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SR 520 Bridge Bike Path – Opening Day Recap!

Posted on December 21, 2017

 

 

We’ve been talking about the SR 520 bridge and its trail for almost three years, but now the big day has finally come.  As of Wednesday, the walking and biking trail is now open for active transportation.

Choose Your Way Bellevue celebrated with Washington State Department of Transportation, Cascade Bicycle Club and a couple hundred area riders!  We set up our tent near the Evergreen Point Park and Ride on the east side of the bridge and gave out hot chocolate, commemorative pins, and bike lights!

 

 

 

 

This important connection will save plenty of time and miles for those who don’t want to go all the way south to the I-90 bridge or north around the top of Lake Washington. The 520 trail feels downright palatial with its 14-foot width (although watch out for the expansion joints, as they can be a bit bumpy on skinny tires).

For more photos from the event, check out the album on Facebook, and don’t forget that you can always follow us on Instagram too!

Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

Bus to a Better You

Posted on December 18, 2017

When I began working in downtown Bellevue a few months ago, I thought that commuting from Ballard two hours round trip each day by bus would be a nightmare. It turns out that by just focusing on being productive during that time, I appreciate and even enjoy my time on the bus.

What could you get done? Click for image source.

Here is a list of things that I do that make my commute feel worthwhile:

  1. Get Ahead

I find that the bus is a great place to start thinking about outlining a productive day before the stress of actually being at work kicks in. I check my email and clear my inbox on the bus so that I have one less thing on my plate at the office. I take a notebook with me, so that if I have a writing task or want to make a to-do list, I can take care of it and feel like I’m already ahead of the game.

  1. Read a Book

I love to read, but for the past few years I found myself only being able to settle into a good book when I was on vacation. Since I started commuting by bus, I’ve found that it’s the perfect way to pass the time and do an activity I enjoy. Since I have that time morning and night, I’m able to get through monstrous books that I normally wouldn’t have the patience to finish, like Crime and Punishment, which I finished last month, or War and Peace, which I’m currently working on. I don’t even have to carry the books during my commute since I read them on my phone.

  1. Listen to podcasts/TED Talks

An activity that I find really helps me pass the time without effort is listening to a favorite podcast. They can be downloaded so that you’re not using data on the commute, and before you know it you’re at your destination and have maybe even learned/heard about something cool to share with coworkers.

  1. Learn a new language

There are dozens of free language learning apps available, and commuting can provide the perfect time to activate your brain and make daily progress.  I decided to start using Duolingo to learn Spanish. I wasn’t expecting much, but after a few months using the app only on the bus, I’m now 51% fluent! I wholeheartedly believe I would not have made that progress if I had chosen to drive instead of taking the bus.

  1. Sit Back, Relax and Unwind

Sometimes, I just need to unwind after a long day, and my commute gives me the perfect opportunity to do that. I find that listening to mellow music, staring out the window at the beautiful northwest views, and deep calming breathing can help me feel relaxed and re-set.

At Choose Your Way Bellevue, we want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your commute. Learn more about how and why you should Choose the Bus today!

Want to share your commute story? Email us!

Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

The SR 520 Trails opens with fanfare (and a ride)!

Posted on December 15, 2017

The 520 Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail is opening! People riding bikes can now get from one side of the lake to the other. Whether you prefer aerodynamic helmets and spandex or you’re just trying out a traffic-free commute at your own pace, people traveling by bicycle (and on foot!) now have more options. Join the Choose Your Way Bellevue team, Cascade Bicycle Club and the City of Bellevue in celebrating the opening December 20 at 3 p.m.

Take the one way ride across the lake from Bellevue, or take the round trip, but either way come warm up at our booth at Evergreen Point with some complimentary hot chocolate. You can pick up a free souvenir pin, bike lights, and give our prize wheel a spin, too! You may just win two tickets to skate at the Bellevue Magic Season Ice Arena. Make sure you’ve brought your bike over to the Eastside on the bus before the event so you can bike back.

