Archive for December, 2013

Photo by Chad Coleman (c) 2009 Chad Coleman

Photo by Chad Coleman (c) 2009 Chad Coleman

‘Tis the Magic Season to be jolly! We hope that many of you will come to downtown Bellevue to enjoy ice skating, the festivities, lights, dining and shopping. The warm, fuzzy holiday feeling is in the air, but it’s still chilly outside making road conditions slick and icy. Pedestrian safety is also a priority this season with the increase of foot traffic due to holiday shopping.

To ensure you have a safe and fun holiday in downtown Bellevue, we would like to share a few transportation tips! Do you have a few tips of your own for getting around for shopping and events, or a holiday commuting story you’d like to share? Did anyone wear their festive holiday sweater on the bus? Does your family have a favorite place you like to go to celebrate the holidays? How do you get there? Share your story to enter to win a free skate pass to the Chaplin’s Bellevue Subaru Ice Arena! You can post a comment below, post it on our Facebook wall or send stories to DBOnTheMove@cywb.org. We’ll be drawing 10 winners on Dec. 31. Winners will be notified by Jan. 2.

Choose Your Way Bellevue and Downtown Bellevue On The Move will be at the Chaplin’s Bellevue Ice Arena brought to you by Bank of America from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 23. Visit us to enter for a chance to win $100 in Commuter Plus Bonus Vouchers, vouchers that can be used at a number of commute-related businesses such as Brown Bear Car Wash, REI, Union 76 Gas (at participating locations), and more. Three lucky commuters will receive a $10 Starbucks gift card to keep them warm or hydrated, and there will be commuter swag giveaways that are essential when you’re on the go: tote bags, lanyards and bookmarks.

If you or someone you know is trying the bus for the first time, visit us at the event to receive a free ORCA card with $6 in e-purse fare loaded on it (certain restrictions apply)!

Magic Season Commuting and Transportation Tips:

RIDE TRANSIT: More than 20 Metro and Sound Transit bus routes come through the Bellevue Transit Center in the heart of downtown. Park your car at one of the nearby park-and-ride lots, such as the South Bellevue, Eastgate, or South Kirkland Park and Ride and take a bus the rest of the way downtown for shopping and attending downtown events. Visit the online trip planners at King County Metro or Sound Transit to plan your route.

TRY THE B-LINE: Metro’s RapidRide B Line route begins at the Redmond Transit Center and ends in downtown Bellevue with stops through Overlake, Crossroads and all along NE 8th Street.

TRAVEL WITH FRIENDS: Carpooling is a great way to shave time off your trip downtown. Be sure to use the direct access ramp at NE 6th Street off of I-405, as well as the HOV lanes on I-405, I-90 and parts of SR-520.

AVOID CONGESTION: Heading to the Bellevue Collection? Save time and skip the NE 8th Street exit off of I-405. Use NE 4th Street instead. Or make a jog to NE 2nd or NE 10th to avoid backups.

PARK NEAR THE PARK: Free on-street parking is available for up to 2 hours on and around Main Street in Old Bellevue. You’ll be just steps from your favorite Old Bellevue restaurants, boutiques and ice skating!

SAFETY FIRST: With even more people out and about, please use caution when making turns, and look out for pedestrians.

Download these mobile apps to help you get around in real-time.

  • ONE BUS AWAY: Taking the bus to complete holiday shopping? Download the OneBusAway app for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone and have real-time bus arrival times at your fingertips. onebusaway.org.
  • INRIX TRAFFIC OR WSDOT: Both apps will keep you in the know on real-time traffic and travel information. Save time by avoiding the backups! inrixtraffic.com and wsdot.gov
Monday, December 23rd, 2013 9:23 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

webfall commute challenge

One of the biggest challenges of carpooling, or even vanpooling, is following a schedule. Greg and his wife show us that schedule changes are manageable.

Have you ever wanted to try carpooling or vanpooling but scheduling has made you hesitant? Carpooling even once a week can make a difference on your time and budget. Find a van to join on DB On The Move. Contrary to what you may know about vanpooling, this mode can be flexible so you don’t have to be bound to a Monday to Friday schedule. You can ride in a vanpool even once or twice a week.

Read on to see how Greg’s second week of commuting went.

