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Choose Your Way Bellevue had another fantastic month of May celebrating all things bicycle.  In this post we’ll look back on some of the things going on around town that, if missed, you should get on your calendar for next year!Pizza Party

Even before the month got started, the City of Bellevue hosted a “Basics of Urban Cycling” class and pizza lunch in late April.  The Cascade Bicycle Club instructor-led class covered the basics of gear selection, route planning, and riding and safety tips.

 

Challenge Logo

Then it was off to the races—quite literally, as the Washington Bikes Bike Everywhere Challenge kicked off state wide to get as many people riding as much as possible during the month of May.  At last count there were close to 10,000 participants who rode a cumulative total of more than 1.7 million miles.  That distance is almost 70 times around the circumference of the earth—wow!

Bike Bash

Next up was the 2018 Eastside Bike Bash at REI’s new Bellevue store on May 1.  The event served as the Eastside Captain’s Packet Pickup for the Washington Bikes Bike Everywhere Challenge and as a general “Yay for bike riders” kickoff celebration of the month of May.  Our friends from Bellevue Wellness, Boys and Girls Club – Wheel Lab, Cascade Bicycle Club, City of Bellevue Planning and Parks Departments, Eastside Rail Corridor, Greater Redmond TMA, Kirkland Green Trip, KIND Bar, Smashmallow and Sound Transit all came out to help us have a good time.

Eagle eyed readers will spot local elected officials King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci and City of Bellevue Deputy Mayor Lynne Robinson in photos on our Choose Your Way Bellevue Facebook page!  (And yes, those are gourmet s’mores being roasted over a REI fire pit, using KIND bars, Theo chocolate and Smashmallows.  One word: YUM.)

Proclamation

But it doesn’t stop there.  Did you know that May was officially proclaimed “Bike Everywhere Month” in the City of Bellevue?  It’s true! We’ve got the signed document from the mayor.  Check out the full text of proclamation online or watch Councilmember Jared Nieuwenhuis read it aloud at the May 14th City Council Extended Study Session meeting.  (Click on item 2c—the bike part starts around the 12:30 mark in the video.) CYWB even gets a “shout out” by name from City Council.  And special thanks to Cascade Bicycle Club and Transportation Department Assistant Director Ron Kessack for their remarks!

Transit Center BED

Then it was onto the main event of the month: Bike Everywhere Day.  The day we were waiting for in eager anticipation.  The rain held off and people came out in droves!  Choose Your Way Bellevue hosted Celebration Stations at the Bellevue Transit Center and at the I-90 Trail in Enatai and were among more than 130 stations state wide. Our friends from the City of Bellevue Planning Department, City of Bellevue Police, FlyWheel Sports, Gregg’s Cycles, REI, Sound Transit and VeloFix all came out to get in on the action.  Special thanks to Sound Transit for helping provide the space and thanks for KIND Bar and Starbucks for providing snacky goodness!

You can catch up on some of the photos from the day on our Facebook page. We also had some friends at the SR 520 Trail hosting a station for many Bellevue and Eastside riders.  That’s the same location as the opening day event we helped put on back in December.

24th Street

Speaking of the SR 520 Trail, now people on bicycles can ride on bicycle facilities from Redmond all the way to Seattle using a combination of bike lanes and off-street trails.  As part of the City of Bellevue Transportation Levy, buffered bike lanes have been added to NE 24th Street from the SR 520 Trail to Northup Way, including green paint at conflict points.  This truly brings Bellevue up to speed with up-to-date amenities.

Whew–that was a lot!  So now that May is over, what’s on the horizon?  We’re glad you asked:

