Choose Your Way Bellevue Blog

A South Bellevue Park & Ride Alternative Story

The South Bellevue Park-and-Ride will be closing on May 30th, 2017. We would like to provide those who are affected by this closure some ideas for exploring a new commute, provided through our fictional commuter, “Caffeinated Carey.”.

Caffeinated Carey’s New Morning Commute

Current Route – 23 min from South Bellevue Park-and-Ride to King County Courthouse in Seattle

New Route – 44 minutes from Wilburton Park-and-Ride to King County Courthouse in Seattle

Every morning, I wake up, grab my cup of coffee and hop into my car to start my morning commute to the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. This park-and-ride is usually full, but I can normally find parking if I get there before 8:30 a.m. A few weeks ago, a sign was posted alerting bus commuters that it was going to close for at least five years due to construction of the new East Link light rail station. I was slightly comforted in knowing that the future South Bellevue Station will include bus and paratransit transfer facilities and a 1,500-stall parking garage (almost 1,000 more than current stalls). But all I could think about was what about how my current commute was going to change during those five years.

I figured now is as good a time as any to try my new commute so I could be prepared for the closure when it happens.

I started researching the new park-and-ride lots Sound Transit has secured, as well as those park-and-rides with existing capacity, to help with the displacement of cars from the lot.

Sound Transit’s resources include a web page about the closure and their East Link Replacement Parking Interactive Map.  I located the nearest park-and-ride to me on the interactive map, the Wilburton Park-and-Ride, which is only an additional five-minute drive from the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. This trip did require a transfer, but according to Google Maps, it looked like the best option.

The following morning, I packed everything a few minutes earlier and headed to the new station to catch the 8:04 a.m. King Country Metro 240. Parking was relatively easy, though I made a note to remember the parking lot is much smaller than the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. I walked about 5 minutes to SE 8th St & 118th Ave SE. I wanted to make sure I head I got on the quickest route, so I used my One Bus Away app that showed me arrival times of neighboring stations and bus stops. This bus then dropped me off a few minutes later at the Eastgate Park-and-Ride where I walked I caught route King Country Metro 212 dropped me off about two blocks away from my destination, and in less than five minutes I was at the Courthouse. Heading back home I had a few options, but I found that taking the Sound Transit 550 gets me faster to Bellevue in the evenings. I exited at the Bellevue Transit Center, and caught the King County Metro 246, or King County Metro 240, whichever came first since both buses travel to the Wilburton Park-and-Ride.

For now, this is a good substitution while I wait for the light rail to come across to the Eastside; and I still have time to grab my morning triple shot latte on ice before jumping on the bus!

-Sincerely, Caffeinated Carey

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To those who can relate to Caffeinated Carey’s story due to the closure of South Bellevue and Park-and-Ride, Choose Your Way Bellevue is here to assist with making the transition to your new commute an easier one. The 550, 555, and 556, 241 and 249 will continue to serve Bellevue Way in front of the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride when it closes. There will not be a park-and-ride in that vicinity; however, I would encourage you to plan ahead and look for an alternative park-and-ride that may work for you. (Note that you may need to transfer buses from your alternative lot in order to get where you need to go.) Or, try sharing the ride!

In fact, your new route may turn out to be faster than your old one. Recently, a commuter discovered that parking at the Newport Hills Park-and-Ride and taking the King County Metro Route 111 was 15 minutes faster than her current commute parking at the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride and taking the Sound Transit 550!

Try checking for a new route from home, rather than the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride; you may be surprised what you find! Some other helpful resources for planning your route include:

If you are having trouble figuring out your new commute, we are here to help! You may request Choose Your Way Bellevue custom commute assistance at any time.

Stay tuned to our blog for more examples in the future of how people are adjusting their commutes regarding the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride closure.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Sandee

 

Thursday, May 4th, 2017 4:23 PM | by Sandee Ditt | Add a Comment

Learn more about these events and biking in Bellevue.

 

 

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 10:32 AM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

Earth Day is Saturday, April 22, like most American’s you might be struggling to find what more you can do to help the environment. You’ve might have started by getting a compost bin to start that garden mulch from your kitchen scraps. Maybe even buying more items that can be recycled and not thrown away. You’re also about 99% sure that every light bulb in your house is energy efficient (except for maybe that bathroom one) and you’ve bought extra blankets so you can keep that thermostat low. What else can you do? One overlooked way, which might be considered a pioneering discovery for those that have tried it and love it, and is yet the most effective way to help protect the earth and reduce global warming, is to try an alternative commute mode to driving alone.

Declaring June Ride Transit Month, Transportation Choices Coalition and other community partners along with bus drivers and riders will be encouraging people to ride public transit during the month of June to help cut individual costs, protect the environment and curb pollution.

Reduces greenhouse gas emissions

With traffic congestion getting worse in cities across the country, cars and light trucks now account for about 30 percent of air pollution nationwide. The average urban commuter is said to waste about 42 hours a year stuck in traffic. That’s an additional 42 hours of a mobile office, free of interruption, time spent watching your favorite show, catching up on that book you’ve been meaning to read, or even some extra shut eye (since we all know everyone could use some more of that).

