Choose Your Way Bellevue Blog

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Just by being a part of the Choose Your Way Bellevue network, you’re also eligible to participate in a program brought to you by our partners at King County: Just One Trip – Community In Motion! September 1, 2016 through February 28, 2017 the Community In Motion team is asking the you to join in the community movement and further reduce your drive alone trips. Just one trip is all it takes to get started!

The Community in Motion program was created for those live, work or play—and travel—along the urbanized corridors of I-405 and I-90 in King County. All Bellevue workers and residents are eligible. Over the last two years, 10,000 participants have already joined the program. If you can further reduce your drive-alone travel, we invite you to join them and take a test ride. Start by changing “Just One Trip” from driving alone to riding the bus, carpooling, vanpooling, biking or walking. Our Choose Your Way Bellevue team is here to help you explore travel options in your community and find alternatives to driving alone.

JOT modes only

Benefits of participating in Community In Motion program include:

  • Monthly drawings for those who log their non-drive-alone trips.
  • One Emergency Ride Home credit .
  • A $25 ORCA card, TranBen voucher, REI gift card, Brown Bear Car Wash or AutoZone gift card. (Rewards are only available while supplies last) upon completion of the pre and post survey and logging your changed trips on your Choose Your Way Bellevue calendar.

Ready to Give it a Try? Get started with the pre-survey today: click here.

 

Friday, September 23rd, 2016 4:13 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

ChooseYourWaySchoolPool

The changing of the seasons ushers in many things such as pumpkin flavored treats, nature’s parade of colors along your commute, and this year, SchoolPool!

The City of Bellevue and the Bellevue School District are collaborating to bring SchoolPool to the desktop of families at select pilot schools longing for a way out of the traffic woes generated during the commute to and from school. SchoolPool not only brings relief to families and the communities that support the schools, it also saves time and money. You can access Bellevue SchoolPool via the Choose Your Way Bellevue website.

What is Choose Your Way Bellevue SchoolPool?

CYWB SchoolPool is a free program that includes an online platform, open only to families at participating schools, to help them form ridematches with other families at their child’s school or participating nearby schools. Ridematches aren’t just for carpools; they are also for biking and walking groups with an adult leader.

SchoolPool Pilot is happening at the following schools:

  • Puesta del Sol
  • Somerset Elementary
  • Stevenson Elementary
  • Odle Middle
  • Tyee Middle
  • Newport High
  • Sammamish High
  • Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart

Our vision is to utilize SchoolPool to mitigate traffic congestion around schools make the commute to school easier, and help make our city more sustainable!

If you have children in one of the participating schools listed above and would like to participate, visit our SchoolPool webpage. To get started, fill out this form!

Friday, September 23rd, 2016 3:57 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

Zipcar is a one-of-a-kind car sharing service that is just one of Downtown Bellevue’s many alternative transportation options. It allows users to reserve and check-out a vehicle anywhere from a week to an hour in advance. Zipcar can be used on its own or as a compliment to other modes, offering users more flexibility in their schedules while not having to rely on a personal vehicle. Additionally, it’s a great option for those who go to work at peak-time and take off-peak trips, when some transit routes have limited or suspended service.

Image thanks to Zipcar

Image thanks to Zipcar

Here’s how Zipcar works: Zipcar has ten cars available in Bellevue, all in Downtown . Users sign up online and pay an annual fee to become a member. Once a member, you’re given a membership card and gain access to 500+ vehicles in Downtown Bellevue, Downtown Redmond, and Seattle; and 10,000+ nationwide. This means you’ll be able to reserve a car near you and check it out for as long as you need, for an additional per-trip fee. You reserve cars via the Zipcar app or website and simply scan into the cars with your membership card. Zipcars are parked in garages, lots, and on the streets, so there is no need to go into a rental office or deal with keeping track of car keys which are left inside the vehicles. All gas, insurance, and 180 miles are included with all reservations; all you need to do is get the Zipcar back to the location where you picked it up for the next Zipcar member to use. Click here to learn about the fee structure.

Downtown Bellevue Zipcar locations are listed below. Click here for a map of locations. If you are using the map, choose Seattle (Puget Sound Region) and click on the icon over Bellevue to find all Zipcar locations in Downtown Bellevue. You can also type in Bellevue in the search bar in the top left. The locations are as follows:

Griffin Parking Lot
NE 8th St./ 110th Ave (10921 NE 8th St)

Key Bank Building
NE 4th Street and 106th PL NE

Skyline Tower Parking Garage
10900 NE 4th Street

989 Elements Parking Garage
989 Elements (989 112th Ave NE)

Zipcar Flexible: Zipcar has recently introduced a new version of their service called Zipcar Flexible, operating between Downtown Bellevue and Seattle. Unlike traditional Zipcar, these cars are one-way vehicles, meaning they do not need to be returned to their pick-up location. The service includes guaranteed parking on both ends of the trip, in both Downtown Bellevue and Seattle. Using the same reservation process as regular Zipcar, members can travel between the Eastside and west side, carpool back, ride transit back, or even stay there!

