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Teleworking* Tips from the Choose Your Way Bellevue Team

Posted on April 3, 2020

Teleworking

 

The COVID-19 coronavirus crisis has led to multiple changes in our society, including the transition for many individuals to working primarily in their own homes. Some of us are fortunate enough to be able to work from home. Teleworking comes with its own set of challenges, like being around distractions, not being able to see coworkers in person, and getting antsy, all of which can lead to being less productive and balanced. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to help improve your teleworking experience!

1. Get Outside, Safely

  • Being cooped up indoors can cause people to go a bit stir crazy, especially in the outdoorsy northwest. As long as you are in keeping with state and local emergency actions, taking a break to get outside for a quick walk in the sun is still allowed if social distancing is in place.

2. Create a Separate Section for your Workspace

  • Don't spend too much time in one area of your home. If you can, designate one area for your work that you can distinguish from the rest of your living quarters. This will help with the separation of work and home life when the workday is done.

3. Video Chat with Your Friends, Family and Coworkers

  • Human interaction is important for everyone. Use video chat software to connect with your colleagues during the day to improve your workflow and catch with your friends and family to keep the good times going.
  • Need help getting started? Try a search on YouTube to find the best ways to video chat. Popular methods include using software such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype.

Teleworking Survey

We recently sent out a teleworking survey, where commuters had a chance to provide us with feedback on how their work-from-home experience is going and what tips they have to share. Here are a few submissions we received that you may find helpful:

  • "Stick to your regular routine as much as possible. Whether that is exercise, grooming, taking a break at a specific time, or anything else. Some activities will need to be adjusted (like figuring out how to keep to an exercise routine without going to a gym or making lunch if you usually eat out) but the more you can keep "normal" the easier it will be to cope with the things that do need to change."
  • "Prep the night before for snacks and breakfast and lunch."
  • "Shower even if you don't want to."

During these trying times, it's best to make the most out of our teleworking situations. We hope these tips and tricks will help make your workdays better. Remember to wash your hands, avoid crowds and stay safe!

*Are you an essential worker unable to work from home? How is your commute during these times, and do you have any tips that can help others in this situation? If you live in Bellevue, work in Bellevue, or both, tell us your story here to potentially be featured in a future CYWB blog post.

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 

What to know during COVID-19: Transit is still running

Posted on March 20, 2020

Update (3/23/20, 11:30 am) - In response to the coronavirus, transit fare collections are discontinued; read more here (Metro) and here (Sound Transit).

Update (3/26/20, 3:25 pm) - Sound Transit will temporarily reduce service on additional ST express routes, read more here.

Update (3/30/20, 4:00 pm) - Some weekday bus trips are restored to better promote social distancing for King County Metro, read more here.

Updated (4/3/20, 1:00 pm) - More service reductions for King County Metro and Sound Transit to take place on Monday, April 6. Read more here.

ST Express

 

Although King County Metro and Sound Transit have announced service reductions in response to COVID 19, transit can still be your trusty option for essential travel needs during this time.


Metro will temporarily move to a Reduced Schedule starting Monday, March 23. This shift comes two days after Metro’s pre-scheduled Spring Service Change goes into effect on Saturday, March 21, which will bring Eastside riders better bus connections and improved access to Seattle via Link light rail. The Reduced Schedule is in response to reduced ridership since the emergence of COVID-19. These service reductions are also designed to maintain a resilient and sustainable transit system that’s able to keep our region moving every day and to ramp back up when this chapter closes. Read the full new release for more details.


King County Metro and Sound Transit are taking necessary steps to provide a clean and safe commute for their riders.


Executive Constantine, in coordination with Public Health – Seattle & King County, has directed Metro to keep providing safe, reliable transit and to take steps to support social distancing. Metro is developing plans and adjusting operations daily to ensure these goals are met.


Metro and Sound Transit are prioritizing the health of passengers, employees and community members. Crews now disinfect every bus, every night, so that each morning all riders board fully disinfected buses across King County.


