Weeklong event encourages green transportation
MIDDLEBURY — For nearly a decade, a growing number of Vermonters have pledged to try a new way of commuting during the weeklong Way to Go! Commuter Challenge. This year the statewide event is being held May 13-17. Way to Go! promotes economical, environmentally friendly, safe alternatives to driving solo. Businesses and individuals can sign up at the Way to Go! website, www.waytogovt.org.
Last year 400 businesses, 250 towns in Vermont and neighboring states, and 3,500 individuals participated in the challenge. Each year Addison County receives recognition for its participation. In 2012 Vergennes won the Community Carbon Cup award, which is based on the number of residents participating and their collective carbon reductions. Middlebury Union High School also won a 2012 award in Local Motion’s Head to Head School Challenge against Burlington High School. Overall, Vermont commuters saved more than 300,000 vehicle miles and nearly $70,000 in transportation costs while reducing CO2 emissions by close to 300,000 pounds. All in one week.
“With gas prices staying high, trying out a new way to commute that saves money is really important to folks,” said Nadine Canter Barnicle, community relations manager at Addison County Transit Resources (ACTR). “Change begins with small steps, just trying something new for a day or a week during Way to Go! can inspire year round efforts to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”
ACTR is offering “Fare-Free Friday” on May 17 as an added rider incentive. As in years past, ACTR will donate fares collected during Way to Go! to United Way of Addison County.
“Hopefully the weather will cooperate, but bikers and walkers should have backup plans to share the ride or take the bus,” Barnicle added. “GoVermont launched a new rideshare database format recently and signing up is easy.”