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How To Stay Mentally and Physically Active During the Pandemic

Posted on May 13, 2020

Bellevue Biking

 

Stay-at-home orders, park closures and reduced transit service all make it more difficult to get out and about – many of us are working from home and our normal routines are not the same. We’ve heard from many Bellevue commuters that working from home sometimes leads to long sitting sessions with little movement. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite tips for staying active in Bellevue during the pandemic: 

 

Staying Physically Active

1.    Teleworking out

  • Don’t let gym closures keep you from getting your exercise. You can still walk or run outside. Getting out in the morning or for lunch can set an energetic tone for the rest of day Or, set up a designated workout space in your home and invest in free weights to get in the habit of working out every day. Need a little more motivation? Call up a friend and do a virtual exercise together!

2.    Parks

  • Washington state parks are slowly reopening for day-use as of May 5. If you want a change of scenery from your urban walks, take a look at this list of Washington state parks that might be in your area. You can also still go to local parks like Bellevue Downtown Park, which are open to the public for walking and activities that do not require close proximity. As a reminder, use this National Recreation and Park Association webpage on physical distancing in public parks and trails.

3.    Biking

  • With reduced traffic and reduced transit schedules, biking is not only a great way to get from point A to point B, it’s a great way to get out. Bike trails in Bellevue remain open, as long as social distancing is in place. You can also Start a virtual bike club with your friends and log all of your non-drive-alone travel on our site to be eligible for Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards!
  • You can also check out the new 2020 Bellevue Bike Map, which features updated citywide and detail maps, safety tips, helmet fitting tips, tools and resources. Want a physical copy? Call the City of Bellevue Transportation Department at 425-452-6856 or email at TRReception@bellevuewa.gov to request one.

 

Staying Mentally Active

4.    Virtual Hangouts

  • Not only is staying physically active important, but so is staying mentally active. Get together over Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or Skype and play games, have a happy hour or just catch up. All are great for companionship!

5.    Meditation

  • If you’re able to find a nice, quiet space in your home, set up time for yourself to mediate and relax. Giving the mind time to calm down and destress is especially helpful during this time.

6.    Reading

  • Being stuck inside during the day has its perks, one of which is more time to pick up that book you’ve always wanted to read!

 

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


-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 

Navigating COVID-19 – Transit is Still Critical

Posted on April 30, 2020

Editor's note: The following information is compiled from King County Metro sources.

As the world continues to adapt to the many life changes of the COVID-19 pandemic, for many, that means essential travel still relies on public transit.

Bellevue Transit Center

 

If you must travel, transit may still be a viable option for you, despite reduced schedules. Here are a few things to be mindful of when using transit:

  • Check canceled trips before you go – Under the reduced schedule currently in place, the routes listed on this Metro page will continue to operate; however, some individual trips have been canceled. Use the drop-down menus to see which trips have been canceled for each route. 
  • Passenger limits – To support the health of passengers, drivers, and community members, King County Metro has instituted new passenger limits to promote social distancing. The optimal number of passengers is twelve on a 40-foot bus and eighteen on a 60-foot bus. 
  • Wear a mask – Responding to evolving guidance from public health officials and the feedback of drivers and other frontline employees, King County Metro strongly urges all customers to wear a mask or face covering while using public transportation. 

Check this up-to-date reduced schedule Metro page to see which routes are still running. Transit is still an important way for individuals to get where they need to go, especially essential workers.  

Sound Transit has also temporarily suspended fares and reduced their service. Read more at the Sound Transit website

Thank you for taking these regulations seriously. Stay safe, maintain six feet from others and continuously wash your hands. Happy commuting!

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 

Five Reasons Why Biking Now is Better

Posted on April 23, 2020

Bellevue Biker

 

As the pandemic continues to affect the world, here are a few positive reasons why getting out and about on your trusty wheels is better now than ever before!


1.    Societal disruption

  • Changing your routine can be easier during times of disruption, and may take time to stick. Since it usually takes more than two months before a new way of doing things becomes automatic, now is as good a time as any to get (back) into biking, especially with spring and summer rolling around!

2.    A captive audience

  • We’re all looking for new ways to engage virtually, and biking can make that happen. Start a virtual bike club with your friends and log your trips through Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards!

3.    Biking is the new “going out”

  • Bars, sporting events, gyms and more are all closed for the time being. Riding your bike is one of the only ways to get out these days, so why not try biking your commute route to see what would work best for you when work from the office starts up again? Or, take your kids out for a family ride.

4.    Less traffic

  • According to this article, the Seattle metro area has experienced the third-largest traffic drop in the nation amid the stay-at-home order. With emptier roadways, it’s a great time to dust off your bike or ride it more often!

5.    Bikes in lieu of transit

 

You can also check out the new 2020 Bellevue Bike Map, which features updated citywide and detail maps, safety tips, helmet fitting tips, tools and resources. Want a physical copy? Call the City of Bellevue Transportation Department at 425-452-6856 to request one.
Take these points into consideration when exploring ways to get outside during these times. Until next time, stay safe, wash your hands and keep your distance (at least six feet) from each other!

 

Update: From now until June 30, earn merchandise just by logging your walking, biking and telework trips! Learn more.

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex
 

Four Ways to Celebrate Earth Day During These Times

Posted on April 15, 2020

Earth Day

 

This year, Earth Day may be celebrated differently than in the past - but that doesn't mean it can't be just as meaningful! Here are a few ways you can celebrate our planet during the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. Conserve Water

  • There's nothing quite like reducing your water usage to show your appreciation for the planet. Doing things like taking shorter showers and turning off the faucet while washing your hands and brushing your teeth can make a difference.

2. Recycle

  • Instead of throwing that dirty plastic peanut butter jar in the garbage, take the extra time to clean it out and put it in the recycle bin. Recycling paper and plastics are a great way to help the environment.

3. Choose and support sustainable food options

  • Fast food and processed meats contribute to pollution and hurt our environment. Choosing a replacement meal that is eco-friendly is a great way to celebrate Earth Day, and there are a multitude of great vegetarian and vegan restaurants and meals out there providing takeout options! This is also a great opportunity to find a new recipe to try and cook in your kitchen!

4. Last but not least: Leave your Car in the "Parked" and "Off" Position

  • According to the New York Times, one of the most effective ways to being thinking about how to reduce your carbon footprint is to reconsider how much, and how often, you travel. By not driving, you'll be helping to reduce the massive amounts of CO2 being poured into the atmosphere every day. Taking a walk in your neighborhood while practicing social distancing is a great way to get out.

 

I hope this is a helpful list to kick-start your Earth Day celebrations. Remember to stay safe, wash your hands, limit travel and stay home during these times!

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Alex

 

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.

Updated (4/20/20, 9:30 am) - King County Metro has further reduced service to slow the spread of COVID-19, 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

 

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