not, send us an email!

Yesterday was a great day to Lime. The sun was bright, and the temperature was a little cool. Prior to leaving the office, I made sure I had my helmet, sunglasses, and jacket. I checked my Lime phone app to locate a bike. How do I get the Lime app, you ask? The Lime mobile app can be downloaded from Google Play (Android) and the App Store (Apple). Download and install the Lime mobile app on your smartphone. Once the app was downloaded it showed a map of all bikes that were near me.

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I located a bike nearby, across from the Bellevue Transit Center. It was located in a bike share parking zone and ready for use. Next, I followed the promotional instructions on getting a discount of $1 which equals the unlock fee. I entered the code CYWB and then used the in-app camera to scan the bike’s QR code to unlock the bike. (You can also manually enter the bicycle ID number.)

Next, I completed a safety check to make sure the bike was in good working condition before I started my trip. Lime is responsible for maintaining their bikes, but for your own safety, a pre-ride check is always a good idea. Protect your head and always wear a helmet when using bike share. It’s the law in Bellevue for people of all ages. Besides, it’s the smart thing to do. (Better safe than sorry.)

Ride safely and courteously and always follow traffic laws.  Be mindful of your surroundings, and respectful of others; people walking, bicycling, and driving on Bellevue sidewalks, bikeways, and streets.

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Make sure you understand how much a ride will cost before you start a trip to avoid surprises. Payments are made to Lime through their mobile app. You need to add credits to your account before you can start a trip. Lime sets the price for their service.

You may wonder where you can park a bike share bicycle in Bellevue. They can be parked on paved surfaces along public sidewalks and street shoulders in locations that do not create an obstacle for others. In other words, bike share bicycles may be parked on paved surfaces in the public right-of-way—streets, sidewalks, and easements—in locations that do not block walkways or vehicle travel lanes. Do not block building entrances, driveways, bus stop loading areas, curb ramps or bike lanes, or other locations that might prevent people from passing the bike safely. Bike share bicycles are not allowed to be left in city parks. When in doubt, a bike rack is always an appropriate place to leave any bicycle. Do park bicycles upright; leave at least six feet of clear walkway so people using wheelchairs, walkers, other mobility devices, and pushing strollers can get by unobstructed; park in preferred parking areas, which are painted on the pavement and identified with icons in the mobile app; and park at bike racks where available. Do not park on street corners; block building entrances, driveways, or bus stop loading areas; block curb ramps; or leave bike share bicycles in city parks or on private property.

With bike share, when you arrive at your destination, you may just park the bike. Wherever you go, you can park the bike nearby, as long as you leave the bike on pavement and out of the way. Do not leave the bike in city parks or on private property, except where specially marked in the app and on the ground.

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To end your ride, close the lock. The lock is located above the back wheel just below the seat post. Press the knob to slide the lock closed and end your ride. The bike will make a sound to confirm your trip has ended. The mobile app will show you a summary of your trip, including how far and long you rode as well as the cost of the ride.

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Good to Go! Again, please make sure you leave the bike in a responsible place for the next person to use!