  • The commuting fun doesn’t stop. June is Ride Transit Month. Take the pledge to show your support for public transportation and you could win great prizes. Maybe you could even take your bike with you?
  • June 9th is the City of Bellevue Parks Department’s Lake to Lake Bike Ride. Explore Bellevue’s hidden treasures by bike—bring the family, rain or shine, to a social, non-competitive riding adventure with a flat nine-mile loop or a more challenging (and hilly) 22-mile route. Learn more and register here!  Choose Your Way Bellevue with be at the finish line, so stop by our tent and say Hi!
  • Bikeshare may be coming to Bellevue soon. The city has approved a permitting process to allow private companies to operate dockless bikeshare systems in Bellevue.  Many cities already have bikeshare programs, but there are a few unique features that will set Bellevue apart:  The system will be dockless; all bikes in the system will be “e-assist” and have an electric motor/battery to help flatten the hills; and there will be designated “bike hub” parking areas to help maintain orderly public spaces.  For more information on the bikeshare pilot check out this flyer.
  • In facilities news, the city is completing the first bikeway through the heart of Downtown as a demonstration project this July. This will provide a safer and more comfortable route for people to bike north-south in Bellevue’s most bustling neighborhood. It will include bike lanes in either direction of 108th Ave NE, from Main Street to NE 12th Learn more about the project on the City of Bellevue website. And keep your eyes on Choose Your Way Bellevue Facebook and Twitter for information on a ribbon cutting and grand opening event!

So that’s the run-down on everything bike-related that’s been going on in the month of May.  See you in the bike lanes!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Tim

 

Friday, June 1st, 2018 11:10 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

Seattle’s Ruff Rider

Eclipse with her Orca card

It started with Eclipse’s owner smoking a cigarette a little too long one day which made this impatient pooch jump onto the bus without her owner. Eclipse’s owner followed suit on the next bus and noticed that Eclipse was already waiting at the dog park. Eclipse’s owner usually rides with her, but on the off chance she’s solo, Eclipse jumps onto the Rapid Ride D line, sits quietly and waits for her stop all on her own. Although Eclipse should really be on a leash, dogs are able to ride at the discretion of the driver and under certain guidelines. For those that are new to transit and want to join Eclipse in finding an alternative commute Choose Your Way Bellevue is currently offering a great promotion for new transit users*. Visit our homepage to find out more.

 

Friday, August 25th, 2017 2:12 PM | by Sandee Ditt | Add a Comment

You might not believe it, but there was a time when there were only a handful of options to move about in the city. Mobile technology and transit growth means Bellevuites have arguably more choices than ever before. We have put together some popular questions that have been asked about rideshare programs and some ideas on how to get you moving.

The park-and-ride is always full; how can I ensure I’ll have a place to park if I share the ride to the park-and-ride?

Try starting a VanShare. A great promotion is going on right now for commuters sharing a ride to a Park-and-Ride in the I-90/I-405 corridor. Start a van with just two other riders and you can get the first three months free while you recruit more riders! On top of receiving a $50 MasterCard Rewards card, each member will receive a free Orca card with $25 pre-loaded. Need another reason? Your van is parked at qualifying Park-and-Rides for FREE at a reserved spot!

I don’t have enough people to start a VanShare or VanPool, but still want a reserved spot for my carpool.

You’re in luck, right now you can obtain carpool parking permit for carpooling to a park-and-ride with one additional passenger and get a reserved carpool space and skip driving around and searching for a parking spot. King County (Metro) is providing free permits at participating and Sound Transit is providing passes at $5 for their Park-and-Rides. Need a little push to start that carpool? Qualifying carpool drivers can receive a free Good To Go! pass while supplies last. If you will be carpooling at least one day per week between Bellevue and Lynnwood and, you could qualify for this free pass! Skip the traffic and jump into that express lane and get to work quicker without having to pay the toll!

But, I need my car for my lunch meeting or to run a quick errand in the middle of the day?

Zipcar is great option for those that need to run an errand during the day or don’t have access to a car. The hourly rate for a Zipcar is normally between $7.50 – $10.50 depending on car type and city. A few garages and surface lots hold a Zipcar that you can reserve a head of time and there might just be one close to or in the building you’re in! Uber and Lyft are also great resources for longer appointments where pick up and drop off happen right in front of your building. These carshare services available in Downtown Bellevue  is a great resource to use instead of having to drive your car to work, pay for gas, parking, tolls and car maintenance. To help increase car share services in the Eastside take the Eastside Carshare Survey and you can help bring more carshare options to Bellevue!

I still want to take the bus, but my Park-and-Ride is too full and the garage at my building is too expensive.

For those that need to get closer to a bus route, Metro has partnered with Diamond parking to give commuters the option of buying reserved parking spaces closer to your transit line. The first month is free and the following monthly rates are lower than most private garages in Bellevue. Check out our other blog post on the lots with convenient access to Downtown Seattle.

Friday, July 21st, 2017 12:40 PM | by Sandee Ditt | 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

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

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