Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Community Transit’s Day in the Life: Oxy Gene

Our spotlight this month is on a man who needs little introduction, Community Transit’s very own Superhero, Oxy Gene! He’s been spreading the word about his personal motto of truth, justice and really clean air for 15 years. Watch for Oxy Gene at fairs and festivals all across Snohomish County. I think you’ll agree with me that he’s definitely earned his title of Superhero!
 
 
Hello Good People!
  
I know you’ve probably seen me around the Puget Sound area and are wondering, “Who is this Oxy Gene character anyway”? Well fellow citizens, I can’t give out all of my secrets, but let me tell you a little bit about myself.
 
I live in the small town of Airisclear, WA near the slopes of Mt. Rainier. I love waking up in the morning and seeing that beautiful mountain! But when air quality standards begin to fall, the mountain becomes a little hazy. That’s when I dash from my home to rid the air of pollution. I HATE POLLUTION! I hate everything about it! I hate the vile concoction of filth, exhaust, and other oxygen killing particulates that invade our air everyday. What is one of the main causes of air pollution? You guessed it…CARS! But by taking public transportation you are doing your part to keep our air clean.
 
When Community Transit called I was happy to help out. I spend my days visiting the good people of Snohomish County showing them how to ride the bus, and all the benefits of using public transportation including making our community a better and healthier place to live, and how to save time and money by sharing the ride with family and friends. Now that summer is here, look for me at various parades around beautiful Snohomish County. Enjoy the summer everyone! 

Want a chance to meet Oxy Gene? Visit him this summer at the following events:
  • July 19 – Snohomish Kla Ha Ya Days Parade
  • August 2 – Stanwood Camano Fair Parade
  • August 5 – Mukilteo National Night Out
  • August 5 – Snohomish County National Night Out
  • August 9 – Mill Creek Kids Fun Run
  • September 6 – Mukilteo Lighthouse Parade
  • September 13 – Marysville Touch a Truck
For more information on Oxy Gene please visit www.commtrans.org/oxygene.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Community Transit Recognizes Smart Transportation Choices

 
Did you know that over 50% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Washington come from transportation sources?

Community Transit’s Choice Connections program recognizes worksites and commuters in Snohomish County and the City of Bothell that go above and beyond to reduce pollution and congestion by promoting alternatives to driving alone.

The Choice Connections award winners for the 1st Quarter of 2014 were:

Smart Commuter of the Quarter
Mark Fagan, Smart Commuter of the Quarter
Mark Fagan from Esterline-Korry gave up his car as part of a New Year’s resolution and hasn’t looked back. He is able to commute to work via vanpool, Swift and bicycle and is enjoying the positive effects to both his health and wallet. Mark’s personal mission is to use his smart commute to reduce his carbon footprint.

Employee Transportation Coordinator of the Quarter
Jeanne Killgore of The Everett Clinic at Smokey Point has been instrumental in evaluating her worksite Commute Trip Reduction program to successfully remove drive alone trips from our roads. Thanks to her hard work she was successfully able to surpass her worksite survey requirements, which helps to gauge future areas for program growth.

Employer of the Quarter
The City of Lynnwood is dedicated to making it easier for their employees to choose smart transportation options. They offer a monthly incentive for those who choose not to drive alone to work. Their worksite show an impressive savings of over 4,700 pounds of CO2 and over 6,000 vehicle trips reduced from our local roads in the first quarter 2014.
     
Choice Connections is a new program that rewards commuters for choosing a smart alternative to driving alone, and offers the tools and resources needed to get started. When you choose a smart commute, your efforts reduce traffic, save money and time, and help the environment. To learn more about the Choice Connections program please visit Community Transit Choice Connections.
 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bike Month: Success throughout Snohomish County


May was National Bike Month and Snohomish County had a great turn out for the month long activities. Over 1,114 bicyclists from Snohomish County participated in the Commute Challenge during the month of May. In Snohomish County alone, there were an impressive 818 participants in Bike to Work Day commute station celebrations. Thank you for everyone who geared up to join in the Bike Month festivities including our commute station sponsors: Starbucks and Talking Rain! For more information on biking in your community, additional resources are available at Community Transit bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club.


