Choose Your Way Bellevue Blog

In this blog, we do a dive into the inner workings of Travis and Ashley’s morning travels to work from Sammamish to Bellevue.  Travis is the newest member of the Choose Your Way Bellevue/TransManage team and makes the daily commute as part of a carpool with his girlfriend Ashley.

Read on for our interview with this dynamic duo:

CYWB: Where are you coming from and where do you each go? What is your route to/from work and when are you typically on the road?

 

  • T: We live in Sammamish, right in the middle of the city so it’s the same time if we go up through Redmond or down through Issaquah.  So we keep things fresh and do both, we have it down to a science.
  • A: We live in the Sammamish Plateau, and both work in/near Bellevue (Travis is at the BDA, and I am just down the road at a church in Medina.) Because of where we live in comparison to the lake, we can either go up-and-around the lake, passing through Redmond and hopping on 520, or we can go down through Issaquah and onto I-90. So, to keep things spicy, we do both! We take I-90 in the morning around 8:30 and use 520 at around 4:45-5:00 PM to get home.

CYWB: What are some of the benefits of carpooling together?

  • T: There are a ton of benefits, among them are saving money and time (shout out carpool lane, not HUV lane like Ash pronounces it)
  • A: Two words that I’ll make three: Car. Pool. Lane.! (Anyone else out there pronounce the “HOV” like you’re saying “hovercraft”? No? Bueller?) I bet Travis has more relational/interpersonal benefits that he’ll list for you, he’s very sentimental like that.

CYWB: Do you have any special routines that are part of the trip that you can share? 

 

  • T: My routine is to make sure that we can get out the door in a timely manner.  I see varying results.  Other than that, we listen to the radio and have conversations about our days ahead.
  • A: Travis and I like to play a game in the morning where he desperately tries to get us out the door so that we’re on time for work, while I sleepily try to thwart all his plans, pulling the covers over my face and demanding coffee. This counts as a routine, right?

CYWB:  Was there anything surprising that you discovered about carpooling?  Either about the trip itself or about each other?

 

  • T: I think the surprising part was how much easier it is that I thought.  We share the one car between the two of us and I thought it would be really challenging just owning one car, but it has been a pleasant surprise in just how easy and simple it has made things.
  • A: In addition to what Travis has already said, I’m also really thankful for the ways it’s taught us to be more mindful of ourselves and of one another as a couple. Our jobs can be pretty demanding, and before Travis and I shared a car, there would be nights I’d stay in my office until traffic had all but cleared on the highways (which, if you live here, you know that’s LATE). It’s much easier to ignore self-care and healthy work-life boundaries when there’s no one to account to. However, now that we ride together, it’s easier to recognize those boundaries and fight to preserve them. At the end of the day, it’s not just about my rest but his as well. Our responsibility for one another helps recalibrate the work-life balance that so many people in our over-worked, under-rested society struggle to maintain.

CYWB:  Who is the driver and who is the passenger? How do you decide who drives?

  • T: Ashley is the driver on the way to work and I am the driver on the way home.  We sort of decided to split it up that way because we didn’t want any one of us to drive often. Also, Ashley has a false sense of her ability to drive while not spilling her coffee…..  I usually have the napkins handy.
  • A: I’m the driver in the morning because I know how to drive with a full mug of coffee without spilling it on myself (most of the time).

CYWB:  How do you recommend that someone get started finding a carpool or rideshare to work?

  • T: I would recommend that someone who is interested to check out the Waze Carpool app and Scoop.  Another way would be to ask around with people in your building or neighbors.  [Editor’s note: check out several different programs and tools to help you find a ridematch on our Apps & Technology page!]
  • A: I would say start where you live and work – you may be surprised how many people share your route or at least overlap with it! If that doesn’t work, I’m sure there’s an app (or twenty) that can link you with folks in your area who’d like to enjoy the HOV(er) lane as much as I do!

Thanks you two–we’ll check in again later to see how things are going!

