Archive for September, 2013

Recently some of our staff thought it would be fun to explore different areas we can reach from downtown Bellevue by bus. This started as an interesting way to spend our lunch hour and explore routes we hadn’t taken before but is now evolving into a regular blog post about ways you can leave your car behind without missing out on anything.

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We started out with Kirkland because it’s nearby and easy to get to – plus, a couple of the newbies on the DBOTM team had never been to downtown Kirkland before.

We hopped on Metro’s Route 235, which, along with the 234, leaves the Bellevue Transit Center approximately every 15 minutes during the day. It took us about 25 minutes to get to our destination – the Kirkland Transit Center. This transit center is a very short walk from downtown Kirkland and all it has to offer.

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We planned this outing around lunch time which was perfect because there are many restaurants right near the transit center on Central Way and Park Lane. We ate at a Thai restaurant and it was delicious. If the weather had cooperated more we would have eaten our food at Marina Park, which is less than 10 minutes from the transit center. Marina Park is even home to outdoor concerts in the summer and events year-round.

After lunch, we window-shopped along Park Lane on our way back to the transit center. All in all, it was a bit longer than a typical lunch hour, but it was so easy getting there and back.

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Now that we know that downtown Kirkland is just a short ride away, we can grab lunch after a meeting nearby, meet friends after work for happy hour or just explore the fun shops and stores throughout downtown. And we can do this all stress-free, without driving or sitting in traffic on I-405 because the 234 and 235 both take back roads into Kirkland.

We also got a chance to see the brand new parking structure a the South Kirkland Park and Ride. It looks great! Anyone used it yet?

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Where have you explored recently by bus? Where should we go next?

Thursday, September 26th, 2013 9:55 AM | by admin | Add a Comment

Ever wonder who is behind the Choose Your Way Bellevue Blog and the Downtown Bellevue On The Move Network? Well, today is your lucky day. The Connect Downtown Partnership is responsible for both of these programs. The Partnership is made up of staff from the City of Bellevue, King County Metro and TransManage.

Alissa
TransManage
Social Media and Web Coordinator

What I do: I’m behind our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter and I also update our blog and website.

How I get there: I started riding the bus to work for my first job out of college when I was commuting from downtown Bellevue into Seattle. Even though my commute would have been shorter if I drove myself, I chose to ride the bus because reading a book on the bus was a lot more relaxing than sitting in traffic. I now commute from Redmond to downtown Bellevue and still have a shorter commute if I drove alone, but the stress of rush hour isn’t worth it to me. If I’m in the middle of a great book, I take Metro’s B-Line winding my way through Redmond and Bellevue while reading a few chapters. If I’m in a rush I can drive to the Overlake Transit Center and catch the 566 which gets me to downtown Bellevue in about 15 minutes.

Allison
TransManage
DBOTM Member Deals Coordinator

What I do: I find new companies to join our new Downtown Bellevue On The Move Member Deals Pilot Program.

How I get there: I enjoy beginning each work day by hopping on the bus near Green Lake with my iPod and coffee in hand and commuting to downtown Bellevue. When I moved to Seattle for school I didn’t have a car so I got used to riding the bus and carpooling. When I began working in Bellevue I didn’t even think about driving, my first thought was which bus do I need to take. My commute allows me to relax, recharge and save some cash. If I had to sit in traffic every day I would probably be pretty cranky by the time I got to work.

Augusta
TransManage
Program Manager

What I do: I oversee the TransManage team and make sure we’re continuing to provide a great program to downtown Bellevue residents and employees. I also work closely with businesses in downtown Bellevue to improve their employees’ commutes.

How I get there: I love my walk to work; getting my heart pumping and some fresh air before sitting down at my desk for the morning is a great way to start off my day. When I walk I get a chance to window shop; I look for familiar faces and I get the opportunity to notice interesting details of the neighborhood that I just wouldn’t notice if I were focused on driving. My favorite route takes me through a park and past interesting stores and sometimes I even make it down the road faster than some of the cars who are stuck in traffic! Walking is the best start and finish to my day, and I love that I can go weeks without driving my car, saving money all the while.

Clare
King County Metro
Rideshare Operations Planner

What I do: I use vanpool, vanshare, carpool and RideshareOnline.com programs to show commuters how to create personalized, non-drive alone commutes to fit their work/life demands and save a ton of money.