Bike Month Spotlight: Seattle Genetics

We are excited to share the success of one of our local employers, Seattle Genetics, who just wrapped up their most successful Bike to Work campaign in 2014. Their Bike Month events at their Bothell worksite include a Bike Month Challenge team that raised funds for a local non-profit agency. Kelly Davis, Employee Transportation Coordinator for Seattle Genetics, shares their impressive story:


In May 2014, employees at Seattle Genetics, the largest Washington-based biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing innovative, empowered antibody-based therapies for the treatment of cancer, beat the company’s previous Bike to Work month records by a wide margin. Fifty-four employees biked 6,000 miles in 576 one way trips during the month of May. Participation and miles biked increased 45 percent on average over previous years. In fact, several new participants mentioned how they started biking to work because of Seattle Genetics’ Bike to Work program and several plan to continue to bike to work through the summer.


Seattle Genetics boosted 2014 participation through different incentives. The biggest incentive came through the company matching $1 for every mile biked, resulting in $6,000 donated to Gilda's Club Seattle, a non-profit organization providing a support network for those living with cancer - survivors, their loved-ones and friends. Seattle Genetics also provided company branded bike wind vests, onsite bike tune-ups for Bike to Work day participants and gave out $20 gift certificates from a local bike shop to two lucky winners each week.

Every year it is a pleasure to see Bike to Work month participation increase at Seattle Genetics, with this year proving just as spectacular.
 

 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Route 232 Continues Response to Post-Landslide Needs

Before the March 22 Oso landslide, Route 230 provided “lifeline” service to connect Darrington and Oso with Arlington and the rest of Snohomish County. The route ran two round trips each weekday, one in the morning and one in the evening. There weren’t a lot of riders, but this bus service offered a way to connect to the community if you didn’t have a car.

When the landslide shut down the Highway 530 connection to the county, there was a sense of isolation east of Oso. The only way to get to Arlington or Everett was to drive north into Skagit County and take a 2-to-3 hour trip. Not only was it inconvenient, at $3.75 or so a gallon it was also expensive.

Community Transit responded with Route 231, providing a bus trip on that long route at the bargain prices of $2 a ride (standard local adult fare). Because local residents might need to do some basic shopping and errands besides get to work, Route 231 made mid-day stops at the convenience store in Concrete, and the Food Pavilion and hospital in Sedro Woolley, along with morning and evening round trips. We've had as many as 20 people a day use this remote service.

Now that one lane of Highway 530 has been re-opened, Community Transit is returning to direct service to Darrington. Route 232 will provide morning and evening round trips, like Route 230 did, but Route 232 will also take people all the way to Smokey Point, which was a popular destination on the Route 231.

Route 230 will go away for now. While Route 220 between Arlington and Smokey Point will remain unchanged, Route 232 will serve the same stops as Route 220 at times when a transfer has not been very convenient. Thank you for your patience and support.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Spoken Wheel: Stories from Snohomish County Bikers

Our next Spoken Wheel story comes from Mark Fagan from Esterline, our newest Community Transit Smart Commuter of the Quarter. Mark has been riding his bike to work ever since his car died 18 months ago and he has been enjoying the positive effects to both his health and his wallet. 

Mark shared some of his thoughts on how biking to work has impacted his life:

I have been fortunate enough to work for a company which has consistently fostered a culture of creative commuting. We are given support through administrative assistance in coordinating Rideshare groups, Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Awareness events, and even subsidies for CTR participation.

A few years ago, my company moved the plant from Seattle to Everett. That same year, Community Transit introduced The Swift rapid bus line. That put me in range for a bicycle/bus commute. I tried the bike/bus commute on and off, but hadn’t really committed until a couple of years ago when the transmission on my car went out (for the second time). That was the tipping point for me. We had a family meeting and it was agreed that we could easily be a one car family.

I found a good deal on a used Cannondale road bike, which I then converted to a commuter rig complete with expandable luggage and heavy duty rims. I researched the best route to take between work and home using Google Maps and GPSVisualizer.com. With this combination, I was able to easily customize a bike route and compile an accurate elevation profile. On my first commute trip, I found that not only was I capable of completing the route, but I actually enjoyed it! I thought about all the gas money I would save, the carbon emissions I wouldn't produce, and it certainly couldn't hurt my waistline. I resolved to go for one whole year without a car.