To our readers: If you’re interested in carpooling or vanpooling, be sure to enter your ridematch information in the regional RideshareOnline system so you can find others commuting in your direction, and they can find you! Check out our infographic on how to enter your ridematch trip information in RSO. For other ridesharing tips and to learn about other tools such as iCarpool, Scoop and Waze,” check out our Share the Ride page.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Tim

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 11:20 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

As part of East Link light rail construction, the Rainier Freeway station at I-90 will be closed starting Sept. 22 2018.  It will reopen as Judkins Park Link Station in 2023.  This may have a major impact on Bellevue residents, visitors and employees who use the Rainier Freeway Station.  Read on the find out how this may affect Bellevue readers, and what you need to know to change your travel plans if you are affected:

Most bus routes that currently serve the Rainier Freeway Station, like Route 550, will bypass the area, but Routes 554, 217, and select Route 212 trips will serve new stops on Rainier Avenue South and S Charles St. The transit-only roadway that connects the Rainier Freeway Station to Downtown Seattle will also close, leading to modest increases in travel time.

 

Route 550:

Route 550 will no longer stop at Rainier Avenue South due to the closure of the Rainier Freeway Station. 550 buses will continue to access all normal Downtown Seattle stops (International District, Pioneer Square, University Street,Westlake). This route also will not use the transit-only roadway on I-90 to get downtown. It will proceed on the I-90 mainline into Downtown Seattle.

For Bellevue Route 550 Riders:

  • If you stop at Rainier Avenue: Route 550 will no longer stop at Rainier Avenue South. To access the Rainier Valley, you may take Route 550 to North Mercer Wayand 80th Avenue SE (Mercer Island Park and Ride) and transfer to Route 554. You may also ride the 550 to the International District Station and transfer to a Rainier Valley bound service such as Link or Route 7 or 106.
  • If you ride between Bellevue and Downtown Seattle or other parts of the Eastside your stops will not change, but expect slightly longer travel times.

Route 554:

While route 550 will bypass the area, Route 554 will exit I-90 at Rainier Avenue South and access downtown Seattle via South Dearborn Street, including new stops at Rainier Avenue South and South Charles Street.

Bellevue-Eastgate Route 554 riders:

  • If you get on or off the bus at Rainier Avenue: Route 554 will serve a pair of bus stops at Rainier Avenue South and South Charles Street all day, every day, and will continue to serve the Eastgate Freeway Station. The 212 and 217 will also continue to go from Rainier Avenue to the Eastgate Park & Ride in the mornings, and fromEastgate to Rainier Avenue in the afternoons. Routes 216, 218, and 219 will no longer serve Rainier Avenue.
  • If you travel to Eastgate on this route from Downtown Seattle: Route 554 will pick up riders at existing stops along 2nd Avenue and a new stop at 2nd Ave Extension South and Yesler Way in Downtown Seattle, making similar stops as today.
  • If you travel to Downtown Seattle on this route from Eastgate: Route 554 will drop off riders on the eastside of 4th Avenue in Downtown Seattle.
  • If you travel within the Eastside: your route will not change.

Going eastbound, Route 554’s last stop in downtown Seattle will move to Second Avenue Extension South and Yesler Way from Fifth Avenue South and South Jackson Street. The nine King County Metro routes that serve I-90 will also change.  View those changes by visiting the King County Metro Service Change Page (Scroll down to Route Revisions and filter the list by “Rainier Freeway Station Closure”)

Overall, frequency will decrease slightly and trip times will be adjusted to maintain on-time performance. You can also keep up to date on the latest changes by joining Sound Transit’s Service Planning, Route 550, or Route 554 email lists.

Much of this information has been collected from the Sound Transit I-90 Services Change website.  If you have questions email us at info@cywb.org! Are you affected by the closure and need some help figuring out travel options? Submit a request for a custom Commute Inquiry and we’ll do the planning for you!

