Archive for the ‘Drive’ Category

Counterintuitive, but true.

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We’ve all been there, sitting in our cars stuck in a never-ending gridlock and we think to ourselves, if only there were more lanes we’d all be moving along! Road rage sets in, and no matter what poignant story NPR is piping through the radio waves, our stress levels rise and we arrive at our destination full of hatred for our fellow man. Or, perhaps you’re more calm and hold it in, but that anxiety goes somewhere; there is mounting evidence that our commute tension is hijacking our health and wellbeing. Either way, you’re not alone in thinking traffic here is the worst–It actually is! Second worst in the nation for evening rush hour congestion, and fourth worst for overall congestion, that is.

Recently, when solicited for ideas on how to improve commutes in and around the Sound, one respondent said “Super simple. MORE LANES IDIOTS.” First of all, it’s ‘MORE LANES comma IDIOTS’, but that’s beside the point. Many researchers have taken the time to investigate this common and seemingly logical thought only to come up with the same answer: More lanes don’t mean less traffic. In fact, adding lanes almost always results in the same proportion of traffic as before. “As civil engineer and sustainability advocate Charles Marohn so eloquently put it, ‘Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants.’”

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What is “induced demand”?

Induced demand is the concept that demand is relative to supply. In terms of traffic, this means that by increasing road capacity (supply) there will be more cars taking those roads (increased demand). Essentially, as we add lanes more people decide to drive in those lanes. How could this be, you ask? Well, for a brief period widening a road may result in less traffic. But alas! This sweet, sweet commute is fleeting. As more drivers realize this route is now faster and easier, more drivers will take it. What is more, those that weren’t driving (either taking public transit or avoiding leisure trips altogether) are now likely to be incentivized to drive; it being so quick and easy and all. More roads can also attract more business and their associated road use. Essentially, you may be stuck in traffic whether the road has two lanes or six.

Image: Vox.com

So what are the facts?

In 2009 two economists compared data on new roads built and the total number of miles driven in 228 US cities between 1980 and 2000. What they found was a precise correlation.  According to Wired, “If a city had increased its road capacity by 10 percent between 1980 and 1990, then the amount of driving in that city went up by 10 percent. If the amount of roads in the same city then went up by 11 percent between 1990 and 2000, the total number of miles driven also went up by 11 percent. It’s like the two figures were moving in perfect lockstep, changing at the same exact rate”.

Of course, there are limits. If we were to build a highway 100 lanes across, drivers would have a hard time filling it up. Within reason, though, induced demand is a cold, hard fact, even when controlling for factors such as population growth and transit service. Forward-thinking departments of transportation across the nation are beginning to accept this fact, including CalTrans (California Department of Transportation) in the state perhaps most synonymous with gridlock frustrations, and reconsidering the allocation of precious transportation dollars.

The Lone Star State and the lone success story

I’m sure some readers out there are thinking to themselves, this so-called research is skewed! This article is biased! Where are the stats on Texas, where increased road capacity reduced traffic? Well, it’s true that in Texas an anomaly happened. The state decided to build more lanes and it did in fact reduce the average commute time by half, but experts say this won’t last in the long run.

What can we do?

Take lanes away. No, I’m not nuts. In fact, research has shown that the induced demand trend also works in reverse. When cities take away lanes, traffic will end up readjusting itself so that approximately the same ratio of cars to road exists. It’s been done internationally with great success in congested cities such as Paris and Seoul, where more drivers decided to go by foot or public transit rather than drive when road capacity was reduced. However, there are limits; taking away a massive thoroughfare and replacing it with a single lane road won’t exactly slim down with ease.

Is there hope for my commute?

So, are we doomed to live our lives in metal boxes on wheels, crawling along at a snail’s pace, with our hands glued to the steering wheel and our eyes narrowed at the car ahead? Well, that depends on if we can change our culture. America is arguably the most car-centric nation on earth, and proud of it. This means that until we collectively decide that driving isn’t the coolest, the best, the easiest, or the only way to get where we’re going, there will always be traffic no matter how many roads we build ourselves.

