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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

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

 

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