-Choose You Way Bellevue Staffer Tim

Monday, September 24th, 2018 1:51 PM | by Tim Kelley | Add a Comment

Downtown Demonstration Bikeway:

Earlier this summer, the City of Bellevue opened the Downtown Demonstration Bikeway along 108th Avenue Northeast from Main Street to Northeast 12th Street. This almost one-mile-long corridor features bike facilities on both sides of 108th Avenue Northeast and provides a safer and more comfortable option than riding in the main travel lanes for people who bike in Bellevue’s busiest neighborhood.

The bike lanes feature painted buffer areas, curb and post dividers, and planter boxes to separate people bicycling from vehicle traffic. Green pavement markings highlight turn lanes, driveways, and other places where people bicycling and driving may cross paths. View the Downtown Demonstration Bikeway Brochure for an overview and block-by-block detail of the infrastructure used in the design.

The bikeway officially opened on Tuesday, July 31 with a Grand Opening Celebration that included speakers from the City of Bellevue, the Bellevue Downtown Association, HNTB, and King County Metro. More than 400 interested residents and employees came out to celebrate with community partners from all over the Eastside.

Watch the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony video from Bellevue Television below:

Bike Share Launches in Bellevue:

Bike share officially launched in Bellevue on the same day with fifty bikes and free helmets for people who attended the celebration event. The system has already grown to nearly two hundred bikes available across town, and up to four hundred are currently allowed under the City’s rules. The City of Bellevue does not own or operate the system, but it regulates how private companies can use public streets and sidewalks to provide bike share services. Lime is the only permitted vendor under a pilot program that will last one year and will be evaluated over the coming months. Lime uses free-floating “dockless” bikes like those available in Seattle since summer 2017.

One unique feature to Bellevue’s pilot is that all bicycles are electric-assist, or e-bikes. While slightly more expensive per ride than normal bikes, e-bikes provide a boost while pedaling to help overcome hills and make the service easier to use for more people.

To help combat sidewalk clutter, the city has designated preferred parking areas, called “bike hubs,” conveniently located along sidewalks around Downtown. The hubs are painted areas that encourage riders to park in places that are out of the way to help keep sidewalks clear for people walking. More bike hubs are coming soon to Downtown and other neighborhoods, including Factoria and Crossroads.

Do you have general questions about bike share (What is it? How do you use it? How much does it cost?) or even more technical questions (Where can I park it? Steps to report an issue)? Then check out the very helpful Bike Share Frequently Asked Questions page.

With the downtown bikeway opening, bike share launch, and a number of Transportation Levy Projects focused specifically on improving bicycle facilities, 2018 is truly shaping up as the “Year of the Bicycle” in Bellevue. See you in the bike lanes!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Tim

Friday, August 24th, 2018 10:10 AM | by Tim Kelley | Add a Comment

By David Grant, Transportation Public Information Officer  (Reprinted from City of Bellevue publication It’s Your City, June 2018”)

With a boost from the 2016 voter-approved Neighborhood Safety, Connectivity and Congestion Levy, 2018 is shaping up as Bellevue’s year of the bike.

Crews will add about 19 miles of new bike lanes citywide, compared with 8.5 miles last year and 2.6 miles in 2016. In addition, several regional projects are providing new links to neighboring cities. Here are some highlights:

Regional trail network

In May, the state Department of Transportation hosted a celebration for the State Route 520 Trail, which opened last December. Through May 13 this year, more than 70,000 bicyclists and pedestrians crossed the floating bridge on the new east-west regional connection.

Plans call for King County in late June to officially open 2.7 miles of pedestrian-bicycle trail in Bellevue, part of the Eastside Rail Corridor that stretches from Renton north to Woodinville. On the city’s south end, the interim gravel trail runs between the Renton border and Newcastle Beach Park; on the north end, the segment runs between the Kirkland border and the BelRed area.

Later this year, work is expected to start on $17.5 million worth of improvements to fill a gap in the Mountains to Sound Greenway along Interstate 90 in Bellevue, another east-west regional trail.

