Choose Your Way Bellevue Blog

The time has come to change Just One Trip and get rewarded! Just One Trip could be the catalyst to change not only your commute, but your life. The average American spends nearly an hour commuting every day, and now’s your chance to reclaim that hour for you. Catch up on the news, take a nap, make new friends, or be the best dog-gone Bejeweled player there ever was.

Get on that bus. Join that carpool. Dust off that bike in your garage. Heck, that extra walk could do us all some good. To show you how much they believe in you, King County Metro will give you a One-Time $100 Emergency Ride Home credit to use with Uber, Lyft or taxi as well as a $25 reward when you take the plunge and log your trips and complete a follow-up survey. Enrollment closes March 31, 2017. Sign up today and start reducing your drive alone trips!

Already signed up? Make sure to log your trips to unlock your Follow Up Survey in the Community In Motion network!

Tell us your non-drive-alone commute story!

King County Metro wants to hear about your commute! Are you a sleek, spandex-wearing bike commuter? Are you a book-reading, back-of-the-bus rider? Maybe you’re a carpool DJ outside office hours. No matter your mode, send us a photo and a story of your commute to inspire others!

Disclaimer: By sending King County Metro your story you agree that your story and photo can be shared without limitations including but not limited to KBCS radio’s “Unmute the Commute” program.

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 12:36 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

Counterintuitive, but true.

Click for video.

We’ve all been there, sitting in our cars stuck in a never-ending gridlock and we think to ourselves, if only there were more lanes we’d all be moving along! Road rage sets in, and no matter what poignant story NPR is piping through the radio waves, our stress levels rise and we arrive at our destination full of hatred for our fellow man. Or, perhaps you’re more calm and hold it in, but that anxiety goes somewhere; there is mounting evidence that our commute tension is hijacking our health and wellbeing. Either way, you’re not alone in thinking traffic here is the worst–It actually is! Second worst in the nation for evening rush hour congestion, and fourth worst for overall congestion, that is.

Recently, when solicited for ideas on how to improve commutes in and around the Sound, one respondent said “Super simple. MORE LANES IDIOTS.” First of all, it’s ‘MORE LANES comma IDIOTS’, but that’s beside the point. Many researchers have taken the time to investigate this common and seemingly logical thought only to come up with the same answer: More lanes don’t mean less traffic. In fact, adding lanes almost always results in the same proportion of traffic as before. “As civil engineer and sustainability advocate Charles Marohn so eloquently put it, ‘Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants.’”

Click for image source.

What is “induced demand”?

Induced demand is the concept that demand is relative to supply. In terms of traffic, this means that by increasing road capacity (supply) there will be more cars taking those roads (increased demand). Essentially, as we add lanes more people decide to drive in those lanes. How could this be, you ask? Well, for a brief period widening a road may result in less traffic. But alas! This sweet, sweet commute is fleeting. As more drivers realize this route is now faster and easier, more drivers will take it. What is more, those that weren’t driving (either taking public transit or avoiding leisure trips altogether) are now likely to be incentivized to drive; it being so quick and easy and all. More roads can also attract more business and their associated road use. Essentially, you may be stuck in traffic whether the road has two lanes or six.

Image: Vox.com

So what are the facts?

In 2009 two economists compared data on new roads built and the total number of miles driven in 228 US cities between 1980 and 2000. What they found was a precise correlation.  According to Wired, “If a city had increased its road capacity by 10 percent between 1980 and 1990, then the amount of driving in that city went up by 10 percent. If the amount of roads in the same city then went up by 11 percent between 1990 and 2000, the total number of miles driven also went up by 11 percent. It’s like the two figures were moving in perfect lockstep, changing at the same exact rate”.

Of course, there are limits. If we were to build a highway 100 lanes across, drivers would have a hard time filling it up. Within reason, though, induced demand is a cold, hard fact, even when controlling for factors such as population growth and transit service. Forward-thinking departments of transportation across the nation are beginning to accept this fact, including CalTrans (California Department of Transportation) in the state perhaps most synonymous with gridlock frustrations, and reconsidering the allocation of precious transportation dollars.

The Lone Star State and the lone success story

I’m sure some readers out there are thinking to themselves, this so-called research is skewed! This article is biased! Where are the stats on Texas, where increased road capacity reduced traffic? Well, it’s true that in Texas an anomaly happened. The state decided to build more lanes and it did in fact reduce the average commute time by half, but experts say this won’t last in the long run.

What can we do?

Take lanes away. No, I’m not nuts. In fact, research has shown that the induced demand trend also works in reverse. When cities take away lanes, traffic will end up readjusting itself so that approximately the same ratio of cars to road exists. It’s been done internationally with great success in congested cities such as Paris and Seoul, where more drivers decided to go by foot or public transit rather than drive when road capacity was reduced. However, there are limits; taking away a massive thoroughfare and replacing it with a single lane road won’t exactly slim down with ease.

