Archive for October, 2014

CYWB Program Manager Augusta DeVries shares insight on her big move and how it affected her commute. Check out what she had to say:


Lots of factorsMoving tracking trips make the priority list when it comes to moving: cost of housing, distance to work, neighborhood amenities, school systems and general affordability. Whether you rent or own, the cost of living and the quality of life can sometimes seem to be at odds. Or are they?

I recently experienced a life change that moved me across the Eastside, a bit farther from work but still close enough that I could take transit. I had to split the distance between my work and my husband’s, without making either of our commutes unbearable. When we were looking for housing, I made it a priority to be on a frequent transit network so I would have the option to take the bus into work. I utilized a tool called Walk Score to evaluate some of our favorite spots to see what amenities were nearby and also utilized the King County Metro Trip Planner to see what my commute by bus would look like. Compared to my old 25 minute walking commute, my commute time would still only be about 25 minutes. Because my employer pays for my transit pass, I am able to chalk up my daily commute to a few calories burned, rather than $5.40 on gas and maintenance that I would have paid if I drove (not to mention the cost of parking).

Taking transit could save you money every month, too. In August the American Public Transportation Association released its Transit Savings Report which shows that the Seattle-area transit riders save about $12,000 a year. That is an extra $1,000 per month that you could spend on housing, recreation or savings! If you walked, biked or if your employer provided a transit subsidy, those savings could be even higher.

Edited for blogTransit wasn’t the only commute option I was able to explore when I made the big move. I even dusted off my bike and took on that challenge earlier this summer. My bike ride and my bus ride bring me through the South Kirkland Park and Ride which conveniently has bicycle parking. If I want to combine my trips, I could bike to the park and ride, secure my bike with the easy to use bike racks and then ride the bus into work.

I am considering braving the weather and biking a bit more this winter. When the clocks fall back, I may try biking in the morning and then putting the bike on the bus on the way home. There really is more than one way to tackle this new commute! Even though I work with commutes every day, I was a newbie at the bike-on-the-bus thing and I had to test it out when I wasn’t in a rush. I boarded the bus with a friend after work and even found a route that would drop me off at the top of a hill where I could ride the bike downhill on the way home: a great option for the hotter days or the days I am just not looking for a workout. How much did this commute cost me? I did buy a backup bike tube for $8.00 but beyond that – just a few calories burned.

Somehow, throughout the process of looking for new housing, and weighing all of my options, we were able to retain a great quality of life in a vibrant neighborhood. Once I factored the cost of my non-drive-alone commute into the mix, we were able to afford much more than we thought we could.

Now I challenge you: What does it really cost to drive? If changes have occurred in your life, you’ve changed jobs, or the change in the weather has you back in the driver’s seat, try the American Public Transportation Association’s commute cost calculator to learn what it is costing you to drive, then consider how much money you could save by taking an alternative mode to work. It may be surprising how much more you could afford in housing if that money didn’t go into your car and you were able to try an alternative mode to work. And just think, if you did live closer to work, how much more time you could spend with family or on hobbies?

Next time your job or life circumstances are pushing you to move, consider your commute. It might be easy to jump on the freeway, but think about what it is costing you, in time, gas and maintenance, and let us help you make your commute the best part of your day with our customized commute concierge service.

-Augusta, of your friendly Choose Your Way Bellevue and On The Move Bellevue Staff

 

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 2:33 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

 

Facbook Graphic

This season of the Commute Challenge we dared you to try a different commute other than driving alone for one week. Commute Challenger, Cody, took it one step further by trying three difference modes in his week of the Commute Challenge. Find out which modes he tried and which mode won him over.

I normally commute by myself in my Honda Accord from Renton to Bellevue. Originally I wanted to try biking in all week but my legs were shot on Monday (I hiked Mt Si and Mailbox back to back Sat/Sun) so I decided to bus instead. I had looked into busing before but the route I had found took 3 transfers and 2 hours (each way). I tried again using Google maps* on my phone and it turns out that if I walk 2 blocks over there is a bus that goes directly to my office! It took a little longer than driving (40 minutes vs 20) but I actually found it very relaxing. I simply turned on my Pandora and browsed the web and before I knew it I had arrived. The commute home was a bit of an adventure as my company had an event downtown that got out at 10. But Google maps came through again and got me home with no issues at all. So much better than driving as there were no hassles of parking or gas or the general stress of driving somewhere new.

On Tuesday my legs were still rubber so I rode transit again and the commute went well, but the bus at the end of the day was standing room only (actually we were packed in there like sardines 🙂 which was a little uncomfortable – but not as bad as I would have thought). Wednesday I have a class up at UW in Seattle, but luckily one of my coworkers is in the same program so we carpooled to work, school, and back home. Using the HOV lanes cut a significant amount of time off just driving myself in both the commute to work and school.