As always, Choose Your Way Bellevue is happy to dig into the details and plan that non-drive-alone commute for you!

The takeaway

Whether you become a diehard bus rider, aerodynamic-spandex-wearing biker, or a stay a steadfast driver we wish you luck in getting from A to B. We hope you’ll continue to look at issues from every angle, and of course, recognize the influence social, political, and economic factors have on each other. Traffic and transportation is a big issue that won’t be tackled with any one-size-fits-all solution.

Leave your comments below or email us with questions, comments, or fresh ideas. We’d love to hear about your commute experiences- the good, the bad, and the ugly!

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

Monday, March 13th, 2017 4:05 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: www.erwinwurm.at

Image thanks to: erwinwurm.at

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: rollingstone.com

He takes the bus. Image thanks to: rollingstone.com

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

Zipcar is a one-of-a-kind car sharing service that is just one of Downtown Bellevue’s many alternative transportation options. It allows users to reserve and check-out a vehicle anywhere from a week to an hour in advance. Zipcar can be used on its own or as a compliment to other modes, offering users more flexibility in their schedules while not having to rely on a personal vehicle. Additionally, it’s a great option for those who go to work at peak-time and take off-peak trips, when some transit routes have limited or suspended service.

Image thanks to Zipcar

Image thanks to Zipcar

Here’s how Zipcar works: Zipcar has ten cars available in Bellevue, all in Downtown . Users sign up online and pay an annual fee to become a member. Once a member, you’re given a membership card and gain access to 500+ vehicles in Downtown Bellevue, Downtown Redmond, and Seattle; and 10,000+ nationwide. This means you’ll be able to reserve a car near you and check it out for as long as you need, for an additional per-trip fee. You reserve cars via the Zipcar app or website and simply scan into the cars with your membership card. Zipcars are parked in garages, lots, and on the streets, so there is no need to go into a rental office or deal with keeping track of car keys which are left inside the vehicles. All gas, insurance, and 180 miles are included with all reservations; all you need to do is get the Zipcar back to the location where you picked it up for the next Zipcar member to use. Click here to learn about the fee structure.

Downtown Bellevue Zipcar locations are listed below. Click here for a map of locations. If you are using the map, choose Seattle (Puget Sound Region) and click on the icon over Bellevue to find all Zipcar locations in Downtown Bellevue. You can also type in Bellevue in the search bar in the top left. The locations are as follows:

Griffin Parking Lot
NE 8th St./ 110th Ave (10921 NE 8th St)

Key Bank Building
NE 4th Street and 106th PL NE

Skyline Tower Parking Garage
10900 NE 4th Street

989 Elements Parking Garage
989 Elements (989 112th Ave NE)

Zipcar Flexible: Zipcar has recently introduced a new version of their service called Zipcar Flexible, operating between Downtown Bellevue and Seattle. Unlike traditional Zipcar, these cars are one-way vehicles, meaning they do not need to be returned to their pick-up location. The service includes guaranteed parking on both ends of the trip, in both Downtown Bellevue and Seattle. Using the same reservation process as regular Zipcar, members can travel between the Eastside and west side, carpool back, ride transit back, or even stay there!

There are currently two Zipcar Flexible (one-way) locations in Downtown Bellevue:

Elements Parking Garage
989 Elements (989 112th Ave NE)

Griffin Parking Lot
NE 8th St./ 110th Ave (10921 NE 8th St)

These cars can be taken to multiple Seattle locations including Downtown, Belltown, Capitol Hill, Beacon Hill, South Lake Union, Fremont, and West Seattle. These cars can also be taken one-way from Seattle to Bellevue.

Pricing per trip for these one way trips starts at $5, making it a comparable option to riding the bus, using a ride app such as Uber or Lyft, or another mode. Check out an example of how this service works by following this link: zipcar.com/flexible.

