Archive for the ‘Choose Your Way Bellevue’ Category

A South Bellevue Park & Ride Alternative Story

The South Bellevue Park-and-Ride will be closing on May 30th, 2017. We would like to provide those who are affected by this closure some ideas for exploring a new commute, provided through our fictional commuter, “Caffeinated Carey.”.

Caffeinated Carey’s New Morning Commute

Current Route – 23 min from South Bellevue Park-and-Ride to King County Courthouse in Seattle

New Route – 44 minutes from Wilburton Park-and-Ride to King County Courthouse in Seattle

Every morning, I wake up, grab my cup of coffee and hop into my car to start my morning commute to the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. This park-and-ride is usually full, but I can normally find parking if I get there before 8:30 a.m. A few weeks ago, a sign was posted alerting bus commuters that it was going to close for at least five years due to construction of the new East Link light rail station. I was slightly comforted in knowing that the future South Bellevue Station will include bus and paratransit transfer facilities and a 1,500-stall parking garage (almost 1,000 more than current stalls). But all I could think about was what about how my current commute was going to change during those five years.

I figured now is as good a time as any to try my new commute so I could be prepared for the closure when it happens.

I started researching the new park-and-ride lots Sound Transit has secured, as well as those park-and-rides with existing capacity, to help with the displacement of cars from the lot.

Sound Transit’s resources include a web page about the closure and their East Link Replacement Parking Interactive Map.  I located the nearest park-and-ride to me on the interactive map, the Wilburton Park-and-Ride, which is only an additional five-minute drive from the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. This trip did require a transfer, but according to Google Maps, it looked like the best option.

The following morning, I packed everything a few minutes earlier and headed to the new station to catch the 8:04 a.m. King Country Metro 240. Parking was relatively easy, though I made a note to remember the parking lot is much smaller than the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. I walked about 5 minutes to SE 8th St & 118th Ave SE. I wanted to make sure I head I got on the quickest route, so I used my One Bus Away app that showed me arrival times of neighboring stations and bus stops. This bus then dropped me off a few minutes later at the Eastgate Park-and-Ride where I walked I caught route King Country Metro 212 dropped me off about two blocks away from my destination, and in less than five minutes I was at the Courthouse. Heading back home I had a few options, but I found that taking the Sound Transit 550 gets me faster to Bellevue in the evenings. I exited at the Bellevue Transit Center, and caught the King County Metro 246, or King County Metro 240, whichever came first since both buses travel to the Wilburton Park-and-Ride.

For now, this is a good substitution while I wait for the light rail to come across to the Eastside; and I still have time to grab my morning triple shot latte on ice before jumping on the bus!

-Sincerely, Caffeinated Carey

********

To those who can relate to Caffeinated Carey’s story due to the closure of South Bellevue and Park-and-Ride, Choose Your Way Bellevue is here to assist with making the transition to your new commute an easier one. The 550, 555, and 556, 241 and 249 will continue to serve Bellevue Way in front of the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride when it closes. There will not be a park-and-ride in that vicinity; however, I would encourage you to plan ahead and look for an alternative park-and-ride that may work for you. (Note that you may need to transfer buses from your alternative lot in order to get where you need to go.) Or, try sharing the ride!

In fact, your new route may turn out to be faster than your old one. Recently, a commuter discovered that parking at the Newport Hills Park-and-Ride and taking the King County Metro Route 111 was 15 minutes faster than her current commute parking at the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride and taking the Sound Transit 550!

Try checking for a new route from home, rather than the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride; you may be surprised what you find! Some other helpful resources for planning your route include:

If you are having trouble figuring out your new commute, we are here to help! You may request Choose Your Way Bellevue custom commute assistance at any time.

Stay tuned to our blog for more examples in the future of how people are adjusting their commutes regarding the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride closure.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Sandee

 

Thursday, May 4th, 2017 4:23 PM | by Sandee Ditt | Add a Comment

JOT logo 250x75 horizontal carsello

Just by being a part of the Choose Your Way Bellevue network, you’re also eligible to participate in a program brought to you by our partners at King County: Just One Trip – Community In Motion! September 1, 2016 through February 28, 2017 the Community In Motion team is asking the you to join in the community movement and further reduce your drive alone trips. Just one trip is all it takes to get started!

The Community in Motion program was created for those live, work or play—and travel—along the urbanized corridors of I-405 and I-90 in King County. All Bellevue workers and residents are eligible. Over the last two years, 10,000 participants have already joined the program. If you can further reduce your drive-alone travel, we invite you to join them and take a test ride. Start by changing “Just One Trip” from driving alone to riding the bus, carpooling, vanpooling, biking or walking. Our Choose Your Way Bellevue team is here to help you explore travel options in your community and find alternatives to driving alone.

