Archive for November, 2015

wintercommuttipsTurning back our clocks doesn’t mean we have to turn in for the winter. Having moved to the Pacific Northwest from Michigan just this past August, I am no expert on Seattle’s gloomy winters, but I do know that we shouldn’t let the darkness and cold weather get us down! Here are a few ways to make the most of your commute during these next few months:

Get out on your lunch hour. If you get to work when it’s dark and leave when it’s dark, consider getting out of the office during lunch. For you downtown workers, grab a buddy and stroll through the Downtown Park or check out one of the many food trucks. Perhaps getting some fresh air during the day will make the ride home a little more bearable.

Be prepared for rain or chilly weather. These next few months will most likely bring wetter and colder weather. If you have an extra set of gloves, a hat, a scarf, and an umbrella or waterproof jacket at work, you will have one less thing to worry about if the weather takes a turn for the worse halfway through the day.

Walk part of the way home.  If you do not already walk or bike to work, consider incorporating a short walk to or from your place of employment. Research shows that even adding a 10 minute walk to your commute can improve psychological health and well-being[i]. You can incorporate a short walk into your regular routine by getting off the bus one or two stops earlier, depending on the distance. Make sure to dress in layers!

Embrace the darkness. If all else fails, try looking on the bright side. A dark sky is a perfect backdrop for watching part of your favorite movie, TED talk, or news clip on your bus ride home. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your show.

Do you have other tips for a happy commute? Leave them in the comments so readers can learn from your experience.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer, Danielle

[i] Health Economics Group (2014). “Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing.” University of East Anglia Norwich Medical School and the University of York Centre for Health Economics.

Monday, November 30th, 2015 10:12 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

BIKE_BUS_DSC_0305_nSometimes it is overwhelming to think about all of the travel options available in Bellevue. Sure it might seem easier to just jump in your car and head to your destination stress free. But at Choose Your Way Bellevue, we’re here to help you find an even more stress-free approach! What if we told you that bus stop that sits right across from your house goes directly into Downtown Bellevue? That book you’ve been eyeing for the last month, well now you can pick it up, relax and enjoy it on your ride into the city. Not only that, you’ll be saving yourself some serious bucks and your sanity when you avoid the congestion on the roads.

Whatever your situation, we’re here as your one-stop-shop for all of your traveling resources. Need to figure out which bus stops in your area? Or looking to find someone to fill that last seat in your car? If you’re still not sold, read on for Choose Your Way by the numbers as we break it down for you!

  • 44 bus routes serve Bellevue, which means you have options, allowing you to save money and time!
  • What about the 281 operating vanpools with 2,166 seats traveling to and from Bellevue each day?
  • 48 miles of bike lanes run through Bellevue for your cycling trips. Plus, you can burn some  calories when riding a bike!
  • According to AAA, it costs an average of $8,946 a year in upkeep for your vehicle, while riding a bike is on average $308. Check out this post where we break down the cost of commuting.
  • There are more than 2,000 Bellevue workers and residents currently seeking a carpool partner in On The Move Bellevue. Sign up today to find yours. Looking to fill your car with a third passenger so you can jump on the new I-405 Express Toll Lanes? Create a ridematch trip in your On The Move Bellevue account!
  • 346 miles of sidewalks in and around Bellevue is accessible to those walking to work, the grocery store, the park or other local establishments. Enjoy fresh air and try to get some exercise while you’re out and about!
  • According to the National Safety Council data, it is 170 times safer to ride public transit than a car.
  • 80 miles of parks and trails are in Bellevue for you to explore on your commute or buzz around your neighborhood. Perhaps there is an errand you can run on that bike that is sitting in your garage. Are you in need of an ingredient from the grocery store for your favorite meal? Bike down to the store instead of driving and turn your errands into an opportunity for exercise!
  • 9 Zipcars are available around downtown Bellevue for those unexpected, mid-day meetings in Seattle. Relax on a bus into work and then reserve one of their vehicles for your mid-day client meeting. For Zipcar locations and information on how to join visit here.
  • In a study published by the British Medical Journal men were most likely to be seven pounds lighter than those who don’t take public transportation, while women weighed in at five pounds lighter. All that walking to and from each bus stop really pays off!

Bellevue workers and residents can— for the most part—  travel within city limits with ease. How do you find your way around the city? Are you willing to explore your options? Haven’t made a change to your travel patterns in a while? The possibilities are endless; and the numbers speak for themselves.

Fill out a commute inquiry and we will get back to you with a customized travel plan today.

We’re here to help you at Choose Your Way Bellevue!

-Choose your Way Bellevue Staffer, Jackie

 

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 9:00 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

CIM Logo trimmed
King County Metro recently launched the I-405 Communities In Motion (CIM) program that rewards $25 to those willing to make some changes to their commute. If you live or work in Bellevue you are invited to participate via On The Move Bellevue. We’re here to help you find alternative modes of travel, whether it be by bicycling, walking, taking public transportation, or finding a rideshare alternative. On The Move Bellevue has plenty to offer local commuters – and this fall there are even more incentives and rewards available due to the I-405 Communities In Motion campaign. There has been a lot of progress since the program launched in 2013. Read on for more about how joining On The Move Bellevue and taking the I-405 Pledge can support you in your non-drive-alone goals!