Guided by Public Health – Seattle & King County, Metro and Sound Transit are being mindful of social distancing and avoiding crowding on buses. Reductions in ridership following the executive’s and the governor’s State of Emergency proclamations, recommendations from Public Health, increases in telecommuting, canceled large events, and school closures have resulted in passengers having more room on buses and other transit vehicles.


To stay up to date with Metro updates surrounding the coronavirus, click here. Sound Transit continues to update their Platform blog post, “Responding to heightened COVID-19 concerns”, here.

 
King County Metro and Sound Transit’s service changes are still in place to take effect on March 21.


In these times, the transit agencies ask that riders take personal health steps, especially in public and while riding transit:


•    Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
•    Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly
•    Cover your coughs and sneezes
•    Telework if your place of employment allows you to do so
•    Stay home if you are sick


Stay safe!

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex
 

Commuting in the Cold Part III - Ridesharing in the Winter

Posted on March 3, 2020

In this exciting final entry of our "commuting in the cold" series, we'll be digging into one of the most popular modes of transportation: ridesharing!

 

Ridesharing Graphic

What to do: Being a driver on the road in the wintertime can prove to have its own set of challenges. Here are some tips for drivers of carpools and vanpools for when roadways are affected by winter or rainy conditions:

  • Drive slowly
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly
  • Increase your following distance to five or six seconds
  • Give yourself more time and space to stop
  • Have essentials packed in case of snow
  • Be wary of travelers who are harder to see on the roads at night
    • This could include individuals walking and biking
  • Remember that four-wheel and all-wheel vehicles do not stop or steer better on ice
  • Do not use cruise control

How to get started: Choose Your Way Bellevue has the resources you need for starting and/or joining a carpool or vanpool. You can go here to get started. You can also check out this infographic to understand how to find a ride match through Choose Your Way Bellevue's RidesharOnline portal.

 

CARPOOL

  • Traditional Carpooling - Odds are there are other commuters whose trips match yours for all or part of the distance. Find them by setting up a free account within our Choose Your Way Bellevue portal to the RideshareOnline regional ridematching service. Or, talk to your worksite transportation coordinator; they might also be able to help match you with potential carpool mates.
  • Dynamic Carpooling - Carpool without the commitment of traditional ridematching! Waze, Scoop and iCarpool are available in Bellevue and the Seattle area. Many commuters are using dynamic carpooling on a regular basis or as needed on any given day. Learn more at the Choose your Way Bellevue Share the Ride page under "Apps and Technology." For a limited time, King County Metro is sponsoring Scoop or Waze Carpool carpooling trips for all King County commuters! Find out more at kingcounty.gov/carpool.

VANPOOL

Vanpool Graphic
  • 5-15 people decide on a schedule and share an agency-provided van
  • Fuel, maintenance, insurance and tolls are all covered
  • Pay a shared monthly fare for the van, determined by the length of your trip, number of people in the van and number of commutes per week. Many employers fully or partially subsidize the fare.
  • To start or join a vanpool, find a ridematch by setting up a free account within our Choose Your Way Bellevue portal to the RideshareOnline regional ridematching service. Learn how to create a ridematch in RideshareOnline with this handy infographic. Or, learn more about vanpooling at King County Metro.
  • Looking to use a King County vanpool for free, for up to three trips? Fill out this form for the Ticket-2-Ride promotion!

Now that you've been informed on tips for commuting the cold, you're more prepared to take to the streets in your carpool or vanpool! Don't forgot to check out the Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards program to find out what incentives you could win for logging your non-drive-alone trips!

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 

Mover of the Month February Winner - Kiel Safstrom

Posted on February 28, 2020

Each month, Choose Your Way Bellevue staff selects a lucky winner from our Mover of the Month story submissions. This month's winner is Kiel Safstrom!

MOTM Winner Kiel Safstrom

Kiel shared the following story with us:

"I began commuting via bicycle in 2018 to my job in Seattle from Kenmore, which is about a 30-mile round trip. I planned on using the commute as a baseline training for the Seattle to Portland, one day ride in July of 2019. As summer turned into fall and eventually winter, I braved the dark and rainy evenings on the Burke Gilman - reminding myself that the time spent strengthening my cycling habits was going to make for a strong STP attempt.

