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Commuting in the Cold Part II - Biking

Posted on January 16, 2020

In this edition of our "commuting in the cold" series, we'll dive into how to travel more safely and comfortably in the winter using another popular mode of transportation: biking!

Bike at Night

 

Winter is here, and with it comes changing weather that can affect many aspects of your daily bike route. Rain makes roads slick and impacts visibility; the darker days can make it harder for drivers to see you; and snow – while it's fun to look at and play in – can drastically impact your day-to-day travel. Check out this Seattle Bike Blog post for some helpful advice on biking in the snow.

What to do: There are several ways to bike smarter and safer in the winter weather. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Reflective gear – Wearing reflective jackets, pants, tires, etc., is on the best ways to help people driving see you biking at night, no matter how dark the days get!
  • Bike lights – Attaching bike lights to your handlebars and helmets can improve your visibility! By law, bikes must have a steady white light on front (flashing white lights are prohibited) and red reflector on back when being used at night. Steady or red rear lights can also be used in addition to the reflector.
  • Planning your route is a great way to prepare for and make the most out of your commute. Check out Choose Your Way Bellevue's bike map, which features citywide and detail maps, safety tips, helmet fitting tips, updated tools, resources and a frequent transit service map – remember, buses are equipped with racks for three bikes.
  • Other rain-ready gear – Wearing a raincoat (and lots of layers) and using a bike seat cover are great ways to stay as dry as possible when biking in the rain. Check out this classic Seattle Bike Blog post for gear ideas.

Now that you've got some handy tips for commuting in the cold and rain, you're more prepared to get around on your bike! Stay tuned for the next part in this exciting "commuting in the cold" series, and until then stay warm and happy commuting!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 

Ring in the New Year with Carpooling!

Posted on January 9, 2020

Welcome to 2020! There are a multitude of ways to start off the new year right: whether it's a new workout routine or resolutions to travel more, the list goes on and on. While resolving to improve your year ahead, don't forget to focus on one of your biggest day-to-day routines: commuting! There are lots of options to change your daily travel and help yourself (and others) save time and money - carpooling is a great way to do just that!

Carpool

Carpooling with your coworkers, friends and family provides a ton of advantages. First, you save money by splitting the cost of gas - when you're not driving alone, you're not paying for all of it yourself. Second, you help the environment by using one car for several people, cutting down carbon dioxide emissions. And it's a lot easier to organize a carpool than you think!

Choose Your Way Bellevue has all the information you need, from custom commute planning to rideshare resources. Use RideshareOnline.com and utilize the ride matching system to start carpooling: you can get involved with an existing one or start your own. New to the process? Learn how to create a ride match using this handy infographic.

Once you're carpooling, you can go to Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards to log your trips and earn awesome merch! Two rewards* are happening now:

  • Mover of the Month - Share your transportation stories with us! Each month CYWB staff will select one Bellevue traveler's submission, and their story will be featured in our monthly Choose Your Way Bellevue newsletter. Winners will receive $50 towards your bus or vanpool fare in the form of a TranBen voucher or the equivalent in Choose Your Way Bellevue merchandise! Learn more and submit your commute story here.
  • Bellevue's Top 100 - Just because it's winter, raining, dark - and (the list goes on!) doesn't mean your non-drive-alone travel habits have to hibernate! This winter, the 100 people who log the most non-drive-alone trips between December 20, 2019 and January 31, 2020 will earn branded merchandise to keep them visible during the dark PNW days. Trips must be logged by 2/7/20 to be eligible. Keep up the good work!

*These rewards are for logging all types of non-drive-alone trips including transit, carpooling, vanpooling, walking, bicycling, teleworking and reducing trips through a compressed work week.

For more information, check out the Share the Ride and Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards pages on the Choose Your Way Bellevue website.

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 

 

Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards Program: 2019 in Review

Posted on December 20, 2019

CYWB Infographic

 

TRIP LOGGING

It's been quite a year for Choose Your Way Bellevue commuters! You've managed to achieve impressive numbers as you've changed your travel modes to reduce drive-alone trips. This year you've logged the following numbers by type of trip:

  • 11,372 walking
  • 20,854 biking
  • 100,634 bus
  • 60,034 carpool
  • 28,438 vanpool
  • 22,173 telework
  • In all, 3.1 million non-drive-alone miles

Wow! That's quite a feat. Not to mention - these efforts have led to some big savings:

  • 1,848,243 pounds of carbon dioxide saved
  • 96,702 gallons of gas saved
  • $737,930 in monetary savings

You've been quite interested in finding ride matches as well, with over 44,000 ride match requests sent!

Note: You can learn how to create a ride match with our handy infographic!

 

REWARDS

The Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards program, where Bellevue travelers can earn rewards by logging non-drive-alone trips, was a raving success! In 2019, over 1,000 rewards were distributed to travelers who utilized the Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards portal to RideshareOnline.

 

CYWB Incentives

 

In our most recent campaign, Fall in Love with Your Bellevue Commute, 286 program qualifiers logged non-drive-alone trips between Oct 1 and Dec 20, 2019. These qualifiers received tangible rewards such as Choose Your Way Bellevue-branded backpacks, tumblers and gloves + waist packs. This program wraps up on Dec 20, so stay tuned for upcoming programs next year!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

Data pulled 1/1/19-12/19/19

Bellevue wins bid for Smart Cities Collaborative, curbside management pilot

Posted on December 19, 2019

Bellevue, Boston, Minneapolis to deploy experts, best practices, new technology in 2020.

 

Downtown Bellevue

 

Growing urban centers like Downtown Bellevue are facing new constraints and competition for curb space. The changes, if left unchecked, can impact mobility and access for all modes and trips, including pedestrian and vehicle safety and the overall productivity for segments of the workforce and the local economy.
 
Enter the Smart Cities Collaborative, the problem-solving, research-driven approach sponsored by the Transportation for America (T4America). Bellevue joins Boston and Minneapolis as the three cities selected for a year-long program to pilot management practices and new technology.
 
Downtown Bellevue is a compelling case for effective curbside management solutions, seeing a rise in the number of private employer shuttles, ride-hailing, deliveries, and planning efforts that consider on-street parking, transit priority lanes, and bikeways. This is especially timely given the scale of new development that will soon reshape the downtown core and the demand for curb space and right of way.

The City of Bellevue welcomed the news earlier this month, following a nationally competitive selection process. According to the announcement, "the program will engage public sector transportation leaders with shared experiences with new mobility technologies and develop best practices to ensure that these services improve city life." Bellevue's submission was bolstered with support from the Bellevue Downtown Association, Bellevue Chamber of Commerce and King County Metro. This third round of the Collaborative will start in February 2020. 

Read the News Release
More about T4America

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Patrick
 

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

 

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