The City of Kirkland is hoping to reduce congestion through its trip-reduction program by offering grants to employers and property managers to support alternative commute options for employees and tenants.
“Kirkland Green Trip (KGT) is available for free for any employer in Kirkland,” Augusta DeVries, program manager, said. “The goal of the program is congestion mitigation.”
KGT has been around for years, originally starting as the Totem Lake Green Trip employer grant program, and employers including EvergreenHealth, Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems (AES), Transpo Group and the Courtyard by Marriott hotel are among those who have taken advantage of the program.
“EvergreenHealth has been working with Kirkland Green Trip since 2007, after Washington state passed the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Efficiency Act in 2006, revising the goals for trip reduction under the 1991 CTR law,” said Kimberly Cunningham, compensation specialist and employee transportation coordinator for EvergreenHealth’s human resources department. “Since implementation, EvergreenHealth employee participation in ride-sharing has increased tremendously, thanks to the program’s incentives and the area’s ever-increasing traffic congestion.”
Astronics has been using KGT since 2013 to facilitate its employee transportation program.
“Astronics AES uses the KGT website to verify eligibility for commute incentives and rewards, which are given to employees who meet or exceed monthly commute trip-reduction goals,” said Claire Dickey, Astronics employee transportation coordinator.
According to the KGT website, kirklandgreentrip.com, the program has saved more than $2.7 million, 371,204 gallons of gasoline, more than 7.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide and 951,579 trips. It has saved participants from driving nearly 13 million miles alone.
“With this program, EvergreenHealth employees have saved both time and money,” Cunningham said. “Along with arriving to work on time, they save money on commuting expenses like gas and car maintenance.”
The program is managed by the Bellevue Downtown Association (BDA). The BDA has similar partnerships in place with the cities of Bellevue and Issaquah and King County Metro. KGT partners with RideshareOnline.com to help people connect for regional carpooling.
“The BDA has a transportation management association,” said DeVries, who is also the transportation program director for the BDA. “My role is to facilitate the program’s growth in the communities we work with.”
The current KGT grant offerings for employers and property managers include up to $7,000 to build a new or enhance an existing commute program. Staff can connect those interested with resources and help identify program ideas. The deadline to apply for these grants is July 15.
“We can meet with any Kirkland employer who wants to explore (these benefits),” DeVries said.
“I would absolutely recommend Kirkland Green Trip to other companies because its people are very helpful, accessible and easy to work with,” Cunningham added. “They are always willing to attend and support our events, like transportation fairs, to promote the program. In addition to helping us in HR, they also communicate directly with employees and provide them with real-time support and resources.”
KGT is also available to individuals who are looking to spend less time in their cars. It is open to people who live or work in Kirkland.
“KGT has assisted individual employees to craft specific transportation plans,” Dickey said. “Their website makes it easy for Astronics AES employees to log in their commute trips and easy for management to compile results.”
The resources offered through the program include:
- Education about different travel options;
- An interactive system to find carpools, vanpools or bike buddies;
- A trip-log calendar;
- A reward program including gift cards to Amazon and REI;
- A tracking system to monitor the effects on keeping Kirkland’s air clean; and
- A commute cost calculator.
The calculator lets users enter in their commute details to see how much an individual could save through using alternative travel options. It also factors in wear and tear to vehicles.
“(KGT) is a way to give commuters more options,” DeVries said. “Driving alone on (Interstate) 405 is just not an option anymore.”
For more information, visit kirklandgreentrip.com, email support@kirkland greentrip.com or call (425) 990-3097.