How I get there: I started commuting on trains and buses at the age of 12.  Now I am full-time bus rider.  The bus gets me to work reliably and removes the tense, running-late, frustrated-by-stupid-traffic commuter that I would be if I drove alone.

Debbie
King County Metro
Program/Project Manager
King County Commute Trip Reduction Representative

What I do: Represent Metro as a transportation resource for both large employers and smaller businesses in Bellevue who are seeking commute alternatives for their employees, and also provide staffing for employee events.

How I get there:
Riding the bus to-and-from work each day is one of my favorite times of the day.  I can read, relax, daydream, catch up on e-mails or knit.  When I was young, I rode two buses to-and-from school and learned I could finish my homework while making the long trip and be free to do other things when I got home.  That lesson was a good one that still applies to me today.  And, it is one that I hope more people will pass on to their young.  Teach them that taking the bus is a great alternative to driving a car.

Geri
TransManage
Member and Incentives Coordinator

What I do:As the newest member of the team, I just started managing our incentives program. You’ve probably had an email or two from me if you’ve earned your Get Started reward recently.

How I get there: When I planned my move from Bellingham to Renton, I made sure that my new place was close to a transit center or bus line. Riding the bus is important to me because I care about how I treat the environment and I want to save money. I’d also much rather relax on a bus ride for 30 minutes, rather than sitting in traffic. I carpool with my boyfriend to the Renton Transit Center and then take the 566 Sound Transit Express to the Bellevue Transit Center. The bus comes frequently so I’m not worried if I miss a bus. If I drove myself to work, I’d be spending more than $200 on gas a month when now I spend half that!

Kate
City of Bellevue
Transportation Planner

What I do: I manage the Choose Your Way Bellevue and Downtown Bellevue On The Move programs for the City of Bellevue, in partnership with King County Metro and TransManage. These programs inform the public about transportation options and help ease the way for getting around by transit, carpool, vanpool, walking and biking.

How I get there: After growing up in Bellevue and riding the bus a lot as a kid, I feel fortunate to work here as a transportation planner making it easier for people to get around without driving alone. In the past I have settled on a year-round combined bicycle and bus commute on most days and keep my attire simple with a rubber band around my pants leg (plus helmet, lights and reflective gear). However, I recently joined a vanpool and it’s quite a bit faster than the bus. The only drawback is that it is too close to my home – only one mile from my home, so on most days I take a roundabout bike ride home from my van drop-off point to get more exercise.

Pamela
King County Metro
Employer Transportation Representative

What I Do: Represent Metro as a transportation resource for both large employers and smaller businesses in Bellevue who are seeking commute alternatives for their employees, and also provide staffing for employee events.

How I Get There: I have a Metro bus stop at the end of my block near the end of the #7 line, and my employer provides me a free pass.  On days when I’m not riding my bike to work, I can either hop on the #7 or I can get a lift to the light rail station at Henderson & MLK Blvd.  Taking the bus or rail provides me time to read, check email/texts or send messages.  (I don’t make phone calls because I think most folks prefer a quiet commute)  When I ride my bike to work, I have the option of cruising along Lake Washington Blvd. (relatively flat) to the I-90 tunnel, or taking the Chief Sealth Trail over Beacon Hill which is quite hilly and gives me a good work out.  People may not realize they have options to driving alone, and unless you try at least one of those, you won’t experience the benefits of doing it differently.  Bus it, bike it, try it, you’ll like it!

Monday, September 16th, 2013 10:00 AM | by admin | Add a Comment

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Brandon is one of our challengers that decided to ride the bus and carpool. Brandon shows us how fun carpooling with a friend can be. Whether it’s jamming to music or getting to know each other (and yourself) carpool is one way to beat the commuting blues!

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The Carpool Chronicles: Started off the month of August with a fresh, new exciting way; it has been quite eventful believe it or not. I would leave my house with my co-worker and friend (Adriana) the first couple of days. I never knew how much fun, exciting and intriguing our rides were going to be. I have learned a lot about myself and my budget (HA) while carpooling. I am prepared for this challenge and what it has to uphold. LET’S DO IT!

