Archive for May, 2016

With 80 miles of parks trails and 346 miles of sidewalks, walking in Bellevue is a great option for getting around. As spring turns to summer the longer days and clearer skies also provide us with ample opportunities to get outside and walk. Read on for information about walking in Bellevue, including an opportunity to attend the Walkable Washington Symposium and Grand Connection, walking incentives, and walking resources.

Walkable Washington Symposium: Collaborate. Innovate. Celebrate.

Are you a coordinator of transportation programs at your company or building? Would you like to learn about how walkable communities are planned and designed; how to advocate for greater walkability in your community; or what Bellevue’s proposed Grand Connection is about?

Image thanks to feetfirst.org

Image thanks to feetfirst.org

Tuesday June 7th the Walkable Washington Symposium comes to Bellevue City Hall, 9am-4pm. This statewide event is hosted by Feet First, an organization that works to “ensure all communities across Washington are walkable…a world that cares about health, community and design”. Keynote Speaker Dr. Eric Sharnhorst, designer of the people-powered Walk Score and currently examining livability, will address the audience and over 150 leaders, planners, engineers, educators, and advocates from across the state will attend the event to educate, energize and inspire the next generation of leaders. The day will be broken into three sessions, each hosted by experts focusing on design and engineering, advocacy and encouragement, and vision and planning.

Following the symposium will be a WALKshop from 4:15-5:15pm offering a sneak peek of Bellevue’s expansive new initiative: the “Grand Connection,” which will create a new vision for place-making and connectivity from Lake Washington waterfront through downtown and ultimately connecting with the regional Eastside Rail Corridor.

After the WALKshop, the networking will continue with a no-host happy hour. It’s a great way to end a jammed packed day of fantastic speakers, learning, and sharing.

Tickets: Register today for this unique learning and networking event. Last year’s symposium was sold out! Choose Your Way Bellevue participants get tickets for just $45; a 50% discount! Select the non-profit rate when you register. There are only 20 tickets left at this rate, so make sure to get your ticket today! Your registration includes the WALKShop.

Are you limited on time? Then join us for just the “Grand Connection” WALKShop at 4:15. The walk is FREE for Choose Your Way Bellevue participants; however, you must register in advance and tickets are limited. Select the Choose Your Way Bellevue participants WALKshop only rate when you register.

Grand Connection: The Grand Connection is a pedestrian-oriented, non-motorized corridor beginning at the waterfront of Lake Washington at Meydenbauer Bay Park, the Grand Connection extends through Bellevue’s dynamic downtown, and ultimately connects to the Eastside Rail Corridor. It is envisioned as a unique and defining urban experience that would create new opportunities in public space, connectivity, and place-making while advancing the arts, recreation, and social engagement.

Image thanks to bellevuegrandconnection.com

Image thanks to bellevuegrandconnection.com

Recently a Grand Connection Visioning Charrette was held in collaboration with the Bellevue Arts Museum and nearly 80 architects, artists, planners, and urban designers who came together to explore opportunities surrounding the project. Use this map tool to comment on the project or read about related documents.

Image thanks to bellevuegrandconnection.com

Image thanks to bellevuegrandconnection.com

Walk and Win: Anyone who lives or works in Bellevue and logs 8 or more days of walking trips on the Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards calendar to, from, or within Bellevue during the month of June will be entered to win one of eight $25 REI gift cards!

Maps: If you’d like to know more about pedestrian routes and amenities in Bellevue, request a Pedestrian Guide via this form. For a downloadable version visit www.chooseyourwaybellevue.org/walk.

Apps: Interested in counting your steps? The Pacer app will count for you! Free to download.

Happy walking!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Paige 

Monday, May 23rd, 2016 5:56 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

If you’ve been in a vanpool, you know it takes some coordination to situate arrival of the van, who’s driving, who has paid, what time the van will leave and so forth. Constant communication is key. Two vanpoolers saw an opportunity to communicate better with fellow vanpoolers and make it easier for vanpoolers to organize all of their trip information into an app. Read their story and how the app is helping vanpools today.

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Image from Vanpooler.com

From King County Metro rideshare services: This month’s ‪#‎FeaturedCommuterGroup is a little different. There are no tales of daring rescues or dramatic first aid stories. But if you have a commuter van with full ridership that you try to coordinate on a regular basis, this story could be the best one yet! While we are understandably proud of the service we provide, we do know it can be challenging to coordinate riders and keep everyone on the same page. Well, as the commercial says, now “there’s an app for that!”

Jignesh is part of a large, long-running vanpool group with more than 20 members assigned to a 15 passenger van. When the group was smaller, they used WhatsApp for messaging functionality but as the group grew in size, it became harder to keep track of who was riding, who was driving, who was out for the day, and who was simply running late. He recalls a time when a driver miscounted the number of riders for the day. Because they thought they had everyone on board and left, “The poor fellow had to drive by himself in a non-carpool lane and was late for his morning meeting.”

Enter Eric and Chen. With four years of vanpooling between them (and similar experiences with WhatsApp), they were facing the same challenges with keeping track of ridership. However, they decided to tackle the problem. “Our group used to use WhatsApp to coordinate our daily vanpool ridership. But it is ad-hoc and there is no easy way to see who is coming and who is not unless one reads all the messages. So we thought, why not create an app to solve these problems?” After working on it for three months, the Vanpooler app was born.

