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Six Ways You Can Stay Safe and Healthy on Your Commute to Work

Posted on December 7, 2020

Note: This is second in a series of three blog posts about transportation/commuting as COVID-19 restrictions continue. Read the first entry here! Stay tuned for future posts with tips for transportation options information for your non-work trips.

 

seat closed

Photo by Ned Aherns, King County Metro ©

For those commuting during the pandemic, there are a lot of questions that can wrack your brain on staying as safe as possible. To help, we’ve compiled a few tips for keeping yourself healthy with a safe commute to work.

  • Mask up
    • One of the cheapest and easy ways to reduce your risk for contracting COVID-19 is to wear a cloth mask or face covering. Wear your mask everywhere you are in public, and always when riding transit or carpooling. In a carpool or vanpool, open windows when feasible. New: Sign up to receive a transit/vanpool Stay Healthy Kit with Choose Your Way Bellevue mask and sanitizer items in a durable travel pouch, while supplies last! Go to www.ChooseYourWayBellevue.org/kit to learn more.
  • Socially distance
    • Maintaining six feet from others while in public spaces is yet another way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To maintain a good distance on transit, certain seats have been closed off to ensure commuters are being safe. 
  • Stay informed on transit safety
    • For buses, Sound Transit and its operating partners (including King County Metro, Community Transit and Pierce Transit) have taken the following steps to keep you safe:
      • All buses sanitized daily
      • Masks available to passengers on routes serving Pierce and Snohomish counties
      • Select seats blocked to promote social distancing
      • Some routes operating with capacity limits to limit crowding
    • Learn more about by reading our blog post “Transit Agency Steps to Promote Healthy Bus Riding.”
  • Commute on your bike
    • Take your bike to work OR bike to a nearby bus stop and use the bike racks when you climb aboard. Looking for some ways to improve your biking this fall? Check out our recent blog.
  • Plan ahead
    • Know your route before you go! Some great options for planning your trips include the King County Metro Trip Planner and Google Maps. Stay up to date on most recent changes to transit routes, road closures, and more to decrease your commute time.
  • Commute with vanpool
    • King County Metro’s Vanpool program is a great, safe way to commute to work moving forward. One major benefit is priority access. Commuters in West Seattle can now vanpool to travel on the Spokane Street Bridge for a faster trip. Since the West Seattle Bridge closed in March 2020 and more commuters are on the road, the regular detour routes are getting more congested.
    • Learn more about Vanpool by reading our blog “Consider Vanpool for your Commute!

These are just a few tips for a safe and healthy commute to work. Stay tuned for our next blog diving deeper into transportation/commuting as COVID-19 restrictions continue.

 
-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex
 

 

Six Healthy Things You Can Do at Home You Couldn’t Do Driving to Work

Posted on November 20, 2020

Note: This is first in a series of three blog posts about transportation/commuting as COVID-19 restrictions continue. Stay tuned for future posts with tips for those commuting to work during COVID, as well as transportation options information for your non-work trips. 

yoga at home

 

As Washington state heads into four weeks of further restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, for those of us working at home, the continued confinement can be a challenge. While all of us must do our part, it’s also important to focus on the bright side. What’s one aspect of the bright side, you ask? How about all the extra time you have to do activities that you couldn’t do while driving to work!

  • Yoga
    • What’s better than a relaxing yoga session on your floor at home to get the day started? Not only does yoga reduce stress, it also improves posture and promotes quality sleep! If you’re looking for a good place to find yoga videos, check out the Yoga With Adriene YouTube page.
  • Walk
    • There’s nothing like getting some fresh air on a crisp fall morning to jumpstart your brain and get the blood flowing. Grab your mask and take 15-30 minutes for some cool, relaxing, exercise!
  • Read
    • Reading has been proven to strengthen your brain, broaden your vocabulary and dampen stress. If you’re not already a big reader and are in need of a new hobby, now is a great time to start!
    • BONUS – Looking for some good books to read? This article shares 40 favorites to read during quarantine and is the perfect place to start.
  • Bike
    • Take advantage of the calm mornings by going for a solo or family bike ride to start the day! Looking for some ways to improve your biking this fall? Check out our recent blog.
  • Cook
    • Morning commutes usually make it a bit of a challenge to cook and eat a healthy, balanced breakfast. With that element in the past, there’s more time to ensure you eat a bountiful breakfast every morning. Looking for recipes to get you started? Check out this article.
  • Socialize (Virtually)
    • While we can’t physically be together, it’s important to maintain a balanced social life during the pandemic. You could try playing games online, setting up a video chat with friends or family, or join a community Facebook page.