Please note that the expansion joints on the bridge have been reported as quite bumpy, so ride with caution!

When the Going gets Tough...

Posted on December 5, 2017

In Part 1 of our Commute Inquiry series we told the story of “K”, who discovered a quick and easy bus route to her workplace. Often times, making a few simple changes can mean the difference between driving alone and commuting on cruise control. However, some commutes are more challenging and it may seem that trying transit or finding a ridematch is an impossibility. While it’s true that our team can’t always find another commuter going your way, we can give you the resources to stay up to date with new riders and available carpools or vanpools. Bus routes that look too long at first glance may be paired with a bike ride, carpool, or short drive alone to a park-and-ride you may not know about, so that you can still use an alternative mode to driving without too much compromise. If you’re able to carpool to a park-and-ride you may even have access to priority parking!

A bike-bus combo might work for you!

Commuter “M” was one such success story: This past spring, at the time of the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride closure, a commuter living in Renton who was used to parking at South Bellevue thought the closure would mean he’d have to pay to park at his workplace. Although taking the bus from his home would be too long of a commute, we helped him discover that by driving to a park-and-ride in Renton, he could still use transit for most of his commute. This route would mean transferring twice, but would save “M” from paying to park each day. We also used Sound Transit’s replacement park-and-ride lots maps to find a lot along his route that was closer to his workplace. This would mean a one-seat ride (no bus transfers), but he’d have to get there early to ensure a parking space. Now “M” has a few options to try out and more “me time” on the bus.

Commutes are not one-size-fits-all, so we want to help you consider all the mix-and-match possibilities that work for you. If an alternative mode doesn’t work right now, don’t give up! Our transit agencies are always making improvements, ridesharing options are always evolving, and we’ve got walk and bike tips and even strategies for teleworking. Let us know how we can help you by filling out your CYWB commute inquiry today.

Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

Let us do the research for you!

Posted on November 29, 2017

If you’ve thought about changing up your commute but feel overwhelmed about where to start, why not let the team here at CYWB do the work? Just fill out a commute inquiry and we’ll personally search for the most convenient option for you. Tell us what your work hours are, where you plan to travel to/from, and which transit options you’re interested in. We’ll give you detailed instructions for getting from point A to point B, whether you’re walking, busing, carpooling, vanpooling, or any combination of those. We’ll also send a Bellevue bike map your way if you prefer to travel on two wheels.

Which route is right for you? Image: Amazon.com

Part 1 of 2*: We’re Here for Commuters Like You

Last month, “K” from Seattle used a commute inquiry to find out the best way to get to work in downtown Bellevue from her home in Seattle. She decided she’d had enough of sitting alone in traffic and wanted to know if she could find a worthy alternative by bus. She had no idea that there was an ideal bus line which has a stop less than a block from her door! Thanks to the CYWB commute inquiry, she now knows that she can easily get to work or back home in about 40 minutes by either taking two Sound Transit buses, or combining the bus with Link light rail. We provided her with step-by-step directions for which line and direction to take, and where to walk to and from each stop. We also recommended she use her ORCA card to save time and money during her commute, which she can also use with King County Metro. K no longer has to stare at an endless line of single-occupancy cars or take the time to find a parking spot at work. She is now a happier commuter thanks to CYWB.

Interested in checking out your customized commute plan? Fill out your CYWB commute inquiry today.

*Be on the lookout for part 2, where we’ll address how we can help with commuting situations that might not have such a simple solution.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

'Tis the season for transit

Posted on November 27, 2017

Magic Season is here! Downtown Bellevue is home to a winter wonderland of delights this holiday season, and Choose Your Way Bellevue has all the resources to help you arrive stress free. Events are peppered around Downtown and easily accessible by bus. If you do prefer to drive, remember that carpooling means more time with friends and family, holiday songs in the car and more eyes peeled for a parking spot!

