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You’ve probably heard the news about the SR 99 closure and the significant impacts for commuters. King County Metro needs your help to reduce traffic and fill seats in our vans. On January 11, 2019 the closure begins and will last for at least three weeks–some ramps and roadways may be closed to traffic for up to six weeks. Rideshare Operations has three exciting solutions to assist you during the closure and beyond!

  1. Add a New Rider – Metro Vans Get Rewarded. Existing Metro Vanpool or Vanshare groups that add a new rider can get a $50 gift card.
  2. Join a Metro Van – New Riders are Free During the SR 99 Closure. New riders can join a Metro Vanpool or Vanshare and ride for FREE during the SR 99 closure period
  3. Connect to the King County Water Taxi with Vanshare. New Metro Vanshare groups that connect from their home to the Water Taxi in West Seattle or from the Seattle Water Taxi at Pier 52 to their worksite get three months for FREE ($555 value). Groups can get started will just three participants.

Learn more about these promotions on the King County Rideshare page.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

Thursday, December 13th, 2018 3:06 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

This post originally appeared on the Bellevue Downtown Association website.
-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

The real magic of Magic Season? Not worrying about parking.

Magic Season has officially begun in Downtown Bellevue, and with so many things to do, why spend any time bothering with parking? From a life-sized snow-globe and ice skating in the park, to a nightly parade of fairytale wonder, and a garden of lights to explore; you can do it all without circling, cursing, or praying to the parking gods.

Most of the holiday events are central to the downtown core, making the bus an especially easy option:

First things first, find your route. All buses traveling in and out of downtown will go through the Bellevue Transit Center, located on 6th between 108th and 110th. A short walk and you’ll think you’re at the North Pole!

  • The Sound Transit route 550 will go from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (Westlake) up Bellevue Way and to the Bellevue Transit Center. Jump off at 4th and walk across the street to the downtown park for ice skating at the Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink presented by Alaska Mileage Plan, or to check out Snowflake Lane presented by The Bellevue Collection; or jump off at the transit center and walk down the block to Meydenbauer Center Theatre for a show. This route runs every 15 minutes, Monday-Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays.
  • The King County Metro route 271 goes all the way from the University District in Seattle to Eastgate Park-and-Ride or the Issaquah Transit Center via the Bellevue Transit Center; the Issaquah buses are less frequent, so if this is the route you need, double check the time schedule. Jump off at 10th & 106th (holiday reroute) to head down to Snowflake Lane and the Bellevue Downtown Park for a skate. Exit at 116th & 1st to check out the Garden D’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Gardens.
  • Take King County Metro routes 234 or 235 from South Kirkland to the Bellevue Transit Center
  • Take the Rapid Ride B Line from Overlake Park-and-Ride, Overlake Transit Center, or Crossroads to the Bellevue Transit Center.

Second, you’ll need to pay your fare. The easiest way to do that is to have your ORCA card handy, just tap and go! It’ll track transfers and fares for you. If you don’t already have an ORCA card, or your e-purse is empty, head over to justonetrip.org and after taking a quick survey for King County Metro, you’ll be mailed an ORCA card pre-loaded with $25 in fare; or you’ll have $25 added to your existing ORCA card. If you pay in cash, be sure to have $2.75 in exact change, since the driver will not give change. If you’re taking a King County Metro route, hold onto your transfer to use on the way back (if within 2 hours). Sound Transit does not accept paper transfers.

Third, get ready to ride! There are a few apps that will allow you to track your bus in real time to your stop. Our favorite is OneBusAway–free to download and use, this app will tell you how early or late your bus is running to your favorite stops. Google Maps is a trusty go to for route planning as well. Be sure to select the bus as your mode and play with the Schedule Explorer to minimize your wait time.

If you’re still feeling a little hesitant about your ride, you can ask for expert help planning your route and get answers to all your questions from the Just One Trip team at King County Metro, or your local Bellevue travel options program, Choose Your Way Bellevue.

We think taking the bus may get you (back) onto Santa’s good list, but carpooling, biking, and walking will also keep you clear of coal.

Explore Magic Season Events

Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink

Friday, December 7th, 2018 1:48 PM | by geri | Add a Comment

In this blog, we do a dive into the inner workings of Travis and Ashley’s morning travels to work from Sammamish to Bellevue.  Travis is the newest member of the Choose Your Way Bellevue/TransManage team and makes the daily commute as part of a carpool with his girlfriend Ashley.

