Archive for the ‘Commute Planning’ Category

The South Bellevue Park-and-Ride will be closed for approximately five years during construction. ST Express buses 550, 555 and 556, and Metro buses 241 and 249 will continue to serve Bellevue Way Southeast next to the closed park-and-ride during construction. The future South Bellevue Station will include bus and paratransit transfer facilities and a 1,500-stall parking garage. Sound Transit expects to receive a construction schedule from the contractor soon that will identify the closure date, to be announced through East Link construction alerts. Stay informed by subscribing to Sound Transit’s East Link alerts at

With a closure like this, it’s a great time to evaluate all of your options and we’re here to help.

Sound Transit identified replacement and existing park-and-ride lots with additional parking capacity and also expanded service on routes traveling to downtown Seattle and Bellevue. Visit the links below to discover replacement park-and-ride lots and new routes to find an alternative lot that works best for your lifestyle and location. There may even be a carpool or vanpool option that can get you to your destination.

We realize the park-and-ride closure may have a big impact on your commute. If you would like help navigating your options, fill out a custom commute planning inquiry and the Choose Your Way Bellevue team will help you find your way. You can always visit for information about alternatives to driving alone.

Choose Your Way Bellevue has created a new “East Link and Travel Options” page to help you get around during East Link construction. The new page will be updated with relevant information throughout the various stages of construction as they emerge, including frequent commute plans we’ve created for commuters. Let us know how we can support you during this change in our environment!

-Augusta, Choose Your Way Bellevue staff

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 10:26 AM | by augusta | Add a Comment

Planning of Commute – Anxiety Level 6/10

I would consider myself an intermediate Seattle bus traveler. I used to ride the bus every day to get to work in South Lake Union, or to neighboring areas like Capitol Hill and Queen Anne, but never one to take me across multiple cities. So in regards to intercity public transportation, I’m a novice at best. So the night before my second day at my new job in Bellevue, I decided to map out my path of travel and outline any red flags such as road closures and “what if” scenarios if buses were late. Using this time resting my eyes, meditating, maybe actually having breakfast – sounded a lot more tempting than driving during rush hour to get back home in Seattle. I used every source I could think of: Google Maps, One Bus Away, Metro Trip Planner – anything that could give me a good sense of timing.

Morning of Commute – Anxiety Level 7/10

I found that I could take the bus right outside my door down to the University Street tunnel station and transfer easily to a bus that came about every 8-15 minutes to downtown Bellevue. As I waited, I noticed I didn’t have reception down in the tunnel station. I glanced across the way and saw a sign that said free Wi-Fi on the platform! PERFECT! I quickly logged in and checked my One Bus Away app and notice that my bus was running behind. If I had checked before I could have made it in time for the bus ahead of it, but after getting a little confused with which way to head off of the bus, I just barely missed it. A gentleman next to me mentioned that usually this bus is right on time, so I’ll count today as an anomaly. Once it arrived a few minutes later, the bus was a bit crowded, but I was able to get on. As we were cruising swiftly by traffic on I-90 I realized that we were quickly making up time for the late departure. I arrived at the Bellevue Transit Center and at work a few minutes late, but not bad for a first timer.

Week 2 of Commuting to Bellevue– Anxiety Level 1/10

Two weeks later – When I wake up, I quickly check my One Bus Away (an app a fellow bus rider suggested to me), to see when my bus is arriving, I keep it on hand as it updates regularly and I can easily walk out my door about 2 minutes beforehand. I now have a routine down and can sometimes catch an extra wink or two in the morning due to how consistent my travel time is now into work. The 550 has been on time (give or take 2-3 minutes) every day, and I’ve always scored an open seat.  I’m glad I didn’t let one hiccup deter me from trying the route again, but it comes by so often that even if you do miss a bus, you know the next one is just right around the corner.


  • No “Cutsy’s”! –Unspoken protocol for commuters traveling to and from the Eastside, make sure to wait in whatever line is forming for the bus at your platform. When your bus arrives, some may get on, others won’t, just step forward and make sure not to jump ahead of anyone that is getting on the same bus! On day 1, this formal line was a foreign concept to me as it’s usually a free for all on Seattle downtown buses, but I quickly learned that you either get in line, or wait until the end of it to get on.

Overhead space for extra items

  • Have extra bags or books? The Sound Transit buses have overhead space compartments for just those things. Another plus was overhead extra lighting, so make sure to bring that book or set of notes to review!
  • Stand clear of the back doors or they won’t be able to close.
  • Have your fare ready!
  • Also, make sure to enjoy the view!

