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Bellevue College employee wins Governor’s Commute Smart Award | Deric Gruen’s commute reduction efforts garner more recognition

Deric Gruen (center) of Bellevue College receives his award from Keith Cotton (left) and Ted Horobiowski. - Courtesy photo
Deric Gruen (center) of Bellevue College receives his award from Keith Cotton (left) and Ted Horobiowski.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

A normal day’s work for Bellevue College employee Deric Gruen involves saving students and staff money, easing traffic congestion, curbing pollution and contributing to a cleaner environment.

As the college’s sustainability and resource conservation manager, he designs programs that encourage the college community to use alternative means of transport – such as transit and carpools – to commute to and from campus. For these efforts, he has received a 2012 Governor’s Commute Smart Award, which recognizes his leadership and innovation in reducing traffic in the region.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, Gruen “commissioned a parking study at Bellevue College and established a transportation management taskforce of student and employee stakeholders. He led outreach efforts for RideshareOnline.com at the school and developed a program to use parking fees to offset the rising cost of the school’s transit program for students and employees. Participation in the program soon increased by 30 percent.”

In addition to these efforts, Gruen’s newest initiative is a proposal to partner with Hopelink to offer one-on-one commute advising to 4,000 students that will help them access education and save money. In the process, this will reduce single occupancy vehicle trips to campus and contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

In July, Gruen, a resident of Seattle, also was recognized by Commuter Challenge, an initiative of enterpriseSeattle, for his strong commute trip reduction efforts on BC’s campus, which employs over 1,500 employees and serves 37,000 students annually.

Each year, the Commute Smart Awards recognize communities, businesses, agencies and workplace transportation coordinators for their creative efforts to promote ridesharing and other alternatives to driving alone, such as bicycling and teleworking. The awards highlight the benefits of commute trip reduction, a law passed by the state Legislature in 1991 that calls on employers to encourage their workers to choose transportation options that reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

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