Each year my colleagues form two teams to participate in the Commute Challenge for Bike to Work month. Last year, I volunteered to captain one of the teams (Go CycleOps!). We had a lot of fun, getting to exercise while indulging our competitive spirit. At the end of Bike to Work Month, we had a surprisingly satisfying outcome. We tied. One team won from trip rate, and the other for cumulative miles. We had a great time and I’m looking forward to doing it again.
I passed the one year “car-less” milestone about 6 months ago. I've found that between a Community Transit Vanpool, the Swift Bus, and my bicycle, I haven’t really missed having a car much. When I do, I rent one and still come out ahead. Maybe next year I’ll buy a car. I’m in no hurry.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Spoken Wheel: Stories from Snohomish County Bikers

Michael on his way to work
Michael Cawrse is a Stormwater Engineering Technician for the City of Edmonds. He has been riding his bike to work, rain or shine, from his home in Seattle to Edmonds for years. In 2013, he was selected to be Community Transit’s Smart Commuter of the Quarter for his commitment to reducing traffic and emissions by biking and carpooling to work.

Mike shared some of his thoughts on Bike to Work Month:
 
“It’s been great seeing all the bike riders the last few weeks, especially now that Bike to Work and School Month is in full swing. It is a great time to take advantage of the (hopefully) warmer weather to save your gas money and get healthy.
 
And if you pick just one day to ride, make it Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 16. Check your route beforehand and see if there are any Commute Stations (http://www.cascade.org/commute-stations) giving out swag. And if you’re in Edmonds, my co-workers and I will see you at the Commute Station near the ferry terminal!!
 
Lastly, a safety tip to all riders - yell 'On Your Left' when passing other riders or pedestrians."



Thursday, May 1, 2014

Spring into Gear: Tips for New Bike Commuters

Today marks the first day of national Bike Month and now is a great time to pull your bicycle out of the garage and give biking to work or school a try.  Biking is a great way to avoid traffic stress and the costs of driving.  It’s also a great way to combine your commute with your workout!

For a new bike commuter, here are just a few tips to help you get started:

1.    Plan your route in advance. Usually there are several ways to get from your house to the office. Consider taking the easiest route with the least amount of traffic even if it is longer.  
    • Download the newly updated Snohomish County Bike Map to find bike friendly routes from your home or work.
    • Visit Google Maps biking feature to input your starting point and destination and get suggested routes.
2.    Try a practice run on the weekend and pay attention to how much time it takes so you can avoid being late to work.

3.    Know the proper turn signals so that you can alert drivers, pedestrians and other bikers of your actions:
    • Right turn signal - either hold your right arm out, or hold your left arm up, with bent elbow. You don’t have to keep your arm out through the turn – you may need both hands on the handlebars to keep control of your bicycle.
    • Left turn signal - left hand straight out
    • Brake signal - left hand pointed down bend at the elbow at a 45 degree angle
4.    Get a light.  A simple headlight or flashing light on your bike or person can make you more visible to drivers.  Bike lights can be purchased at most bicycle shops and sports stores for as little as $5.

5.    Wear a helmet.  Not only is it the law in Washington State, but a helmet can protect you if something unexpected happens.

6.    Be prepared for weather.  Be sure to check out the forecast before you leave the house and make sure you have the right gear with you including sunglasses (hopefully!), rain gear or gloves.

7.    Bring in clothes, lunches and other items you need to bring from home to work for the week in on the weekend so you don’t have to worry about them on your ride.  If you need to bring items with you each day, consider purchasing a bike bag or rack which can be purchased at most bicycle shops and sport stores.

8.    Find out ahead of time where you can park your bike at your workplace and where you can store any bike gear.

9.    Keep up on bike maintenance and cleaning for a smoother ride and to make sure you catch any problems early.


10.  Remember, if you have a long commute to work you don’t have to bike the whole way.  Check out if there are transit routes that can get you near work or home and you can bike the rest of the way.  All regional buses and trains are equipped with bike racks and many transit centers and park & rides have bike lockers or racks for you to park your bike.
    • Visit our website for more information on biking and busing.

Community Transit is supporting bike activities all month long throughout Snohomish County. To learn more about Bike Month events and resources, visit our Bike Month webpage.