The simplest transit option is to take a bus to the Bellevue Transit Center. From here you can easily walk to Downtown Park, where the Magic Season Ice Arena is hosted this year, or to Bellevue Arts Museum for “Get Crafty Saturdays”. Take the pedestrian corridor on NE 6th Street two blocks west to Bellevue Way for Snowflake Lane. Walk half a block to the Meydenbauer Center Theatre to see a beautiful production of the Nutcracker; or walk to one of the retail centers in Downtown to do some last minute gift shopping!

Garden D’Lights is held at the Bellevue Botanical Garden East of I-405. To arrive by bus, take Metro route 271 from Bellevue Transit Center Bay 5 eastbound to the 116th Avenue SE and SE 1st Street stop, and walk for about five minutes east on SE 1st Street toward the glistening lights of the garden.

Download These Mobile Apps to Help You Get Around:

Puget Sound Trip Planner: This King County Metro app allows you to find a route between your origin and destination in real time, or for a future trip. See stop details, fare information, route schedules and options.

One Bus Away: Take the bus and save money—for more holiday shopping! Download the app for iPhone, Android and Windows phones to access up-to-date bus arrival times so you aren’t running or waiting in the cold for your transit option. You can click on every bus stop from a map to see all arrival times.

Google Maps: Google Maps now includes real-time bus data. You can plan out your trip for transit, biking or walking and it will give you arrival times and even transit fare information. Google Maps also allows you to add your trip to your calendar so you can be thoroughly prepared.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

How to ORCA (Products for Individuals)

Posted on November 21, 2017

For those of you who may be interested in exploring your region or expanding your commute options, purchasing an ORCA (One Regional Card for All) card is a great place to start. For $5, you will receive a reloadable card that can be used to pay your fare when traveling by bus, ferry, rail, train or any combination of those. It is accepted on Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and even Washington State Ferries.

It’s easier than cash (just tap it on the ORCA reader and you’re good to go) and gives you added security, since you can keep the credit on your card, if you register it, even if it’s lost or stolen. Whether you’re exploring for a day or looking to simplify your daily commute year-round, ORCA is a good option for you.

Regional Day Pass

The regional Day Pass is a good choice for anyone who may be visiting the region, and using multiple modes of public transportation or planning to take several trips in a day. When you load your card with the $8 regional pass, you can use it all day for any fare costing less than $3.50. This is the best option for friends or family visiting from out of town to get around without having to worry about parking.

Monthly passes

The amount you pay for your Puget Pass depends on your daily commute. For example. If you live in King County and commute to Bellevue, a Puget Pass will cost $117 and cover all fares below $3.25. Rates start as low as $18 for those who may just want $.50 off each ride and go up to a $360 monthly pass that gives you unlimited use for even the highest fares of $10 each way. This option has the potential to save you A LOT. Check out a detailed price list of monthly Puget Pass and other fares here.

E-Purse Value

For those of you who want the convenience of tapping a card without the commitment of a daily or monthly pass, you can add value to an “E-Purse” that is stored on your card and used like cash to pay your fare. You can use it pay for your whole fare, or in combination with one of the other passes. The minimum value you can add at a time is $5, with a maximum stored value per card of $300. Your fare won’t be discounted, but you will have the ease and security of one card for all your transportation options. We recommend keeping your card loaded with at least $5, since you never know when it might come in handy to pay for a longer, more expensive trip.

Check out the product options to find out the best way for you to ORCA. Need to find out how to get a card, add value, or report yours lost or stolen? This is the best place to start. Want to learn more? Visit our ORCA page or send questions to info@cywb.org.

Are you new to transit? Take your first rides on us! We’re offering new users free ORCA cards pre-loaded with $25. Simply fill out this request form and we’ll mail one to you!

Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

Have thoughts about biking in downtown Bellevue? The city wants your input!

Posted on November 15, 2017

 

City of Bellevue Bikeway Demonstration Project Mockup

This is what 108th Ave NE could look like!