    View off the I-90 bridge

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 9:59 AM | by Sandee Ditt | Add a Comment

The Seahawks are poised for another great season, and they can’t do it without you! To make sure you get to the game without getting stuck in traffic or a stadium parking lot, try taking transit to the game!

seahawks busseahawks bus 2
• From the Bellevue Transit Center you can catch Sound Transit Route 550, which will drop you off at the International District Chinatown station, a short distance from Pioneer square and Century Link Field. You can also catch the 550 at the South Bellevue Park & Ride. Regular adult fare: $2.75 (each way). *Note: The South Bellevue Park & Ride may be closed as early as January 2017 for up to five years for East Link Light Rail construction.

• If you’re heading across the lake from the Eastgate Park & Ride you will enjoy 20 festive minutes with fellow Hawks fans on Sound Transit Route 554 before arriving at 5th and Jackson, which is a short walk to the stadium. The 554 departs Bay 3 (I-90 Expressway Ramp & 142nd Place Southeast) every 30 minutes. After the win you can catch the 554 for your return trip from 5th and Jackson. Regular adult fare: $2.75 (each way).

• Metro Transit will operate Seahawks game day shuttle bus service from three locations: Eastgate Park & Ride, South Kirkland Park & Ride, and Northgate Transit Center. Fares will be $4 each way, or $8 round trip. Bus service generally begins two hours prior to kickoff and ends 45 minutes prior. Please note that service is only available for weekend games. Get more info on game day transportation straight from the Hawk’s mouth.

• You can also catch Metro Route 271 from Eastgate Park & Ride or the Bellevue Transit Center to the University of Washington, where you can use your ORCA card to seamlessly jump onto Link light rail to the stadium. Sound Transit’s website has fare and schedule details.

Remember, Seahawks game days are busy for all downtown buses. A couple of things that help the offense run more smoothly are patience and an ORCA card:

• Post-game traffic can clog the streets. Please be patient and remember the bus will eventually come.

• When making the play call to ride the bus, also remember that an ORCA card will not only save you money by letting you transfer between buses, but also speed up boarding. If you will be paying your fare with cash try to have exact change ready. There are many places to get an ORCA card. You can purchase one at the Bellevue Transit Center vending machine on the north sidewalk, or at other participating retail locations, as well as by mail. Here’s the playbook on getting an ORCA card.

If you’d like help planning your route or need additional information, fill out an online commute inquiry form or send us an email. Some great resources for trip planning are trip planners from Sound Transit and Metro; Puget Sound Trip Planner App; OneBusAway; City Mapper; and Google Maps.

Friday, October 14th, 2016 8:34 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

It’s easy to see the correlation between not exercising and looking silly on your hiking date or not flossing and emitting potent halitosis, but less obvious is the correlation between your daily commute and your health and wellbeing.

Before you go checking WebMD and discover that you need to amputate a limb, it’s important to remember that there are many variables to consider when evaluating your commute. Depending on how and how far you travel each day, your risks may be different. For example, traveling more than ten miles each direction is associated with high blood sugar; commute distance is also related to blood pressure and body mass index. Not to mention the prolonged exposure to air pollution and the risk of lung diseases, heart attack, and stroke.

Image thanks to:

Image thanks to:

Even depression, anxiety, and social isolation are greater risks for those driving to and from work alone. Psychologists have found that mental health issues are a result of not just earth-shattering events, but also minor emotional experiences can manifest into negative psychological expression up to ten years later.



It has also been found that a commute of more than 45 minutes is correlated with lower sleep quality and more exhaustion than those with shorter commutes. Issues stemming from of lack of sleep are myriad, including an effect on attention, long-term memory, impulse behavior, lower immunity, and other problems.

However, not all hope is lost. If you a part of a carpool, vanpool or vanshare, that social time is thought to be having a positive effect on your health and wellbeing in the long term.

He takes the bus. Image thanks to:

He takes the bus. Image thanks to:

If you choose to ride your bike to work you’ll not only save money, but you’ll reap the health benefits of a regular exercise regime and reduce negative impacts on the environment.

Taking the bus can also be a cost-effective and stress-free way to commute. All that time you’d be focused on the road you could be reading, dozing, or maintaining a celebrity-sized social media presence. Busing also has positive health benefits, because even though you may walk just a few hundred yards to the nearest stop, that adds up over the week. In fact, even standing and balancing on the bus is considered a core workout (goodbye belly, hello abs!).

Don’t forget that combining modes may be your best bet for your commute.

If you’d like help planning your new commute don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Thursday, October 6th, 2016 11:11 PM | by Paige Anderson | Comments Off on Commute Consequences

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.

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




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