JOT modes only

Benefits of participating in Community In Motion program include:

  • Monthly drawings for those who log their non-drive-alone trips.
  • One Emergency Ride Home credit .
  • A reward following completion of the program. (Rewards are only available while supplies last)

Ready to Give it a Try? Get started with the pre-survey today: click here.

 

Friday, September 23rd, 2016 4:13 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

ChooseYourWaySchoolPool

The changing of the seasons ushers in many things such as pumpkin flavored treats, nature’s parade of colors along your commute, and this year, SchoolPool!

The City of Bellevue and the Bellevue School District are collaborating to bring SchoolPool to the desktop of families at select pilot schools longing for a way out of the traffic woes generated during the commute to and from school. SchoolPool not only brings relief to families and the communities that support the schools, it also saves time and money. You can access Bellevue SchoolPool via the Choose Your Way Bellevue website.

What is Choose Your Way Bellevue SchoolPool?

CYWB SchoolPool is a free program that includes an online platform, open only to families at participating schools, to help them form ridematches with other families at their child’s school or participating nearby schools. Ridematches aren’t just for carpools; they are also for biking and walking groups with an adult leader.

SchoolPool Pilot is happening at the following schools:

  • Puesta del Sol
  • Somerset Elementary
  • Stevenson Elementary
  • Odle Middle
  • Tyee Middle
  • Newport High
  • Sammamish High
  • Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart

Our vision is to utilize SchoolPool to mitigate traffic congestion around schools make the commute to school easier, and help make our city more sustainable!

If you have children in one of the participating schools listed above and would like to participate, visit our SchoolPool webpage. To get started, fill out this form!

Friday, September 23rd, 2016 3:57 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

I-405 Express Bus Travel and Choose Your Way Bellevue Commute Planning can hook you up!
Having recently moved and gone through a commute change, I thought it to be fitting to fill in the Choose Your Way Bellevue community about my process to explore my commute options and boy, am I happy with my new commute!

I’ve enjoyed my bus commute for the past two years from the Houghton neighborhood in Kirkland. I was riding the Metro 234/235 and the commute was a piece of cake. I’d walk 4 minutes to my bus stop and I’d ride the 25 minutes right up the Bellevue Transit Center. Easy breezy. I was nervous about moving three miles north, farther from my tried and trusted route. But come July 1, I had the chance to explore all my options and combinations from the Juanita/ Totem Lake neighborhood.
Moving can be a stressful time, but having my commute nailed down made the transition a bit easier. Here is how I went about planning my new commute (and how we can help you plan yours).

I looked up the bus route options from my home address using Google Maps (transit). Bing has a transit mapping function, too; I had to give that a try as well and it yielded similar results. I had a few combinations worth trying! I still had the 234 within walking distance from my house but I knew it would take almost an hour to get to work. I have a new puppy at home! I can’t be spending two hours on the bus every day. With the construction on Northup Way and summer congestion getting into and out of Downtown Kirkland on State Street leaving that route a bit more unpredictable (and possibly delayed), I opted to leave that route for a later date when I was less worried about time.

I checked the park and rides in my area using WSDOT’s Park and Ride locator map. The Kingsgate Park and Ride was only a mile away and there are a number of express bus options into Downtown Bellevue that leave the Totem Lake Freeway Station pretty frequently. It’s just a three-minute walk from the Park and Ride to the Freeway Station down 116th Ave NE to NE 128th St.

walking pic
I tried a number of commute combinations. While it might seem counterintuitive, the two-bus option (255 >> 522/535 Express buses) was actually shorter than my Metro 234 ride (30 minutes versus 50). The walk to the park and ride isn’t the most walkable. While it is developing, right now Totem Lake is still a pretty auto-centric place; the cars are moving pretty fast.

I ended up preferring to drive the mile and parking at the Kingsgate Park and Ride to catch the first bus that pulled up to Bus Bay 1. The Park and Ride gets pretty full, but so far I haven’t seen it completely full before 8:00 A.M. However, once school starts again this fall I’m sure it will be a different monster; it’s quite a popular spot. I’m not the first one to discover this suburban gem!

The bus ride on the Sound Transit 532/ 535 or Metro 237 pick up and do not stop again until we all arrive at the Bellevue Transit Center: 10 minutes pick-up to drop off in the I-405 express toll lanes. We literally zoom past all the traffic heading into Downtown Bellevue. I feel like I am in bus rider heaven. Three miles farther from work and I was getting to work in a third of the time! Granted, the buses can get pretty full. I end up standing half the time, but it’s only 10 minutes so I don’t mind. Trick of the trade: the Metro 342 also goes to Downtown Bellevue but it makes one more stop (at NE 70th Pl) so it has to weave out of the Express Toll Lanes. This can add up to 5 more minutes to an otherwise speedy ride.

bus options
My prior bus commute was a local Metro route that served a lot of stops, and was decently full at peak periods but always had a seat for me. I saw the same faces every day and was a bit sad to leave my routine. But this new commute rhythm has really given me a shorter commute time and so many options. I can count on getting home early enough to take my pup on a hike.

hiking
I would suggest exploring both your local Metro routes to connect to an express bus, or check out the park and ride options.