As the new year came around, I began participating in Cascade Bicycling Club events such as 'Ride the Tunnel' and 'Chilly Hilly' along with a few of their free group rides, on top of my normal commutes during the week. I even rode with the Seattle International Randonneurs on a few brevets, which is all about sel-sufficiency on a bike. Given my cycling strength, as I continued commuting and training, I signed up for a century ride hosted by the American Diabetes Association in May called, 'Tour de Cure'. Not only did I complete the century ride in under five hours, but I raised $1,200 for the ADA's cause.

As the midpoint of the 2019 summer rolled around, the main event of riding from Kenmore to Portland occurred. All two hundred and seventeen miles of it were enjoyed in one day, from 3:40 am to 6:40 pm. Finishing the STP allowed me to reflect that this lifestyle might not have been possible if I hadn't begun devoting my commute to cycling.

You can still catch me cycling, though my commute has changed to Bellevue, which is now only a 22-mile round trip. However, now I've got about 1,300 ft. of elevation to deal with. The hills on a daily basis can be quite a struggle but digging in deep and finding that extra ounce of strength to keep going makes it worth it.

I hope this short story of how my cycling in the past year can inspire others to pick up the habit and find enjoyment in spinning the pedals."

 

Kiel has shared a pretty amazing story, and you can too!

Each month, Choose Your Way Bellevue staff selects one Bellevue traveler's transportation story and winners receive $50 towards your bus or vanpool fare in the form of a TranBen voucher or the equivalent in Choose Your Way Bellevue merchandise. For a chance to win, you can submit your commute story here.

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 

Service changes are coming to King County in March, so get prepared!

Posted on February 19, 2020

How the North Eastside Mobility Project service change will affect Bellevue travelers.

 

KCM Service Change

 

King County Metro's North Eastside Mobility Project will expand transit service and improve mobility in communities such as Kenmore, Bothell, Woodinville and parts of Redmond—neighboring cities where many Bellevue workers and residents use service. Service changes within the Bellevue city limits will provide some frequency and time span improvements; routing remains the same, in Bellevue, with routing changes only to the non-Bellevue portions of this service. Overall, the service change is aimed at strengthening connections to important destinations.

What's Changing in Bellevue?

Within Bellevue, King County Metro frequent service will be replaced with a new route number on the same routing. Outside Bellevue, this replacement route number will have different routing than the current routes it is replacing. read on to learn more:

  • Replaced Route: current route 234
    • Current: Kenmore—Kirkland—Bellevue; will be removed and replaced
    • Between the Kirkland Transit Center and Bellevue, new route 250 will follow same route as current route 234
    • Additional replacement routes for portions outside of Bellevue are 255, 230, 231 and Community Ride. For more information go to the service change information for route 234.
  • Replaced Route: current route 235
    • Current: Totem Lake—Kirkland—Bellevue; will be removed and replaced
    • Between the Kirkland Transit Center and Bellevue, new route 250 will follow same route as current route 235
    • An additional replacement route for portions outside of Bellevue is 239. For more information go to the service page information for existing route 235.
  • More About Proposed New Bus Route 250
    • New frequent route connecting Redmond, Kirkland, the South Kirkland Park-and-Ride and Bellevue
    • Will provide replacement service for removed routes 234, 235 and 248
    • During peak periods and midday, new route 250 will operate more frequently than existing route 248 on weekdays
    • Will operate later than existing route 248
    • Hours of service
      • Weekdays: 5 a.m. — 12:30 a.m.
      • Saturday: 6 a.m. — 11 p.m.
      • Sunday: 6 a.m. — 11 p.m.

Adopted changes to scheduled bus service take effect with Metro's March 21, 2020 service change! You can view full details on what's changing on the Eastside here.

What's Not Changing?

For more information on the North Eastside Mobility Project and King County Metro's March service change, go here!

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 

Staff Stories - Travis

Posted on February 4, 2020

This new blog series, Staff Stories, will bring you an interview with different Choose Your Way Bellevue staff about their daily commutes. Today's interviewee: Travis Lange.

Trashely

What is your occupation?