Is there hope for my commute?

So, are we doomed to live our lives in metal boxes on wheels, crawling along at a snail’s pace, with our hands glued to the steering wheel and our eyes narrowed at the car ahead? Well, that depends on if we can change our culture. America is arguably the most car-centric nation on earth, and proud of it. This means that until we collectively decide that driving isn’t the coolest, the best, the easiest, or the only way to get where we’re going, there will always be traffic no matter how many roads we build ourselves.

As always, Choose Your Way Bellevue is happy to dig into the details and plan that non-drive-alone commute for you!

The takeaway

Whether you become a diehard bus rider, aerodynamic-spandex-wearing biker, or a stay a steadfast driver we wish you luck in getting from A to B. We hope you’ll continue to look at issues from every angle, and of course, recognize the influence social, political, and economic factors have on each other. Traffic and transportation is a big issue that won’t be tackled with any one-size-fits-all solution.

Leave your comments below or email us with questions, comments, or fresh ideas. We’d love to hear about your commute experiences- the good, the bad, and the ugly!

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

Monday, March 13th, 2017 4:05 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

Groups of two or more commuters who regularly drive together to participating park and rides may be eligible to apply for carpool parking permits. King County Metro and Sound Transit each own and operate distinct park and rides and each have similar HOV permit programs; pricing and eligibility vary depending on location.

Applicants will be required to register with basic contact information and ORCA card numbers, Vanpool ID, or RideshareOnline.com email account for each member of a carpool. Regular transit ridership is not required for initial issue of a permit, but once a permit is issued ORCA numbers, Vanpool, or RideshareOnline.com will be checked to verify regular transit ridership. At least two carpool members must average three days of ridership per week (12 days per month) to qualify for monthly permit renewals.

The King County Metro carpool parking permits are free and are available to carpoolers meeting vanpools, buses, trains or private carpools at Eastgate, Issaquah Highlands, Northgate, Redmond, South Kirkland, and South Renton.

The Sound Transit park and ride permits cost $5 per month and are available to carpoolers continuing on to catch a bus or train at Angle Lake Station, Auburn Station, Issaquah Transit Center, Kent Station, Puyallup Station, Sumner Station, Tukwila International Boulevard Station and Tukwila Sounder Station.

Still looking for a carpool partner? Search for your carpool partner here.

Learn more and apply now!

Thursday, February 9th, 2017 10:16 AM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

They say it’s taboo to break-up on Valentine’s Day, but this year, we encourage you to do so. Break up with your old commute! Stop sitting in traffic all alone, or simply try something new! Maybe your relationship with the bus has gone stale and that shiny vanpool’s caught your eye; or maybe you’re in need of a partner who’s more outdoorsy and has two wheels… Choose Your Way Bellevue is here to be your matchmaker.

So, how do you find a ridematch anyway? It’s as easy as 1-2-3 with Choose Your Way Bellevue.

Watch the video: http://bit.ly/2jIiyY8

Intimidated by biking Downtown? Use our Downtown Bellevue Bike Map to find a route that’s your speed.

What’s the bus got to do with orcas? Choose Your Way Bellevue will catch you up with all the tips and tricks.

As always, we’re here to help with your questions. Now get out there and meet your (commute) match!

Friday, February 3rd, 2017 3:38 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

The South Bellevue Park-and-Ride will be closed for approximately five years during construction. ST Express buses 550, 555 and 556, and Metro buses 241 and 249 will continue to serve Bellevue Way Southeast next to the closed park-and-ride during construction. The future South Bellevue Station will include bus and paratransit transfer facilities and a 1,500-stall parking garage. Sound Transit expects to receive a construction schedule from the contractor soon that will identify the closure date, to be announced through East Link construction alerts. Stay informed by subscribing to Sound Transit’s East Link alerts at soundtransit.org/subscribe.

With a closure like this, it’s a great time to evaluate all of your options and we’re here to help.

Sound Transit identified replacement and existing park-and-ride lots with additional parking capacity and also expanded service on routes traveling to downtown Seattle and Bellevue. Visit the links below to discover replacement park-and-ride lots and new routes to find an alternative lot that works best for your lifestyle and location. There may even be a carpool or vanpool option that can get you to your destination.

We realize the park-and-ride closure may have a big impact on your commute. If you would like help navigating your options, fill out a custom commute planning inquiry and the Choose Your Way Bellevue team will help you find your way. You can always visit ChooseYourWayBellevue.org for information about alternatives to driving alone.

Choose Your Way Bellevue has created a new “East Link and Travel Options” page to help you get around during East Link construction. The new page will be updated with relevant information throughout the various stages of construction as they emerge, including frequent commute plans we’ve created for commuters. Let us know how we can support you during this change in our environment!

-Augusta, Choose Your Way Bellevue staff

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 10:26 AM | by augusta | Add a Comment

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