I may work in the transportation field every day and I have a lot of these tools already in my back pocket. While we encourage you to try these tips for exploring your bus routes on your own, if it all seems too daunting we’re here to help! We can explore the potential routes, different mode combinations and how long different options would take you. If you’d like us to take a look at bus routes around you, fill out a commute inquiry form and we’ll get back to you within a few business days!

You can find me in the express toll lanes,

-Happy commuter and Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Augusta

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 3:25 PM | by augusta | Add a Comment

The 4th of July is right around the corner! Join the celebration in Downtown Bellevue!

Photo by Collin Walker

Photo by Collin Walker

Four on the 4th Dog Jog & Walk –  9 a.m. July 4, 2016

The Àegis of Bellevue Four on the 4th Dog Jog & Walk, a non-competitive 4K, begins at 9 a.m. on the morning of 4th of July at Ashwood Park. The jog & walk will also end at Ashwood Park where refreshments, activities and a costume contest will take place. Friendly, leashed dogs are welcome! Hundreds of dogs will be in attendance, so it is not recommend anyone bring other types of pets or dogs in heat.

For more info click here.

Bellevue Family 4th 2 p.m. July 4, 2016

The Bellevue Collection Bellevue Family 4th presented by PACCAR hosts the largest Independence day celebration on the eastside, and this year is the 25th anniversary! The event takes place in Bellevue Downtown Park where families and friends can enjoy food, games, live music, and a spectacular fireworks show.

The Bellevue Downtown Park is located one block south of Bellevue Square on the corner of NE 4th Street and Bellevue Way in downtown Bellevue.

For more info click here.

Here are a few additional ways to get to the festivities:

Transit

Consider taking the bus to the Bellevue Transit Center located at NE 6th Street & 108th Avenue NE. The Bellevue Transit Center is less than 5 blocks from the Bellevue Downtown Park and offers evening transit service to and from Seattle and many surrounding areas. Visit King County Metro’s Online TripPlanner to help plan your bus route or Choose Your Way Bellevue for other travel options. Bus routes will operate a Saturday schedule on July 4th so be sure to check the schedule at http://metro.kingcounty.gov/schedules/ for your route.

The information below is specific to Saturday/Sunday operations. All suggested routes serve the Bellevue Transit Center for incoming and outgoing trips. For specific bus schedules and more detailed information, please visit http://metro.kingcounty.gov and enter your preferred route number in the “Get a Timetable” box in the upper right corner. For Sound Transit routes (535, 550 and 560) visit soundtransit.org.

Park and Ride Most Direct Route Departure Information Return pick-up at the Bellevue Transit Center Fare Additional route options
South Bellevue 
2700 Bellevue Way SE
Sound Transit 550 Bay 1, departs every 15 minutes on Saturdays and every 30 minutes on Sundays Bay 9 $2.50 Metro 241*
Metro 249
ST 555*
ST 556*
ST 560
Eastgate 
14200 SE Eastgate Way
Metro 271 Bay 1, departs every 30 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays Bay 5 $2.50 Metro 240
Metro 241*
Metro 246*
ST 555*
ST 556*
Mercer Island
8000 N. Mercer Way
Sound Transit 550 Departs every 15 minutes on Saturdays and every 30 minutes on Sundays Bay 1 $2.50 n/a
South Kirkland
10610 NE 38th Place
Metro 234 or 235 Bay A, departs every  15 minutes on weekdays, and every hour Saturdays and Sundays Bay 10 $2.50 Metro 249
Overlake Park and Ride
2650 152nd Avenue NEOverlake Transit Center
15590 NE 36th Place
Metro B-Line Bay 7, every 15 minutes during peak travel times Bay 3 $2.50 Metro 249
Kingsgate
13001 116th Way NE
Metro235 I-405 Totem Lake South Bound Freeway Station, departs every hour on weekends Bay 4 $2.50 n/a
Sound Transit 535** I-405 Totem Lake South Bound Freeway Station, departs every hour on Saturday

*Weekday service only
**No Sunday service

Tips for riding transit to downtown Bellevue:

  • Carry your exact fare in cash: Bus drivers do not have change. You may pay your fare, and the fare for others traveling with you, using any combination of paper and coin currency. ORCA transit passes are also accepted provided they have a value equal to or greater than the required fare (if not, a cash supplement may be required).
  • Free fares for children: Up to 4 children ages 5 and under always ride free with a paying adult on Sound Transit and King County Metro buses.
  • All buses are wheelchair accessible.
  • Return trip to park and ride: Plan ahead by locating the bay where you will wait to catch a bus back to the park and ride, as well as determining when the last bus leaves to get you there. Schedules are posted at each bay to assist you.

