OLYMPIA— Did you know that there are 28,000 fewer vehicles on the road every weekday thanks to employers and communities across the state who support commute trip reduction programs? That’s enough vehicles to stretch single file, bumper to bumper, from Olympia to Everett.
Governor Chris Gregoire recognized the efforts of these employers and communities this week by announcing the winners of the 2010 Governor’s Commute Smart Awards at a ceremony hosted at the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia on April 13.
Local employers Tetra Tech of Bothell and The Everett Clinic were honored, as well as employee transportation coordinators Sabrina Combs of the City of Bothell and KC McNeil of Romac Industries of Bothell.
Community Transit’s Curb the Congestion partnership with Snohomish County earned recognition as a “Commute Smart Community Champion.”
The Curb the Congestion program was designed to reduce traffic congestion on three specific corridors in Snohomish County by promoting alternatives to driving. The concept started with 164th Street. Snohomish County completed a major road improvement project there in 2004, but despite widening the road from five to seven lanes and installing bike lanes and sidewalks, by July 2005 the road was again failing adopted congestion standards.
Snohomish County determined that widening the road further was not feasible, and redirected its efforts from infrastructure improvements to establishing and implementing a program to change transportation behavior. Community Transit was brought in as a partner in late 2007 to create and manage the program. Two other corridors, 128th Street in south Everett and 20th Street in Lake Stevens, have been added to the joint effort, named “Curb the Congestion.”
Community Transit has a staff person dedicated to providing personalized trip planning assistance to residents and employees within the Curb the Congestion corridors. In 2008 and 2009 the program also offered a subsidy for participants who joined a vanpool or used the bus as their primary transportation mode.
Marketing efforts were focused on the more than 75,000 residents and the numerous businesses located in these three corridors – including nine large employers affected by the state’s Commute Trip Reduction program. In 2008, there were approximately 450 contacts with 104 people receiving the subsidy, taking an estimated 6,268 daily trips off 164th Street. A follow-up survey reported that 90 percent of participants would continue to use a commute alternative after the subsidy ended and 65 percent drove alone before Curb the Congestion.
In 2009, there were more than 1,000 contacts and 577 public transportation subsidies issued. Snohomish County estimates that Curb the Congestion removed 13,875 drive-alone trips from the three target corridors in 2009.
The partners expect even greater results in 2010.