There are currently two Zipcar Flexible (one-way) locations in Downtown Bellevue:

Elements Parking Garage
989 Elements (989 112th Ave NE)

Griffin Parking Lot
NE 8th St./ 110th Ave (10921 NE 8th St)

These cars can be taken to multiple Seattle locations including Downtown, Belltown, Capitol Hill, Beacon Hill, South Lake Union, Fremont, and West Seattle. These cars can also be taken one-way from Seattle to Bellevue.

Pricing per trip for these one way trips starts at $5, making it a comparable option to riding the bus, using a ride app such as Uber or Lyft, or another mode. Check out an example of how this service works by following this link: zipcar.com/flexible.

Try Zipcar: If you are interested in becoming a member you can download the Zipcar app to see Zipcar locations and availability, and be on the road within minutes. If you are interested in a business account for your company or department contact Zipcar at seattlemarketing@zipcar.com and mention Choose Your Way Bellevue to get set up with a free account (a $75 savings!).

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 6:23 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

I-405 Express Bus Travel and Choose Your Way Bellevue Commute Planning can hook you up!
Having recently moved and gone through a commute change, I thought it to be fitting to fill in the Choose Your Way Bellevue community about my process to explore my commute options and boy, am I happy with my new commute!

I’ve enjoyed my bus commute for the past two years from the Houghton neighborhood in Kirkland. I was riding the Metro 234/235 and the commute was a piece of cake. I’d walk 4 minutes to my bus stop and I’d ride the 25 minutes right up the Bellevue Transit Center. Easy breezy. I was nervous about moving three miles north, farther from my tried and trusted route. But come July 1, I had the chance to explore all my options and combinations from the Juanita/ Totem Lake neighborhood.
Moving can be a stressful time, but having my commute nailed down made the transition a bit easier. Here is how I went about planning my new commute (and how we can help you plan yours).

I looked up the bus route options from my home address using Google Maps (transit). Bing has a transit mapping function, too; I had to give that a try as well and it yielded similar results. I had a few combinations worth trying! I still had the 234 within walking distance from my house but I knew it would take almost an hour to get to work. I have a new puppy at home! I can’t be spending two hours on the bus every day. With the construction on Northup Way and summer congestion getting into and out of Downtown Kirkland on State Street leaving that route a bit more unpredictable (and possibly delayed), I opted to leave that route for a later date when I was less worried about time.

I checked the park and rides in my area using WSDOT’s Park and Ride locator map. The Kingsgate Park and Ride was only a mile away and there are a number of express bus options into Downtown Bellevue that leave the Totem Lake Freeway Station pretty frequently. It’s just a three-minute walk from the Park and Ride to the Freeway Station down 116th Ave NE to NE 128th St.

walking pic
I tried a number of commute combinations. While it might seem counterintuitive, the two-bus option (255 >> 522/535 Express buses) was actually shorter than my Metro 234 ride (30 minutes versus 50). The walk to the park and ride isn’t the most walkable. While it is developing, right now Totem Lake is still a pretty auto-centric place; the cars are moving pretty fast.

I ended up preferring to drive the mile and parking at the Kingsgate Park and Ride to catch the first bus that pulled up to Bus Bay 1. The Park and Ride gets pretty full, but so far I haven’t seen it completely full before 8:00 A.M. However, once school starts again this fall I’m sure it will be a different monster; it’s quite a popular spot. I’m not the first one to discover this suburban gem!

The bus ride on the Sound Transit 532/ 535 or Metro 237 pick up and do not stop again until we all arrive at the Bellevue Transit Center: 10 minutes pick-up to drop off in the I-405 express toll lanes. We literally zoom past all the traffic heading into Downtown Bellevue. I feel like I am in bus rider heaven. Three miles farther from work and I was getting to work in a third of the time! Granted, the buses can get pretty full. I end up standing half the time, but it’s only 10 minutes so I don’t mind. Trick of the trade: the Metro 342 also goes to Downtown Bellevue but it makes one more stop (at NE 70th Pl) so it has to weave out of the Express Toll Lanes. This can add up to 5 more minutes to an otherwise speedy ride.

bus options
My prior bus commute was a local Metro route that served a lot of stops, and was decently full at peak periods but always had a seat for me. I saw the same faces every day and was a bit sad to leave my routine. But this new commute rhythm has really given me a shorter commute time and so many options. I can count on getting home early enough to take my pup on a hike.

hiking
I would suggest exploring both your local Metro routes to connect to an express bus, or check out the park and ride options.