August 8-It’s Monday morning. Adriana and I are prepared to take on the week.The day starts off a little gloomy (weather that is) but during our commute we blasted Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Trey Songz “Two Reason” as we were going down I-405. That is how you start it right when carpooling with cool people!

August 28- Rainy and gloomy Wednesday. I was late getting up this morning and the traffic from my house to the Renton Transit Center was AWFUL!!!!!!!!!!!! On top of that I arrived at the transit center and there was this very looooooooooooong line patiently awaiting the 566. I quickly forgot how busy and popular the 566 is heading to Bellevue. Lesson learned: GET UP ON TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 3- It’s Wednesday, weekend after Labor Day and school are officially in session (at least a lot of the eastside schools are). Traffic of course is horrific but I am so glad that my carpool buddy Adriana was willing to drive. This carpooling stuff is not a bad idea after all.

Brandon

Friday, September 13th, 2013 9:56 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

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Remember Kate? She kicked off her challenge by biking and riding the bus to work! We last heard from her when she got a new bike and got sweet lights so she can see better and be seen when riding at night! Read on to find out how the rest of her commute went!

Thursday, August 15, 2013 So Sore, Bike Repairs
Today I honestly felt like I could not go on. I am SORE! I knew I would be sore on Wednesday from my first day of riding on Tuesday, and like any intense work out, the soreness on the second day (today, Thursday) is worse. I tried fiddling around with the gears, maybe more pedaling with less resistance would be the trick. Now my gears seem to be doing some strange clicking/grinding noise. It looks like the chain is rubbing against something. It stopped when I rotated my gear shifter a little. So in addition to being sore and focusing on the road I had to exert more effort to keep my gear shifter partially rotated throughout my ride to prevent the chain from rubbing.

Friday, August 16, 2013 The Wheels on the Bus
I had so much fun taking the bus to work today. The bus stop is about a half mile walk from my house. This morning my husband dropped me off at the bus stop. Lucky girl! While I was waiting for the bus somebody ran by on their morning jog. I gave them a high five for encouragement, they chuckled. It was fun. On the bus I started chatting with this girl about how awesome the King County Library System is. While we were chatting I wasn’t paying much attention to the stops. This is a new route for me and I suddenly realized we were getting close to my work, so I hopped up and got off the bus. As it turns out I got off a stop too early. That turned out to be a happy mistake since I ran into a coworker walking to work.

On the way home I got to see a building my company designed. I think it looks pretty slick. I am proud of the work they do, so I grabbed my phone and took a picture. Riding the bus is awesome because you can snap photos without the need to keep your eyes on the road, like in a car.

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Monday, August 19, 2013 Uphill Both Ways
Okay, so the joke about old people is how they always exaggerate that they had to walk to school uphill both ways (barefoot, in the snow, you know the story)
I finally get it.
There is a peak in my commute. I spend part of each commute struggling uphill, and part of it coasting downhill. Guess which part is more fun?
All I have to say is: I am really glad there are showers in my office building!

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It takes a bit of preparation to ride my bike in to work. I need to pack my breakfast and lunch the night before, get my office clothes packed and my workout clothes laid out for my ride in. I also have to take shower supplies, a towel and flippy floppies. Fortunately I inherited a great backpack that fits all this and it has hip and chest straps. I find those quite useful for holding the bag to my body while I ride.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 Rode the Bus, Again
I rode the bus again today; it wasn’t quite as fun as last week. You might think it’s crazy to give high fives to strangers running past you, but it’s not as odd as it sounds. Most people are quite receptive to it and you will both feel better for it. It is a mini pick-me-up. That being said, I know my high fives might get left hanging every now again, like today. I tried to high five a lady who jogged past. She wasn’t feelin’ the good vibes. The bus was full of people on their smartphones. Hum-drum commute, I plan on biking for the rest of the week.
Since I only live 4 miles away from home it is not really efficient for me to take the bus. I would have a shorter commute and spend less money on gas if I drove myself, instead of a $2.25-$2.50 bus fare. Biking may take longer than riding the bus, but it is free and I get exercise too. The bus is the option I have to choose if I oversleep or need to take something large or heavy to or from work.
I have heard that it is dangerous to ride with headphones on because you need to hear the traffic, I wonder if there is some way to mount my ipod to my frame… it would be fun to have some tunes to boost my energy while pedaling up hills! (I Googled “bike safety for adults” and NHTSA.gov had an informative PDF to read.)