Immediate saving activity

Switching to public transportation offers an immediate alternative for individuals seeking to reduce their energy use and carbon footprints. The annual savings for an individual who switches to taking public transportation, on average, is more than $812 per month. Switching to transit is easily the most effective thing you can do to fight climate change and place more money and time in your pocket.

Students and families

For every mile not driven, approximately one pound of carbon dioxide is not emitted into the atmosphere. You can create your own “Act of Green” through personal action like:

  • Walking to school one day the week of April 22
  • Biking with another family
  • Carpooling with another family

Logging your trips on Choose Your Way Bellevue will help you keep track of your carbon footprint and how much your saving!

So, avoid the hassle and cost of parking and try taking the bus, light rail or start a vanpool and reap the many benefits, including reducing your carbon foot print.

Post photos of your Earth Day ride on Facebook and tweet them using hashtags #CYWBtransit and #BellevueEarthDay.

– Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Sandee

Friday, April 21st, 2017 2:42 PM | by Sandee Ditt | Add a Comment

The Bike Everywhere Challenge is a fun and free competition to encourage your friends and colleagues to experience firsthand the joys and benefits of riding a bike.

REGISTER. IT’S FREE: Visit the lovetoride website and register by filling in the required information. Make sure to check the box that reflects how often you’ve ridden a bike in the last 12 months and click “NEXT”.

RIDE FOR 10 MINUTES OR MORE: In May, if you ride a bike anywhere for at least 10 minutes between May 1 and May 31, 2017, you can log your trip to be eligible for great prizes.

RECRUIT FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES: Send invites out to your coworkers and friends to form a Bike Team. Teams consist of up to 8 people, but teams of 10 are permitted if two members on the team are considered “new riders,” or riders who have only ridden a few times in the past year.

  • After you complete your registration, choose to donate or skip to the “My Profile” tab to Join a Bike Everywhere Challenge Team. On your profile below your name, you can Join an Organization or Join a Team. Click “Join a Team” – you will arrive at a page where you can choose one of three options:
  1. Start Your Own Team – set up a team with coworkers or friends
  2. Join an Existing Team – choose from a list of existing teams
  3. Skip this step – ride solo as a lone wolf
  • Create a Team: If you choose to Start Your Own Team, you will need to enter some information about your team: (Team name, Team description, Team category, Organization association, Team region (County). Click “Create Team.” Be sure to market the team to your colleagues and friends – this year’s competition emphasizes encouraging more participation. Teams can consist of up to ten individuals if two of them are new riders. Otherwise the team maximum size is capped at eight.

WIN GREAT PRIZES: The aim is to earn the most points by riding and getting others on your team to ride during Bike Month (May 1 – 31). 2017 prizes will be posted to the Bike Everywhere Challenge webpage. Point scoring is as follows:

  • 1 mile = 1 point
  • 1 day = 20 points
  • 1 existing rider = 50 points
  • 1 new rider = 200 points

Happy Riding!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Jacob

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 9:50 AM | by admin | Add a Comment

Mariners opening day is fast approaching and now that I’m working in Bellevue, I wanted to get a jump start on my commute to the night games. I started by weighing my advantages and disadvantages of driving to the game. Dealing with rush hour traffic AND game day traffic sounded dreadful. I decided to test out my game day route when I came across some Sounders tickets. I jumped on Google Maps, adjusted the “arrive by” time, and saw the 550 from Bellevue Transit Center would get me to the game by 7:00 p.m. Along the way, I was surprised to see so many fans boarding the bus in Bellevue.

Mercer Island Park ‘n’Ride Sounder fans boarding the bus.

Most of the major transit hubs like Mercer Island Park and Ride have open spots after 5 p.m. Getting on and jumping off with the rest of the Sounder’s crowd was great, and getting dropped off 8 minutes from the stadium was even better. Not only did I arrive in time to have a drink before heading into the stadium, I even beat the friend I was meeting who was coming from downtown Seattle!

When leaving the game, I was glad that I wasn’t one of the cars stuck at the traffic lights or dodging fans in the parking lots. Jumping on the bus and heading home was a breeze. I live in Seattle, so it was a much quicker commute from the stadium on route 5, but I witnessed many people heading to the International District/Chinatown station to catch their bus and/or train out of Seattle.

Traveling home alone on the bus after the game at 10:00 p.m. also wasn’t very intimidating as there were so many fans on the street. A nice perk of taking a Metro bus home was being able to ask the bus driver about a block in advance to stop a bit closer to my house on the normal route. Metro’s program called Night Stop that runs between 8:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m. allows you to ask a Metro driver to stop somewhere nearer your destination, if it is safe for the bus to do so. It was a nice bonus at the end of the night!

Friday, April 7th, 2017 4:58 PM | by Sandee Ditt | Add a Comment

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