This was our second week commuting to work as a family and it didn’t go as smoothly as last week. On Monday, our plans to carpool took a last second detour as our child was sick so my wife and I drove separately in order for each of us to spend some time at home with our child. *

It’s still taking a bit of additional logistics and some sacrifices to stick to our carpooling commitment. On Tuesday we had planned to meet at 4 p.m. to leave for the day.  I went down to my usual waiting spot, but my wife got stuck in a meeting that ran late, until about 4:30 p.m.  I didn’t mind the waiting, but it was just another small logistical glitch for us.  On the bright side for Tuesday, we decided to go to Costco on the way home from work.  I-405 north had really bad traffic, but we were able to use the carpool lanes all the way up which saved us a ton of time getting there!  All-in-all we’re still enjoying carpooling.

–Greg

*Editor’s Note: Check with your employer to see if there is an Emergency Ride Home program available to employees. The Emergency Ride Home program allows for an employee to be reimbursed for a taxi ride if an emergency, such as leaving work to tend to a sick family member, may occur.

Friday, December 13th, 2013 5:01 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

webfall commute challenge

There’s an app for just about anything, but transit and traffic apps are especially helpful for the common commuter. These apps give us updates on bus schedules or traffic delays and they allow for us to plan ahead. Commute Challenger, Crystal shares her experience with using One Bus Away.

Kind of crazy that my first journal entry was chosen for the blog, however I’m glad that I could share my Fall Commute Challenge motivation with others and maybe even inspire someone else to consider a new mode of transportation. Here’s a recap of my second week of commuting:

Monday, Nov. 11, I took the bus both ways, well almost. My husband has still been wonderful about dropping me off in the mornings at my stop in the University District so that I only have to take one bus in the mornings. When I returned to the U in the evening I quickly realized that Veteran’s Day might be affecting the bus schedule, as there were only about a third of the commuters typically waiting for their transfers.

Since moving from Florida and hearing about the One Bus Away app I’ve used it to get around town and check bus times. It’s really great and not everyone knows about it (I try to spread the word when I can). Sometimes it’s a blessing, sometimes it’s a curse. On the one hand you can locate bus routes, check times to see when your bus is scheduled to arrive, if it’s running late, etc. On the other hand you can also see that you juuuuuust missed your transfer and will be waiting another 15 minutes until the next one shows up. Most of the time it’s pretty much right on track*, but there have been a couple of times when I’m standing at a bus stop and it says 4 buses passed my stop when they actually never showed up. I am still not up on the way the app actually works but it has been both a lifesaver and a frustration maker.

I checked the buses on One Bus Away and there were no Route 70 buses scheduled to show up for another 30 minutes. I thought that it just might be one of those days when it never shows up at all so I decided to walk to the 66 stop on the University Bridge. I arrived at the 66 stop and there was one guy waiting. One Bus Away said I had just missed it by five minutes and the next would arrive in about 15 minutes so I decided to keep walking home to Eastlake. It’s not a bad walk (1.7 miles from the University District stop) and it was nice and cool out. I dialed my mom and started chatting as I walked my way home. Just as I crossed the bridge I saw the 66 and the 70 bus passing me. BAH! One Bus Away tricked me again. As much as it can make me crazy it is a helpful tool. My husband had offered to pick me up on his way home but I just enjoyed the rest of the walk and caught up with my mom on the phone.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were pretty uneventful. All included roundtrip bus rides and lots of reading. Since starting my personal commute challenge I have been reading a lot more. I really enjoy reading in my spare time but often life gets busy and I find other things to occupy my time during the workweek. Now I have about an hour and a half each day to read; time all to myself that I don’t have to worry about traffic, filling up my car with gas, and all the other stressors that come along with commuting.  All in all I am pleased with how things are turning out and the best part, it’s been free to try. THANKS DOWNTOWN BELLEVUE ON THE MOVE!

Somehow I’ve managed to write too much again so I’ll save my Friday experience for journal entry 3.

–Crystal

*Editor’s Note: One Bus Away in the Puget Sound region receives time predictions from GPS-based tracking systems (King County Metro) or they are based on schedule data that is provided by the transit agency so a few delays may occur. If you have experienced issues with the application feel free to send feedback to onebusaway@soundtransit.org.

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 9:42 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

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