Bike or Walk

Summer is here and this is the best time of year to bike! Throw your blanket in your backpack and don’t forget your bike lights! You can plan your route with the City of Bellevue bike map or the interactive King County bike map. Bike racks are available throughout the city (though bike parking is generally limited), and so are great pedestrian paths. If you’d like a hard copy of a bike or pedestrian map follow this link to request one (will be mailed after the 4th) or stop by our office!

Rideshare with family or friends. Make a plan to meet at a nearby park-n-ride.

If you’ve got a few extra seats in your car, try Choose Your Way Bellevue to find a ridematch. You can view the Family 4th Event and “Add Trip to Event” here to find a ridematch.

Nearby Park-n-Rides:

North

Houghton Park-n-Ride

Kingsgate Park-n-Ride

South Kirkland Park-n-Ride

South

South Bellevue Park-n-Ride

Wilburton Park-n-Ride

East

Eastgate Park-n-Ride

West

Mercer Island Park-n-Ride

Parking

If you are driving or carpooling with your family, once you get downtown there are a few parking options. Complimentary event parking is offered after 6 p.m. at the Bellevue Collection (Bellevue Square (access off NE 8th and Bellevue Way), Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place).

Using Lincoln Square (access off Bellevue Way) or Bellevue Place (access off NE 8th or Bellevue Way) allows for a much quicker post-event exit. Free parking also is available in the visitors’ lot at Bellevue City Hall (450 110th Avenue NE) – and a much quicker way to exit downtown post-event if you are willing to walk a couple blocks.

After the event, drivers are encouraged to use NE 2nd Street, NE 10th Street or NE 12th Street to cross I-405 and quickly exit downtown.

Driving Directions

Eastbound I-90 from Seattle:
Just past the I-405 interchange, take the Bellevue Way exit. Merge onto Bellevue Way heading north approximately 3 miles. The Bellevue Downtown Park is located on the left side of Bellevue Way, one block south of Bellevue Square on the corner of NE 4th Street and Bellevue Way.

Westbound I-90 from Issaquah:
Take the Bellevue Way exit and head north approximately 3 miles. The Bellevue Downtown Park is located on the left side of Bellevue Way, one block south of Bellevue Square on the corner of NE 4th Street and Bellevue Way.

Northbound I-405 from Renton:
Just past the I-90 interchange, take the NE 4th Street exit. Head west on NE 4th Street. Turn left on Bellevue Way. The park is located at the corner of NE 4th Street and Bellevue Way.

Southbound I-405 from Kirkland:
Just past the 520 interchange, take the NE 4th Street exit. Head west on NE 4th Street. Turn left on Bellevue Way. The park is located at the corner of NE 4th Street and Bellevue Way.

Eastbound 520 from Seattle:
Before reaching the I-405 interchange, take the Bellevue Way exit. Merge right onto Bellevue Way heading south. The Bellevue Downtown Park is located at the corner of NE 4th Street and Bellevue Way, just south of Bellevue Square.

Westbound 520 from Redmond:
Just past the I-405 interchange, take the Bellevue Way exit. Turn left onto Bellevue Way heading south. The Bellevue Downtown Park is located at the corner of NE 4th Street and Bellevue Way, just south of Bellevue Square.

Please Note the below traffic changes:

  • Before the fireworks, at approximately 9:30 – 9:45 p.m., some streets near Downtown Park will be closed to vehicle traffic: NE 4th Street, from 100th Ave to Bellevue Way NE; and 100th Ave NE, between NE 1st to NE 5th streets. After the fireworks, the following road restrictions will be put in place to help clear traffic leaving downtown.
  • Right turns will be prohibited from 100th Ave NE to NE 8th  Street, drivers may turn right on NE 10th Street
  • Right turns will be prohibited from eastbound NE 10th Street to all side streets between 100th Ave NE and Interstate 405. Access to I-405 from NE 10th Street will be via NE 116th Street.
  • Left turns will be prohibited from southbound Bellevue Way NE to eastbound NE 4th Street. Drivers headed to I-90 or I-405 may continue south on Bellevue Way.
  • Various other lane closures and turn restrictions, as needed, to move traffic quickly out of the downtown core. When traffic volumes decreases, road will reopen and turn restrictions will be lifted.

Stay safe out there and enjoy the fireworks and other festivities!

Friday, July 1st, 2016 9:16 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

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