Read on for our interview with this dynamic duo:

CYWB: Where are you coming from and where do you each go? What is your route to/from work and when are you typically on the road?

 

  • T: We live in Sammamish, right in the middle of the city so it’s the same time if we go up through Redmond or down through Issaquah.  So we keep things fresh and do both, we have it down to a science.
  • A: We live in the Sammamish Plateau, and both work in/near Bellevue (Travis is at the BDA, and I am just down the road at a church in Medina.) Because of where we live in comparison to the lake, we can either go up-and-around the lake, passing through Redmond and hopping on 520, or we can go down through Issaquah and onto I-90. So, to keep things spicy, we do both! We take I-90 in the morning around 8:30 and use 520 at around 4:45-5:00 PM to get home.

CYWB: What are some of the benefits of carpooling together?

  • T: There are a ton of benefits, among them are saving money and time (shout out carpool lane, not HUV lane like Ash pronounces it)
  • A: Two words that I’ll make three: Car. Pool. Lane.! (Anyone else out there pronounce the “HOV” like you’re saying “hovercraft”? No? Bueller?) I bet Travis has more relational/interpersonal benefits that he’ll list for you, he’s very sentimental like that.

CYWB: Do you have any special routines that are part of the trip that you can share? 

 

  • T: My routine is to make sure that we can get out the door in a timely manner.  I see varying results.  Other than that, we listen to the radio and have conversations about our days ahead.
  • A: Travis and I like to play a game in the morning where he desperately tries to get us out the door so that we’re on time for work, while I sleepily try to thwart all his plans, pulling the covers over my face and demanding coffee. This counts as a routine, right?

CYWB:  Was there anything surprising that you discovered about carpooling?  Either about the trip itself or about each other?

 

  • T: I think the surprising part was how much easier it is that I thought.  We share the one car between the two of us and I thought it would be really challenging just owning one car, but it has been a pleasant surprise in just how easy and simple it has made things.
  • A: In addition to what Travis has already said, I’m also really thankful for the ways it’s taught us to be more mindful of ourselves and of one another as a couple. Our jobs can be pretty demanding, and before Travis and I shared a car, there would be nights I’d stay in my office until traffic had all but cleared on the highways (which, if you live here, you know that’s LATE). It’s much easier to ignore self-care and healthy work-life boundaries when there’s no one to account to. However, now that we ride together, it’s easier to recognize those boundaries and fight to preserve them. At the end of the day, it’s not just about my rest but his as well. Our responsibility for one another helps recalibrate the work-life balance that so many people in our over-worked, under-rested society struggle to maintain.

CYWB:  Who is the driver and who is the passenger? How do you decide who drives?

  • T: Ashley is the driver on the way to work and I am the driver on the way home.  We sort of decided to split it up that way because we didn’t want any one of us to drive often. Also, Ashley has a false sense of her ability to drive while not spilling her coffee…..  I usually have the napkins handy.
  • A: I’m the driver in the morning because I know how to drive with a full mug of coffee without spilling it on myself (most of the time).

CYWB:  How do you recommend that someone get started finding a carpool or rideshare to work?

  • T: I would recommend that someone who is interested to check out the Waze Carpool app and Scoop.  Another way would be to ask around with people in your building or neighbors.  [Editor’s note: check out several different programs and tools to help you find a ridematch on our Apps & Technology page!]
  • A: I would say start where you live and work – you may be surprised how many people share your route or at least overlap with it! If that doesn’t work, I’m sure there’s an app (or twenty) that can link you with folks in your area who’d like to enjoy the HOV(er) lane as much as I do!

Thanks you two–we’ll check in again later to see how things are going!

To our readers: If you’re interested in carpooling or vanpooling, be sure to enter your ridematch information in the regional RideshareOnline system so you can find others commuting in your direction, and they can find you! Check out our infographic on how to enter your ridematch trip information in RSO. For other ridesharing tips and to learn about other tools such as iCarpool, Scoop and Waze,” check out our Share the Ride page.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Tim

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 11:20 AM | by geri | Add a Comment

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 Tim Kelley | 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

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