Try Zipcar: If you are interested in becoming a member you can download the Zipcar app to see Zipcar locations and availability, and be on the road within minutes. If you are interested in a business account for your company or department contact Zipcar at seattlemarketing@zipcar.com and mention Choose Your Way Bellevue to get set up with a free account (a $75 savings!).

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 6:23 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

But you’re wondering – “Emergency Ride Home – how does that work?”

Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Augusta breaks it down for you:

CIM ERHOnce you’ve pledged you can join the I-405 Diamond Club!  – Upon your completion of the pledge, you are invited to join the I-405 Diamond Club through your RideshareOnline.com account. Here’s the rundown to get your first Emergency Ride Home (ERH) credit.

  1. Visit the “Rewards” tab at the top of your account.
  2. Click on “Incentive Programs” to view the I-405 Diamond Club incentive.
  3. Click “Submit Request” to join.
  4. Upon approval, you will receive your first Emergency Ride Home code, which you can access through Rewards > Pending Rewards (to choose your reward) > Reward History (to redeem your reward): (click to enlarge)View Redeem Instructions_diamond Club
  5. Continue to log your eight pledged days each month to earn another code each month through April 30, 2016, keeping your eligibility active.

We encourage you to write down your codes as you receive them, with the phone number and directions. Save your promo codes in your email, on your smartphone, or in your wallet on this handy card so that it is easily accessible in an emergency. Do not upload it to your Uber or Lyft account until you are ready to use it.

These are not free rides for planned trips or personal errands; the ERH is intended for you to have taxi rides home from work in your pocket in case of an eligible emergency. (Be sure to review these so you understand which trips qualify for as eligible emergencies).

Redeeming your ERH credit

If and when you are experiencing an eligible emergency, here is how to redeem your ride code (this is very similar to how you redeemed your first Diamond Club code, above):

  • Log into your account
  • Hover over “Rewards” on the top blue bar; click on “Pending Rewards.”
  • After you’ve chosen, hover over “Rewards” on the top blue bar; then click on “Rewards History.” Next to CIM – Emergency Ride Home click “View Redeem Instructions” to find the directions on how to redeem your ride.

A friendly note: Emergency Ride Home promo codes do not pay for tips. If you choose to tip, you may do so with your own credit card.

seattle yellow cabFor taxi rides you will have to call (425) 450-4555, identify yourself to the taxi dispatcher and state the name of the program–Community In Motion Emergency Ride Home program—when they ask for the “Employer”. We have agreements with Far West and Yellow Cab in the King County area. If this is an eligible trip, you will be able to get a ride home up to 60 miles in length. A friendly reminder that the tip is not included with this credit.

 

For Uber and Lyft codes, you’ll arrange your own ride through your personal Uber or Lyft accounts. You’ll use the ERH promo code to pay for rides up to 60 miles or $100. If your ride exceeds this amount you’ll be required to pay the difference.Uber

What should you do BEFORE you need an Emergency Ride Home while using Uber or Lyft?

  • Download the Uber and/or Lyft app(s). Create Uber and/or Lyft account(s) using your own credit card.
  • Redeem your code in your RideshareOnline.com account.

How to arrange an Emergency Ride Home?

  • Hail a ride using your Uber or Lyft app.
  • Using the Uber or Lyft app, “pay” for the ride using your ERH code. If the trip exceeds $100 or 60 miles, pay the difference with your credit card through your Uber or Lyft account.
  • At the conclusion of the Uber or Lyft ride, you may have the option to tip the driver using your own money.Lyft

If you haven’t pledged yet, and you are interested in the emergency ride home and haven’t taken the pledge yet, you can take the pledge here. Email getinmotion@kingcounty.gov with questions on the Communities In Motion program or the Emergency Ride Home. Ride credits expire June 15, 2016.