Hopefully these ideas help kickstart a productive and healthy stay-at-home period as we head into the final weeks of 2020. Until next time; wear a mask, socially distance and stay safe!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

Sources:
•    https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene/featured?app=desktop
•    https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/books-best-lockdown-novels-suggestions-a9255191.html
•    https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-reading-books#reduces-stress
•    https://www.delish.com/cooking/nutrition/g1412/quick-healthy-breakfast-recipes/

 

 

Choose Your Way Bellevue’s Free Business Services, Resources for COVID-19 and Beyond

Posted on November 11, 2020

BUSINES

 

Business representatives: Are you concerned about employee commuting and managing your parking as your Bellevue worksite reopens? Contact us for a free commute program consultation tailored to your business with the latest information on transit services and safety of riding transit; vanpool program changes for COVID-19; how to support bike commuting; and/or how to enhance or formalize your telework program through King County Metro’s free WorkSmart program. We’re all in this together, and together we can help reduce strain on our roadways as offices and businesses reopen.

Other Resources

Re-Launch of Choose Your Way Bellevue Mini-Grants – Interested in improving the commute program at your worksite during or post-COVID-19? Apply to receive up to $10,000 through a Choose Your Way Bellevue Employer/Property Manager Mini-Grant! For the first time since 2016, applications are open again starting Nov. 13, 2020, on a rolling basis while funding lasts.

Choose Your Way Bellevue Business Commute Options Toolkit – This 30-page booklet has everything you need to know about setting up your employee commute program.

ORCA $8 Starter Cards – Want to help your employees try out a round-trip transit commute? Or perhaps you’d like to gauge their interest in transit to help you assess the viability of offering transit benefits to your employees. We’re providing Bellevue employers and property managers with a limited number of $8 ORCA “starter cards” for employees (while supplies last).

Choose Your Way Bellevue YouTube Channel – Visit our YouTube channel and watch our latest employer webinars Eastside Metro Webinar and Building a Successful Telework Program for your Eastside Business. 

King County Metro’s WorkSmart program – Receive free expert assistance with implementing or expanding your employee telework program. 

Business Resources for the COVID-19 Era – Check out this informational page on Choose Your Way Bellevue covering local COVID-19 business survey results and other items.

 

Just have a question, or want to learn more about our services? Contact us at info@cywb.org or (425) 283-1357.

 

This post was updated on 11/20/20 to add information about the re-launched mini-grant program.

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Travis
 

Three Ways to Improve Your Biking This Fall

Posted on November 3, 2020

As the weather turns colder and rainier, our northwest climate makes it more difficult to venture outside. However, this doesn’t mean you have to reduce your biking habits. In fact, here are a few bike hacks* to make your commute as comfortable as possible in the fall and winter.


1.    Keep Your Head (and Bike Seat) Dry
As the rain starts falling and the wind picks up, you’ll want to reduce the effect these have you as much as possible to make biking more comfortable. Shower caps are perfect for wind and water proofing. Pop one on your bike seat while parked or over your helmet while riding when the weather gets worse!


2.    Keep Your Whole Self Warm and Dry
Looking for a quick way to venture out in a sudden rainstorm? Try an inexpensive rain poncho to cover your whole body while you ride. Bonus: wearing wool underneath can keep you warm in case you do get wet.


3.    Don’t Let Your Phone Die
Keep a handwarmer handy! Not for the reason you think though. Cell phone batteries run out very fast in freezing temperatures, and the last thing you want is to be without a means of communication. Put a handwarmer in your pocket with your phone to keep its battery from draining quickly.


For additional information and inspiration, check out these historic posts from the Seattle Bike Blog:


I hope you find these quick tips and tricks useful for biking in the changing weather. If you haven’t yet, make sure to check out the 2020 Bellevue Bike Map. Until next time, stay safe and stay warm!


*Sources:

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex
 

 

Consider Vanpool for your Commute!