Downtown bike projects

A demonstration bikeway will be installed on 108th Avenue Northeast, from Northeast 12th Street to Main Street. It will be the first pair of bike lanes that run the length of downtown. The levy funded project is expected to be completed in early July.

Other downtown-area improvements to the bicycle network include another levy project to improve bicycling on 108th Avenue Northeast, from Northeast 12th to 24th street, as well as projects on: 108th Avenue Southeast, Main Street to Bellevue Way; 112th Avenue Northeast, from Northeast 12th Street to the Kirkland border; and 112th Avenue Northeast, from Northeast Eighth to 10th Street.

Citywide bike share system

People already are pedaling green, orange and yellow bicycles to Bellevue but this summer, the city will unveil a pilot permit system for regulating private bike share companies that want to operate in Bellevue.

The new right of way permits will require bike share companies to provide electric bikes only, limit the number of bikes to a total of 400 to start and place restrictions on where the bikes can be left.

Eastgate projects

A slew of improvements this year will focus on the Eastgate area. Several bike lanes will be created through simple, inexpensive restriping to be completed as part of the city’s annual overlay program. Here’s the rundown: Southeast 38th Street, from the I-90 Overpass to 154th Avenue Southeast; and Southeast 38th Street, from the 14700 block to Allen Road (Levy project).

In addition: Eastgate Way, Richards Road to 160th Avenue Southeast; Newport Way Southeast near 150th Avenue Southeast; 139th Avenue Southeast, from Eastgate Way to Kamber Road (Levy project); and 142nd Avenue Southeast, from Southeast 36th to 32nd street (also a Levy project).

In the Lake Hills neighborhood, crews will improve 156th Avenue Southeast, from Southeast 22nd Street to Lake Hills Boulevard.

Editor’s Note:  Join the City of Bellevue and Choose Your Way Bellevue to celebrate the opening of the 108th Demonstration Bikeway project on Tuesday, July 31 from 11:30am – 1:30pm.  See the Event Flyer for more details.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018 2:19 PM | by Tim Kelley | Add a Comment

Fireworks Show

Downtown Bellevue is thrilled to welcome you and your family for our Four on the 4th Dog Jog & Walk and Bellevue Family 4th events!  Getting around may be a challenge especially if you’re driving.  Below are some tips and tricks for beating the crowds and making your commute in an easy one! Just looking for a map? Click here.

Read on about directions and parking for the Dog Jog and Family 4th.

 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.
  • 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.

Be Aware

  • Westbound Northeast First Street will be closed between 100th and 102nd Avenue Northeast from 1 p.m. to midnight;
  • Before the fireworks, starting about 9:30 p.m., streets closed to vehicle traffic will include: Northeast Fourth Street, 100th Avenue Northeast to Bellevue Way Northeast; Northeast First Street, 100th to 103rd Avenue Northeast; and 100th Avenue Northeast, Northeast First to Northeast Fifth Street;
  • After the fireworks, restrictions will include: right turns prohibited from northbound 100th Avenue Northeast to Northeast Eighth Street, and from eastbound Northeast 10th Street to all side streets between 100th Avenue Northeast and Interstate 405; access to northbound I-405 from Northeast 10th Street will be via southbound 116th Avenue Northeast, then westbound Northeast Eighth Street;
  • After the event, left turns will be prohibited from southbound Bellevue Way to eastbound Northeast Fourth Street; drivers headed to I-90 or I-405 may continue south on Bellevue Way.

BIKE

Please check the Bellevue Bike Map for information about biking in the Bellevue area. Bike racks are available throughout Downtown Bellevue; check out the downtown bike rack map to find one near the festivities.

DRIVE

We recommend carpooling to those choosing to drive to the event. Stay up to date on traffic and closures from the City of Bellevue’s website.

Read here for more information from the City of Bellevue about getting to and from the festivities.

We’ll see you there!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Tim

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018 3:45 PM | by Tim Kelley | Add a Comment

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