The first Metro Community in Motion program was developed in 2013 and has been widespread for residents across 13 cities in the King County region. Here’s CIM by the numbers:

  • 6,500 participants have pledged to reduce to two drive-alone trips per week.
  • Through been logging their trips.
  • 3 million miles have been eliminated by non-drive-alone trips.
  • An estimated 341,242 gallons of gas have been saved.
  • 5 pounds of carbon dioxide has been prevented from entering the atmosphere.
  • $2,548,661 in travel costs has been saved.

So how do you pledge, you ask? Here’s how it works:

CIM-RSO-icon pledgeStep 1: Pledge and earn $25! Join the movement and register online through On The Move Bellevue to record your weekly progress. You can access the pledge once you’re registered under your “Rewards” tab under “Incentive Programs”. (Look for the little icon on the right.) It’s a pledge to change some of your drive-alone trips, log your reduced trips for three months and then take a follow up survey.

Can’t reduce your trips because you don’t own a car? Or do you just want to spread your love to your friends and colleagues? Become a Car-Free Champion or Program Ambassador to earn your $25. Take the pledge as normal and then email your story or your recruit to getinmotion@kingcounty.gov.

Step 2: Join the I-405 Diamond Club: Within your On The Move Bellevue account, you can join The Club once you’ve completed the pledge. And trust us; The Club has its benefits. Just for completing the pledge you will receive your first Emergency Ride Home code for a taxi ride home in case of an eligible emergency.

Step 3: Log those trips! Calling all Diamond Club Members: Every month that you log eight reduced days on your calendar through June 15, 2015, you will be eligible to request another Emergency Ride Home code to have in your back pocket for those emergencies. Another bonus for logging? Each month 25 win $25 (REI or a TranBen transit or vanpool voucher) just for logging those eight days! You can back-log up to 28 days.

What’s MORE? On The Move Bellevue trip loggers have another chance to win 25 win $25 just for those who live or work in Bellevue.

The Pledge and the survey period will close to Bellevue commuters 1/31/16. Better boogie – all rewards are only available while supplies last. More information is available at kingcounty.gov/getinmotion or get started now! Email any questions about the I-405 Communities In Motion Program or On The Move Bellevue to info@onthemovebellevue.org.

 

 

Saturday, November 14th, 2015 12:36 AM | by admin | Add a Comment

Amidst a strong economy and with fuel prices near a six-year low, Federal data shows vehicle miles traveled have increased slightly since 2013. Looking closer however, the same data shows vehicle miles traveled in the US, adjusted for population growth, are still down 6.29 percent from an all-time high in June 2005. Driving fewer miles, even with lower gas prices, doesn’t change the fact that driving is still very expensive. Beyond the price of gasoline, many drivers do not realize the true cost of driving.  Unlike housing, vehicle costs are spread into many different categories throughout the year.

The average U.S. household spends 32 percent of their income on housing— not a surprise. But that same household spends 19 percent on transportation expenses. Transportation as a share of household income climbs to 25 percent in auto-dependent suburbs. And while gas prices seem like a big part of our driving expenses, they only account for 13 percent of vehicle ownership and operating costs for the average driver.

To gain a better picture on how much it REALLY costs to commute to work, I’ve aggregated the expenses into one number – as if we were to feel the aggregate cost of all of our driving expenses each time we went to the pump to fill up.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, ownership and operating costs break down into eight categories, with depreciation, financing and insurance accounting for more than 3/4 of total ownership cost.

Chart 1

ownership cost
Chart 1 illustrates that fuel and fuel taxes account for 13 percent of the total cost of driving. Now think about how much it costs to fill your gas tank. At $2.50 per gallon, the cost to fill a 20-gallon tank is $50. If that $50 dollars only represents 13 percent of the cost of driving, then each time we spend $50 dollars on gas we are also spending $334.61 on other auto-related expenses—which means the total cost of using that $50 tank of gas is really $384.61.

In other words, if your vehicle gets 30 miles per gallon and a gallon of gas is $2.50 per gallon, each mile you drive costs you 64¢ of which only 8.3¢ goes to fuel and fuel taxes. At 30 miles per gallon a 20-gallon tank will take you 600 miles at a total cost of $384.61.

What does this mean for an average commuter? Driving from North Bothell to downtown Bellevue a commuter drives about 15 miles each way. The real cost to drive 30 miles, accounting for all vehicle expenses, is $19.20 per day!

For $19.20 per day, a commuter would pay about $422.40 per month to commute to and from work. Add parking cost (2015 average downtown Bellevue monthly parking rate of $181.22) to that total and we could easily spend over $600 per month driving to and from work—not to mention one to two hours per day stuck in congestion. For $126 per month, the same commuter could purchase a monthly transit pass and—if they don’t own a car—still have close to $500 left over for housing expenses, vacation money or an early retirement.

We understand the above figure is based on the total cost of car ownership and that some of the costs don’t scale as acutely with a reduction in miles driven, particularly finance cost. Regardless, the above figure is presented to spark a conversation about the real cost of driving. And as I learned when I starting using public transit and biking for my commute trips, and using transit, biking and walking for many of my non-commute trips, most of the costs do decline as the mileage decreases. For example, I receive a reduced rate on car insurance because I drive fewer than 5,000 miles per year, my vehicle is depreciating at a far slower rate, and by putting fewer miles on my vehicle, I pay less for repairs, maintenance and fuel. Furthermore, my family and I are now considering giving up one vehicle, and even if we don’t, we certainly won’t need to add a 3rd vehicle when our son starts driving in the next couple years.

You can calculate your own commute cost by clicking here or find the link at Choose Your Way Bellevue. Learn more about the real cost of driving here.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Jason

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 5:34 PM | by Jason Hampton | Comments (2)

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