We’re spreading the word: The City of Bellevue wants to hear from you on the Downtown Demonstration Bikeway Project–a proposed “high-comfort” bikeway pilot in downtown Bellevue.

Join the Transportation Department and Choose Your Way Bellevue for three “pop-up” events at Bellevue Connection Compass Plaza (NE 6th St & 106th Ave NE, near the Food Trucks where Live at Lunch was frequently held this summer) for more information leading up to the Open House.  Learn about the benefits and trade-offs of concepts along four candidate streets and help pick the street and design that balances the community’s priorities.

The first event is Wednesday, November 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by another on November 21 and again November 28, both from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This concept comes from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Implementation Initiative. From the city’s news release:

“The Transportation Commission will review community feedback and make a recommendation about a demonstration project to the City Council in early 2018. If the project moves forward, the bikeway could be installed by mid-2018 and would be evaluated through at least December 2018. Bicycle, vehicle and pedestrian traffic would be monitored, and adjustments would be made to improve operations if necessary. If the demonstration is successful, more permanent upgrades could be installed in the future. ”

You also have until December 31 to complete the online survey, letting the city know what ideas you have for the bikeway.

Want to come to the Open House?

The City of Bellevue will hold an open house on the Downtown Demonstration Bikeway Project at City Hall (450 110th Avenue NE) on Thursday, November 30 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., where you can learn more and provide your input.

Check out the city’s website for more information about the open house and what’s under way.

Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

Meet Melissa!

Posted on November 7, 2017

 

Melissa Torres

Melissa is excited for winter weather to finally arrive!

Hello! My name is Melissa Torres and I am the newest member of the TransManage team, filling the role of Transportation Outreach Coordinator. I work along with Choose Your Way Bellevue and various downtown properties to improve their employees’ commute to work with the aim to reduce single car occupancy trips.

Eight years ago, I ditched my car in Southern California and moved to Seattle. This permitted me to learn the lay of the land by foot and transit. This change of lifestyle completely altered my perception of place and community for the better. It has made me a more compassionate and eco-conscious person.

So how do I get to work? I take the bus! I take the bus because it is SO EASY. Once you understand the possible routes, catching the bus becomes a thoughtless activity. I use the OneBusAway app to check real time updates on my route so I don’t have to leave my place a moment too soon.

The bus ride provides extra time to drink coffee, check emails, zone out to a podcast, or doze off a little. I usually dabble in a little of each with the occasional Ariana Grande song to get my day started on the right note. I highly suggest it.

Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer, Melissa

Things You Should Know CYWB Offers

Posted on October 23, 2017

Hi everyone, I’m that lazy cyclist who recently started with Choose Your Way Bellevue. Now that I have had a chance to get settled in my new “roll” here (get it, it’s a pun) on the west coast, I have learned that there are a bunch of pretty neat and innovative things that the City of Bellevue offers residents and local employees through the Choose Your Way Bellevue program.

Here is the rundown of my top five:

  1. If you are new to transit (have ridden more than 3 times in the past 3 months) we’ll give you a free ORCA card that’s pre-loaded with $25! Just fill out the online form and we’ll mail you a card for free! Did I mention it was free?
  2. This region has more transit related apps than you can shake a stick at. I’m still working my way through the list on our Apps & Technology section, but I’ve found that the OneBusAway app is really helpful!
  3. Want to stay in the loop, at home or on the go? We’ve got a pretty substantial social media presence that is more than just transit alerts and upcoming closures—it’s actually interesting! Check out Choose Your Way Bellevue on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  4. Win prizes, just for logging the commuter trips that you are already taking! We have drawings and monthly rewards that you can earn just by logging eight days of non-drive along travel.  Come on people, that’s only two days a week each month.
  5. Finally, if you’ve been thinking about changing up how you commute, let us know and we’ll actually plan out all your options for you with our custom Commute Plan service. It couldn’t be easier.

Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Tim

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