Eastside cities looking to meet employee commute needs
The partners in the Innovation Triangle today launched a new survey designed to gauge demand for carsharing service on the Eastside. The carsharing survey is now available through Aug. 1. The Innovation Triangle is a partnership between Bellevue, Kirkland and OneRedmond to address common economic development initiatives for the Eastside communities.
The short survey asks commuters about travel patterns and neighborhoods they frequently visit. The goal is to determine the viability of possible carsharing services, such as car2go, ReachNow, and Zipcar, as part of the Innovation Triangle's transportation infrastructure.
"This survey is really focused on the mobility needs of employees in our three communities," said Augusta DeVries, transportation program director at TransManage, a service of the Bellevue Downtown Association. "We have high rates of public transit usage in places like downtown Bellevue, but sometimes those transit commuters need a car in the middle of the day to run errands or join a meeting in another neighborhood."
Carsharing fills a gap between taxis, transportation network companies (such as Uber or Lyft) and traditional car rentals, allowing commuters to choose a short-term rental at hourly or daily rates. Some large firms sponsor corporate accounts or even carsharing fleets hosted near their offices for employees to utilize. The ability to take a quick trip in a carsharing vehicle can make daily commuting options, such as public transportation and bicycling, more accessible to employees.
"Getting around without having your car at work is all about having the right option easily available for the type of trip you want to take." said Joel Pfundt, transportation manager, City of Kirkland. "Carsharing can be one of those options."
While carsharing service Zipcar has operated in Bellevue for several years, popular services like ReachNow and car2go, though active in Seattle, have not yet expanded to the Eastside. Once the survey is complete, the partner cities and organizations intend to coordinate with interested carsharing companies to possibly implement pilot projects, where viable.
"Our neighborhoods are really evolving fast. As areas like downtown Bellevue, Overlake and downtown Kirkland develop into more urban places, services like ReachNow and others start to make more sense," said Bart Phillips, CEO of OneRedmond. "We want to be sure workers, residents and visitors have access to the transportation resources they're looking for."
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