I am the Transportation Outreach Coordinator for TransManage.

Where do you live, and work?

I currently live in Tukwila and I work at the Bellevue Downtown Association.

Where do you like to hang out for fun and how do you get there?

One of my favorite things to do is to go on urban hikes. I'll bus from Tukwila into Seattle and walk around for hours. I also enjoy going on bike rides; we are fortunate to have a bike rack and we'll load up the bikes and carpool to a trail.

Which mode of transportation do you use?

I carpool, bike, bus and walk.

How do you commute to work and why do you commute that way?

I carpool as my regular daily commute. My fiance and I live in Tukwila and work in Bellevue and we share the one car. With our current living situation, it makes sense for us to carpool and take the HOV lane to work and back. I would love to live closer to work and be able to bike, bus or walk to work, but it's just too expensive.

What are some benefits of commuting to work? What are some things you like about commuting?

One of the best parts of my commute is I get to share the trip with my wonderful fiance. We drink our morning coffee, listen to the news and talk about the day ahead, those are the moments I treasure. I love sharing the one car, because the environmental benefits, as well as the financial savings, make any inconvenience that comes with it worthwhile.

What would you like to experience during your commute?

Ideally, I would love to have an active commute of biking or walking.

How have things changed since you switched up your main mode of transportation?

Since I moved here in June of 2018, my main commute mode has been carpooling. I have since moved further away from my job in Bellevue due to cost of living, so the biggest change has been an extra 10 minutes in the HOV lane.

 

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

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Phyllis

 

Rapid Transit on the 405? Find out what's coming at Sound Transit Online's Open House

Posted on January 28, 2020

From Sound Transit:

Congestion, traffic and long commute times are a headache and driving alone is becoming less reliable for commute times. Fortunately, Bellevue has access to a variety of mobility options, including vanpools, bike trails and, of course, transit. In fact, those commuting the I-405 corridor can look forward to a welcome addition: Bus Rapid Transit.

I-405 Bus Rapid Transit

 What is Bus Rapid Transit?

Bus Rapid Transit is a fleet of buses using a dedicated right-of-way providing fast, frequent, accessible and reliable high-capacity transit. With features like off-board fare payment, improved and efficient bus stations, specialized bus vehicles, and all-door entry and exit, BRT cuts commute times with a more streamlined and efficient busing experience.

BRT is expected to be implemented by 2024 along the I-405 and SR 518 corridors and on SR 522/NE 145th Street to help provide better commuting options along these routes. This new BRT service will be known as Stride BRT and will provide the Eastside with much-needed access to reliable public transportation going north and south.

Critical to Bellevue, new Stride BRT service on I-405 will bring:

  • Two new BRT lines perfect for commuters: Lynnwood to Bellevue and Burien to Bellevue
  • Connection to Link Light Rail at Lynnwood, Bellevue and Tukwila

Why is BRT Better Than What We Have Now?

Easy: speed and reliability. The Stride BRT buses will use expanded express toll lanes north on I-405 to bypass traffic. The improvements are significant: the new Stride BRT service will save about 24 minutes on each trip from Lynnwood to Bellevue.

For the south end, Stride BRT buses will run in new Express Toll Lanes to be built as part of the I-405 – Renton to Bellevue Widening and Express Toll Lane project. According to Sound Transit, these new Stride BRT lines will save riders about 17 minutes on each trip from Burien to Bellevue.

How Do I Find Out More?

Sound Transit is making it easy to find out what these new lines are all about, but also have a say into how the system is shaped! Anyone interested in getting more information or providing feedback on the planned service can participate in Sound Transit's online open house. You can even provide input on:

  • Potential amenities and improvements at BRT stations and on Stride buses
  • Ways to access BRT stations
  • Biking facilities and traveling by bike
  • The updated BRT shelter design

Join the online open house and view a video instruction to Stride BRT at https://i405brt.participate.online/. The online open house will be open through Feb. 14, 2020.

As the region grows, adding new and efficient commuting options to and from Downtown Bellevue will make it easier to get around in less time with less stress. And that's something we can all be excited about!

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 

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

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