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I took this snapshot while I was riding the bus this morning. This is the building I work in. I love being able to capture moments on my ride in to work,

Friday, September 6th, 2013 4:08 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

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Commute Challenger Cheryl decided she wanted to try to take the bus from Kirkland to Downtown Bellevue. She has found that commuting via alternative mode is not for her, due to her relatively short commute by car. Even though she won’t continue to take the bus, she has learned new routes that are faster to take thanks to her experience.

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August 5 – 9, 2013 – Week 1 – Bus commute between Kirkland & Bellevue

Nice morning for a short walk in the sun to the Kirkland Transit Center (KTC).  Not the best experience to start with – KTC is very dirty and the bus was old and musty smelling. There were many stops along the way to the Bellevue Transit Center (BTC). The bus ride home in the afternoon was in better condition but it was warm outside and there was no A/C on the bus.* Total commute time took about 30 minutes longer (including time waiting for the bus) than driving.  On the positive side, however, there was no traffic stress, the drivers were nice, commute is literally door-to-door, and I could sit back and relax!

*A metro representative notified DBOTM staff saying they are in the process of getting new buses:

“Whenever an old bus is taken out of our fleet and replaced with a new one—the new coach does come equipped with A/C.  But I don’t know how long that process will take, as Metro does tend to provide such good maintenance of their fleet that the buses have a long life. This probably explains the ‘old and musty’ comment.” – Pamela

August 12 – 16, 2013 – Week 2

I rode the bus twice this week due to other commitments after work.  I was accosted at BTC by a young man asking for money. After the news this week of a bus driver being shot in Seattle, I was pleased to see the great attitude and continued kindness of the bus drivers.

August 19 – 23, 2013 – Week 3

I rode the bus four days this week. Tuesday, Aug. 20 – See first picture of KTC below. Not a lovely start to the bus ride and it upsets me that Metro and City of Kirkland don’t take better care of this. Kirkland says it’s Metro’s responsibility but I think it should be shared, especially with City of Kirkland workers out and about early in the morning. Once on the bus, however, the scenery is beautiful, especially on a nice day (see second picture of the lake from the bus below). I received an email back from Metro – they say the Kirkland Transit Center is Sound Transit’s responsibility. The response from the City Manager of Kirkland says they will work with Metro. On Friday morning, it’s still not cleaned. I will continue to try to bring attention to the need for some agency to take responsibility.*

Cheryl JOnes Kirkland Transit Center 8-20-13

Cheryl JonesNice view from the bus

*Status as of 9/4/13: City of Bellevue staff determined that Metro is responsible for cleaning this particular shelter at the Kirkland Transit Center. After initial delay due to the complexity of ownership among transit agencies at this location, Sound Transit helped by contacting Metro to alert them of the need. The city followed up with Metro and learned that Metro staff have put in a work order for this shelter to be cleaned. Thank you, Cheryl, for alerting transit agencies of this maintenance need.

August 26 – 30, 2013 – Week 4

I rode the bus four days this week.  Monday, Aug. 26 – First rain since I’ve been riding the bus. I should listen to the weather report and plan ahead, which I did not, and ended up walking home from the bus stop in the rain. Tuesday, Aug, 27 – A beautiful huge rainbow arched over Kirkland this morning but my cell phone was dead, so I couldn’t take a picture.  Things you see from the bus are very different than things you see from your car while driving.  I would recommend everyone take some bus rides around their town – you’ll see things you never noticed before.

All in all this has been a good experience. I’ve learned a new, less crowded route to and from work.  The Metro bus drivers are friendly and helpful. The buses between home and work run every 15 to 20 minutes so it’s pretty convenient.  Savings calculated on the Downtown Bellevue On The Move network showed I saved $17, 3 gallons gas, 47 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, and I did 24 trips of not driving alone.  Since my commute is pretty short (less than five miles) I think the greenest thing about taking the bus is just one less car on the road and less emissions. I’ve enjoyed sitting back and relaxing, looking at the scenery and not having to be concerned about the traffic and the other crazy drivers.

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013 3:31 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

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