Posted on October 21, 2020

vanpool

 

King County Metro’s Vanpool program is a great way to commute to work moving forward. Here are a few reasons why you should get (back) into using vanpool:

  1. Basics – Vanpool is a great way to share the ride with others who have a similar commute to work. These group members remain consistent, and can include co-workers, friends or neighbors. One of the group members drives the van, and the riders meet at a pre-set location or are picked up on the way and typically dropped off at their work location. The program includes everything – van, gas, maintenance, insurance, 24-hour roadside assistance and the emergency ride home program.
  2. Flexibility – Enjoy reduced or alternating schedules available to vanpool commuters. Request a free bike rack for your van to combine biking with your vanpool commute.
  3. Fares – Cost will vary but may be similar to a monthly transit pass. Check with your Human Resources department for details about your transportation benefits.
  4. Safety – King County Metro Vanpool has adapted to COVID by adjusting program procedures to reduce in-person contact, as well as providing instruction on how group members can work together for a healthy commute. See details on the King County Metro website.   

Another Vanpool Benefit – Priority access. Commuters in West Seattle can now vanpool and travel on the Spokane Street Bridge for a faster trip. Since the West Seattle Bridge closed in March 2020 and more commuters are on the road, the detour routes are getting more congested. With vanpool access to the lower bridge, commuters are saving 20-45 minutes each way on their commute. Here is a testimonial from one vanpooler:

  • “I cannot advocate enough for the Metro vanpool program! When traveling to/from West Seattle, it is by far the easiest way to commute. Being able to use the lower bridge has saved us about 45 minutes on our commute each way. Being able to rely on a reasonable commute time has reduced our stress significantly and allowed us more time with our families at home. It is a clean, safe, reliable and cost-effective way to commute to work. Thank you, Metro and SDOT!” -Emily, West Seattle vanpool commuter

For more information on restarting your King County Metro vanpool, click here. Commuting to or from locations outside of King County? Check out vanpooling programs of other agencies in the Vanpool section on www.ChooseYourWayBellevue.org/share-the-ride.

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex
 

 

Learn More About Our Telework Survey Results

Posted on October 8, 2020

Front Page

Curious how the pandemic has affected employers and employees in Downtown Bellevue? We conducted a non-scientific, voluntary survey of employer representatives with worksites in Bellevue. Here’s what we heard from the 29 respondents:

 

  • 72% of employers said they plan to continue a telework policy after they return to the office, while 62% said they had a telework policy in place prior to COVID-19.
  • 34% of employers said they did not have a telework program prior to COVID-19, with 4% of these indicating they won’t have a telework policy by the time they return to the office.
  • 24% of employers said “I’m not sure” to having a telework policy when they return to the office. 4% said “I’m not sure” to having a telework policy before COVID-19.
  • When asked about their biggest concerns for their employees, two main areas were indicated:
    • Commuting and access to work: traffic, bus schedules and transit wait times
    • Health and safety: in the office and on transit

 

Analysis:


Based on the survey responses collected, we see a likely shift in companies adapting their telework policies for the long term. The biggest shift we identified is companies being much more likely to consider teleworking as a potential solution to health and safety concerns.
The decreasing number of employers NOT having a telework policy and the INCREASE in those unsure if they have one can be explained as companies having these discussions for the first time.
For more details about employer responses on post-COVID telework attitudes and commute benefits anticipated following return to office, check out the full report on our website.


Prevalence of telework among employees of larger Bellevue employers – longer-term


See chart below for another interesting factoid about Bellevue: Over the last decade (pre-COVID), among employees of CTR employers which have 100+ employees, telework has been more prevalent in Bellevue than in Seattle or the state as a whole. This seems to bode well for Bellevue in a post-COVID world!
 

survey

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex 

 

 

The September Service Change – How Will it Affect Bellevue Travelers?

Posted on September 15, 2020

BTC

 

The September Service Change is coming on the 19th of this month... are you prepared for how this might affect your travel? Below is a collection of bus routes that operate within Bellevue. Read on to learn how these routes are changing and how this may impact your travel habits in Bellevue.


King County Metro Routes in Bellevue


No change
RapidRide B Line
111

Reduced
212 Reduced to operate on weekdays every 15 minutes between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
218 Reduced service in the morning
221 Evening trips reduced
226 Reduced to hourly service on Saturdays
240 Reduced in peak period on weekdays
245 Reduced in peak period on weekdays
250 Reduced to hourly service after 10:25 p.m. on weekdays
271 Reduced in frequency on weekdays and weekends

Already suspended as part of temporary reduced service network
114
167
216
217
219
232
237
246
249
342

 

For full information on how King County Metro bus routes are being affected by the service change, check out their service change page.