So, what can the app do? Essentially, rather than relying on one person to keep track of every rider in the van, it allows every group member to indicate their daily ridership through a 1-click process with quick, preset messages such as ‘On my way’ or ‘5 minutes late’. Seat reservations are done automatically to prevent overbooking and there is no need to type while driving. Additionally, group members may be called and departure time reminders can be set through the app.

The Vanpooler app is available for Apple and Android. Though it has been out for less than a month, there are already about 10 vanpool groups using it on a daily basis. Feedback has been very positive with Eric and Chen responding as quickly as they are able to enhancement requests. For example, they just added the ability to reserve a seat the night prior to the trip and push notification for chat messages is also now available. They also plan to add enhancements to support bookkeepers and to allow commuters to search for and join vanpool groups in the near future. “We created Vanpooler to solve our own daily commuting issue but seeing it also benefiting other vanpool users made us feel really proud,” said Eric and Chen.

With the many commuter choices available, we are always thankful for our customers and here in Rideshare Operations, we are very excited to be able to share a tool that may help make a vanpool commute even better. Our customers help make us the biggest and best commuter van program around and the Vanpooler app is just one more fantastic reason why!

Thursday, May 19th, 2016 9:44 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

With so many transit resources available it can be hard to know where to begin! Especially for those with specific needs it can be especially challenging to find information. Below are some basics to get started; and remember King County Metro, Sound Transit, and Choose Your Way Bellevue are always available to assist you.

ST Accesibility_455

Image thanks to Sound Transit

For those with disabilities: All regular Metro and Sound Transit services are designed to be as inclusive as possible, and service animals are always welcomed aboard. All Sound Transit services and facilities are 100% Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant and all light rail facilities feature level-boarding platforms for easy roll-on access.

Those with specific needs that preclude them from using the regular service may choose to utilize Metro’s Access Transportation which takes riders anywhere served by bus, streetcar or light rail. For those who meet ADA eligibility requirements, Metro’s Paratransit services may also be utilized. To qualify for such services users much verify their eligibility. Call (206) 263 3113 to speak with someone about your eligibility, or click here. metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/accessible/pdf/AccessRideGuide.pdf

Image thanks to King County Metro

Image thanks to King County Metro

Reduced Fare: To receive a reduced fare ORCA Lift card (good for both Sound Transit and Metro), riders must verify their income by visiting one of the enrollment locations (list here: http://metro.kingcounty.gov/programs-projects/orca-lift/enrollment-locations.html) or by bringing the appropriate paperwork to an ORCA To Go event. Be aware though that the hours of operation for enrollment locations are not standardized. Once received, the ORCA Lift card is valid for two years, regardless of an increase in income, and may be used on Metro, Kitsap, and Sound Transit buses, Sound Transit light rail and Sounder trains, King County Water Taxi, and the Seattle Streetcar. To check your eligibility call (206) 553-3000 or (800) 756-5437 or click here.

Senior/Disabled and Youth ORCA cards can reduce fare costs as well. To find out about eligibility requirements click here. Adult and Youth cards are available by mail; other cards are available in person and require proof of eligibility. For more information about obtaining ORCA cards click here.

Non-English Resources: We recognize the current and growing need for resources in additional languages. At the bottom of both Metro and Sound Transit webpages, a language preference may be selected for viewing online resources. For help planning trips or other information Metro’s Customer Service line can be reached at (206) 553 3000. By pressing “1” for an interpreter, callers may discuss their inquiry in over 200 languages. The City of Bellevue’s number for language assistance is (425) 452 6800.

No matter how you utilize your transit options, transit agencies always welcome your feedback, particularly if there is a way for these agencies to better serve those with specific needs. You can contact Sound Transit, King County Metro, or Choose Your Way Bellevue.

Editor’s Note: All information compiled from Sound Transit and King County Metro. For specific questions please email info@cywb.org or Sound Transit and King County Metro.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Paige 

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 9:57 PM | by Paige Anderson | Comments Off on Access: Metro and Sound Transit are here to help!

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Image thanks to The Seattle Times

Everyone knows not to shout in a library or cut in line at the grocery store, but do you know the unspoken rules of riding the bus? The Seattle Times recently asked its readers to share some bus do’s and don’ts for transit users in polite society. Some common themes we noticed are below:

Be aware of noise pollution

-Whether talking on the phone or listening to music with your headphones make sure the volume is only loud enough for you to hear, not the whole bus!

Don’t gross other passengers out

-Though Metro’s Code of Conduct states no eating or drinking on the bus, we know a lot of people bend this rule. If you are covertly eating, make sure it isn’t smelly!

-Other ways people have been disgusted on the bus is by passengers conducting personal grooming…best left for your bathroom at home.

Be considerate

-Don’t let your bag or your knees take up the seat next to you and if someone more in need of a seat comes along, make sure to offer yours up. Chivalry is not dead!

-On crowded buses make sure that those around you have something to hold on to. Although Sound Transit’s motto is ride the wave, when keeping your balance while standing on a moving bus try not to spread out as though you were on a surf board!

-Keep moving back so others have room to get on the bus!

man-spread

Image thanks to The Seattle Times

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Paige 

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 10:05 PM | by Paige Anderson | Comments Off on Rules for Transit Riders

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