I may work in the transportation field every day and I have a lot of these tools already in my back pocket. While we encourage you to try these tips for exploring your bus routes on your own, if it all seems too daunting we’re here to help! We can explore the potential routes, different mode combinations and how long different options would take you. If you’d like us to take a look at bus routes around you, fill out a commute inquiry form and we’ll get back to you within a few business days!

You can find me in the express toll lanes,

-Happy commuter and Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Augusta

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 3:25 PM | by augusta | Add a Comment

Three renowned art fairs will take over the heart of Downtown Bellevue the last weekend of July, the 29-31. The Bellevue Downtown Association’s 6th Street Fair, the Bellevue Arts Museum ARTSfair, and the Bellevue Festival of the Arts. Artists have traveled from across the nation to showcase their original creations. But you won’t be traveling that far, so let King County Metro, Sound Transit or the HOV lane get you downtown! For specialized plans feel free to get in touch with Choose Your Way Bellevue via email, info@CYWB.org.

Image thanks to: http://bit.ly/29qPnTp

Image thanks to: http://bit.ly/29qPnTp

Fair information:

The BAM ARTSfair, Bellevue Square and Bellevue Arts Museum
Friday and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The 6th Street Fair, Bellevue Connection (Northeast 6th Street and 106th Avenue Northeast)
Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bellevue Festival of the Arts, Cost Plus World Market parking lot (10300 Northeast Eighth St.)
Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tips for riding transit to downtown Bellevue:

  • Carry your exact bus fare in cash or your ORCA card loaded with either a pass or e-purse. Bus drivers do not have change. You may pay your fare, and the fare for others traveling with you, using any combination of paper, coin currency, and/or transit pass equal to or of greater value than the required fare. For fare information along your route and desired travel time follow this link: http://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/fares-orca.aspx.
  • 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.
  • All buses are by selecting ‘Accessible Trip’ in the advanced options of Trip Planner.
  • Plan your return trip: Plan ahead by locating the bay where you will wait to catch a bus back to the park and ride, as well as determining when the last bus leaves to get you there. Schedules will be posted at each bay to assist you.

Suggested Park and Ride Options for Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31:

The information below is specific to Saturday/Sunday operations. If you plan to utilize a park & ride lot on Friday you can expect more frequent service, an increased fare and fewer available parking spaces due to heavy commuter use. All suggested routes serve the Bellevue Transit Center for incoming and outgoing trips. For specific King County Metro bus schedules and more detailed information, please visit http://metro.kingcounty.gov and enter your preferred route number in the “Get a Timetable” box in the upper right corner. For Sound Transit routes (535, 550 and 560) visit soundtransit.org.

Park and Ride Most Direct Route Departure Information Return pick-up at the Bellevue Transit Center Additional route options
South Bellevue 
2700 Bellevue Way SE
Sound Transit 550 Departs every 15 minutes on Saturdays and every 30 minutes on Sundays Bay 9 Metro 241*
Metro 249
ST 555*
ST 556*
ST 560
 
Eastgate 
14200 SE Eastgate Way
Metro 271 Departs every 30 minutes on Saturdays and every hour on Sundays Bay 5 Metro 240
Metro 241*
Metro 246*
ST 555*
ST 556*
 
Mercer Island
8000 N. Mercer Way
Sound Transit 550 Departs every 15 minutes on Saturdays and every 30 minutes on Sundays Bay 1 n/a  
South Kirkland
10610 NE 38th Place
Metro 234 or 235 Departs every hour on Saturdays and Sundays Bay 10 Metro 249  
Overlake Park and Ride
2650 152nd Avenue NE & Overlake Transit Center
15590 NE 36th Place
Metro B-Line Departs every 15 minutes Saturdays and Sundays Bay 3 Metro 249  
Kingsgate
13001 116th Way NE
 

Metro235

 
Sound Transit 535** Departs every hour on Saturday  

**No Sunday service

BIKE

Bike routes will change depending on where you are coming from. Please check the Bellevue Bike Map for information about biking in the Bellevue area, or get in touch with us to plan a bike plan for you by emailing info@CYWB.org. Bike racks are available throughout Downtown Bellevue; check out the downtown bike rack map to find one near Bellevue Arts Fair Weekend venues.

DRIVE

Those choosing to drive to the fair will have some construction projects to contend with, including the closure of 110th Ave NE (read about it here: ). Remember that the NE 6th direct access ramp is for vehicles with two or more occupants on weekends; therefore, single drivers exiting at NE 6th will need to turn south on 112th Ave NE and then head west on NE 4th; or turn north on 110th or 112th Ave NE and then head west on NE 8th to access the freeway.

We’ll see you at the fair!

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 4:21 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

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