Sound Transit Routes in Bellevue


No change
560

Reduced
532/535 Reduced service in the morning and evening on weekdays
541/542 Canceled service to Overlake Park & Ride on weekdays
545 Reduced service in the morning on weekdays
550 Reduced service in the morning and evening on weekdays
554 Reduced service in the morning on weekdays
566 Reduced midday and evening service

Suspended as part of temporary reduced service network
544
555
567


For full information on how Sound Transit bus routes are being affected by the service change, check out their service change page.
 

Make sure to plan ahead of these Bellevue bus service changes. Stay healthy, maintain six feet and stay safe!

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 

 


 

Transit Agency Steps to Promote Healthy Bus Riding

Posted on September 10, 2020

COVID BUS

 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, many individuals have wondered if transit is the best way to get around. Is it safe? How clean are the buses? What protocols are in place? Here, we answer these questions.


For buses, Sound Transit and its operating partners (including King County Metro, Community Transit and Pierce Transit) have taken the following steps:

  • All buses sanitized daily
  • Masks available to passengers on routes serving Pierce and Snohomish counties
  • Select seats blocked to promote social distancing
  • Some routes operating with capacity limits to limit crowding


King County Metro has reported the following additional information on cleanliness of their buses during COVID-19.

  • Air Filtration
    • The inside air system on buses, known as HVAC, constantly filters air through it to trap COVID-19 and prevent the virus from moving throughout the system.
  • Cleaning
    • Cleaning protocols and frequency has been upgraded on Metro buses since COVID-19 emerged. Crews disinfect all areas of every bus, every night.

 

If you’re looking to take transit, make sure to stay up to date with the “reduced schedule” pages from King County Metro and Sound Transit to ensure your bus routes are still in effect. As you travel, remember to mask up, wash your hands and maintain six feet from others. Stay safe!

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 


Sources:

www.soundtransit.org/blog/platform/staying-safe-board-trains-buses

https://kingcountymetro.blog/2020/04/10/how-metro-improves-air-quality-in-buses-for-drivers-and-passengers/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A6KKqLC3o8

https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/schedules-maps/reduced-schedule.aspx

https://www.soundtransit.org/ride-with-us/changes-affect-my-ride

 

Choose Your Way Bellevue Eastside Metro Webinar Recording

Posted on August 17, 2020

Eastside Metro Webinar

 

Eastside Metro Webinar - Click here to view the webinar. This webinar was recorded live on Tuesday, August 11 at 1 p.m. This webinar strives to answer questions about transit with King County Metro's experts from Business Services, Rideshare, Service Planning, and Operations to discuss public transportation during COVID-19. Presenters include Kirk Hovenkotter (Greater Redmond Transportation Management Association), Sean Hawks (Communication Manager), Grace Carlson (Service Planning, East King County Team), Quiana Thomas (Rideshare Services Representative), and Rocco Devito (Customer Relationship Manager).

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 

 

How to Stay Mentally and Physically Active During the Pandemic – Part II

Posted on August 7, 2020

Downtown Park

 

We have been enduring the pandemic for over four months now, and many people are finding their groove with day-to-day life. We’ve provided help with staying physically and mentally active before; here are more tips for maintaining balance during these times.


Staying Physically Active

1.    Walking – Link to CYWB pedestrian guides/bike map

  • There’s nothing quite like getting a breath of fresh air after being cooped inside during the workday. Go to a local trail, take a stroll and soak up some vitamin D this summer! Need help getting around? Check out the Downtown Pedestrian Guide. Looking to get out on more than just your legs? Take a gander at the 2020 Bellevue Bike Map for biking assistance.

2.    Check out Bellevue businesses on your commute

  • The pandemic hit everyone in different ways, but businesses are back up and running in Bellevue! Why not stop by your favorite coffee shop when commuting through downtown?

3.    Go nature watching

  • With less individuals out and about, nature seems to be more active these days. Bike out to your favorite park and bring your binoculars! Look at the birds, squirrels, bunnies and more to see what nature is up to.

 

Staying Mentally Active

1.    Puzzles

  • Why not sit down with you family and complete a fun activity? Puzzles are a great way to entertain the brain and pass the time.

2.    Catch up on your movie list

  • People are consuming media very differently now; streaming services are at an all-time high. This is the best opportunity to sit down and start making off all the movies you’ve yet to see!

3.    Have a virtual game night with your friends!

  • Platforms like Zoom, Discord, Skype and more have made it easier than ever to play games over the internet with your friends. Get a virtual game of Scrabble, Catan or Quiplash going with your buddies for a great time.

 

These are just a few ways to stay active during the pandemic – until next time, stay safe and stay healthy!

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex


 

 

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