 

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015 7:18 PM | by augusta | Add a Comment
0150-BellevueICEskate-12-5-14Small

Photo by Mike Penney

Magic Season is here once again bringing residents and visitors together for six weeks of special holiday events! Warm yourself up with a hot cocoa while enjoying the ice arena, Garden D’Lights, local dining and shopping! Avoid the delays of traffic and the hassle of trying to find parking by following our transportation tips to help you find alternative ways for your commute while enjoying the holidays.

What’s more, Choose Your Way Bellevue will be at the Bellevue Downtown Association Magic Season Ice Arena presented by Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday Dec. 14. Stop by our table to say hello, spin our prize wheel and learn more about getting around town during this busy season.

In addition we’ll be giving away free ice skating tickets on social media. us on Facebook and Instagram to participate in our Magic Season ticket giveaway. What exactly do you have to do? There will be multiple opportunities and chances for you to be entered into the drawingand here’s how:

  • We will post a weekly trivia question on Facebook or Instagramand if you answer correctly you will be entered to win.
  • Tag @chooseurwaybell on Instagram showing us how you’re commuting to work (if you are a carpool or vanpool driver, make sure you are parked before you snap a photo!)
  • Guess where we are! We’ll post a picture, and tell us where we are in Bellevue to be entered to win.

Three fun and easy ways to be entered to win ice arena tickets while learning about your different travel options during the holiday season. We hope to see you around Downtown Bellevue these next few weeks. Be on the lookout for our social media updates! The first trivia question will be on Monday, December 7!

Magic Season Commuting and Transportation Tips

Ride the Bus: More than 20 King County Metro and Sound Transit bus routes travel through the Bellevue Transit Center. You can park your car at a park-and-ride lot such as South Bellevue, Eastgate or South Kirkland and hop on a bus the rest of the way. Visit tripplanner.kingcounty.gov to plan your trip.

Try the B Line: King County Metro’s RapidRide B Line goes from the Redmond Transit Center through Overlake, Crossroads and several stops along NE 8th Street to the Bellevue Transit Center.

Bring Friends: Carpooling can save you time when you take high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on I-90 and east of Lake Washington on SR 520. The I-405 Express Toll Lanes can make a short trip to Downtown Bellevue. With a group of two or more in those off-peak times you can avoid the toll with a GoodToGo FlexPass. You need three or more to drive in the express toll lanes for free during peak hours. Three or more in your carpool is required for using the HOV lanes on SR 520. The HOV direct access ramp at NE 6th Street will get you into Downtown faster. Find out more at goodtogo405.com.

Photo by Mike Penney

Photo by Mike Penney

Park near the Park: Parking is available at the Bellevue Downtown Park if you are heading to the Bellevue Downtown Association’s Magic Season Ice Arena presented by Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card. Doing a little shopping in Old Bellevue? Two-hour, limited on-street parking is available around Old Bellevue and on Main Street.

Download These Mobile Apps to Help You Get Around:

One Bus Away: Take the bus and save money— for more holiday shopping! Download the app for iPhone, Android and Windows phones to access up to date bus arrivals times so you aren’t running or waiting for the next Metro or Sound Transit bus.

Waze: Is the community-based app where you can share with fellow driver’s real-time traffic alerts and road information in your area, helping to save you time and money.

Inrix Traffic or WSDOT: Both of these apps will keep you up to date with instant traffic and travel alerts in and around the Eastside. Be sure to download either of these apps and save yourself some time by avoiding backups! InrixTraffic.com and WSDOT.gov.

Other apps to try: These multimodal real-time trip planning app such as Google Maps, The Transit App, Ridescout, or King County Metro’s Trip Planner app can also tell you the time, duration and cost of your trip using various modes such as transit, walking, cycling, and driving.

And as always – if you need any assistance planning your trip, feel free to contact Choose Your Way Bellevue or fill out a commute inquiry.

Friday, December 4th, 2015 10:41 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

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