On Thursday and today (Friday) my legs felt good enough so I biked in – and I think we have a winner in terms of my preferred method of commuting. The route has nice side streets and bike trails along Lake Washington (the Lake Washington loop bike trail). I felt safe and it took less time than bussing (and is even quicker than driving on days with heavy traffic). Plus I got to work feeling energized. On top of that it is environmentally friendly, great exercise and costs less than driving. I wish I had considered this earlier!

My goal is to try bike commuting year round (and I will use the bus as a fallback when necessary.) It looks like my car will be pretty lonely moving forward.

We are excited that Cody has tried out several modes to find what really suits him. If you’re considering a different way to get to work try several things and try them on the weekend before your commute. Maybe you can’t always take the bus, carpool or bike, but in a combination of all three you could start to see a savings in time and money as well as a benefit in health. Congratulations Cody on completing the challenge!

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*Google maps is a great tool to use when planning your commute. Other tools include trip planners from King County Metro and Sound Transit. You may also reach out to Choose Your Way Bellevue staff for commute or trip planning assistance here. Make sure to check transit agencies Metro for route updates or sign up for transit alerts through King County Metro or Sound Transit.

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 9:30 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

scaled down zipcar

One of the best things about commuting via bus, carpool, vanpool, bike, or walking is that you have a way to work that is easy on your budget and time. And you might be getting some exercise saving you time from going to the gym before or after work! However, meetings, appointments and emergencies are part of everyday life too, so you may need to use a car once in a while. It’s understandable, but carsharing, offered in Bellevue by Zipcar, can help get you wherever you need to go without having to drive your own car, or worry about the hassle of parking. So you can keep your green commute that you’ve grown to love and still have access to wheels when you need them. It’s a win-win for everybody.

What is Zipcar and how does carsharing work? Zipcar is a membership-based carsharing company providing automobile reservations to its members, billable by the hour or day, available to you around the world in any Zipcar city.

For example, in Downtown Bellevue, one Zipcar could be used by seven different people in one day. Those seven people could all drive to work, park in their employers’ garages and go about their individual ways at seven different times. Imagine if they all were to carshare instead: that’s six fewer cars on the road, six free parking spaces, seven people not having to look for parking and a whole lot more utility from one car! Zipcar makes it easy to see which cars are available and book in advance or on the fly.

How much does it cost? You can reserve cars by the hour or day, Gas and insurance are included in the price. Driving rates can be $8-$10 an hour, plus a one-time $25 application fee and membership fees ranging from $6 per month to $60 a year.

Right now, On The Move Bellevue participants are eligible for a special promotion: Try Zipcar for $6/ month and earn $10 in free driving credit! Apply today!

How do I get started? First, register online; you will be charged a $25 nonrefundable application fee when you apply. It takes a few minutes, and if you are approved you’ll receive a Zipcard in the mail. Once you activate your Zipcard, or three days after you’ve been approved, the membership fees will be charged to your credit card. The Zipcard is the key to your reserved car, truck or van.

How do I reserve a car? Reserving a car is simple. You can reserve online or on your phone through the Zipcar mobile app. You will be billed when you make your reservation. After setting up your reservation, go to any of the locations below and unlock the car with your Zipcard and hit the road! Make sure to return the car to the same reserved parking spot before your time is up.

Where can I pick up a Zipcar in Bellevue? Currently, the only Zipcar cars in Bellevue are in the downtown.The locations and numbers of cars are ever-evolving to meet demand. Bookmark the Zipcar website to be up to date on the latest Zipcar locations.Here are the current locations:

Key Bank Building NE 4th St. + 106th Place

Skyline Tower NE 4th St. + 110th Ave

NE 8th St. + 110th Ave

989 Elements NE 10th St. + 112th Ave NE

Have fun and be safe, Zipsters! Have a Zipcar story? Do you already combine Zipcar with your non-drive-alone commute? Send stories to info@onthemovebellevue.org.

Keep up with carshare offerings on the Choose Your Way Bellevue carshare page.

-Augusta

 

 

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 5:05 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

Choose Your Way Bellevue along with King County Metro, Zipcar and Bellevue commuters attended a TransManage event at Palomino Rustico this past September. Many commuters got together to share their commute stories and explore other options to driving alone. Zipcar explained its program and what they can offer to commuters that already take the bus, bike or share the ride to work. King County Metro Rideshare Services broke down how to start and find a vanpool to join. Choose Your Way Bellevue offered information about how to earn rewards on its network and take the Make A Change pledge.

 

The food was great, conversations were fruitful and everyone who attended left with information and resources they needed to improve their commute. A new vanpool was formed and others were one step closer! If you didn’t attend the event and you have any questions about finding a ride match feel free to call, 425-990-3097 or email info@OnTheMoveBellevue.org. BIG thank you to Palomino Rustico for accommodating us and to TransManage for producing this event!

TransManage, a transportation program provided by the BDA, services many downtown Bellevue buildings and coordinated this event.

Are you an employer or property manager and want a transportation event at your building/worksite? Contact us 425-990-3097 or info@onthemovebellevue.org.

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 4:08 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

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