Way to Go! sparks carbon reduction

ADDISON COUNTY — The eighth annual Way to Go! commuter challenge kicked off on Monday morning, as people around the state headed to work on foot, by bike and by bus.
The weeklong event, which this year runs from May 14 through 18, invites participation from individuals, schools and businesses, offering awards to those who conserve the most. Last year, the city of Vergennes and the Goodrich Corp.’s Vergennes office both won recognition.
The theme this year is “Gas Pains?” Nadine Canter Barnicle, community relations manager at Addison County Transit Resources (ACTR) and a county Way to Go! organizer said posters announcing the theme has helped to spark additional interest in the event.
And, said Barnicle, alternate forms of transportation are making more sense to people around the county.
“This year there are more transportation options, and gas prices have come down a little, but not by that much,” she said.
Last year statewide participation hit 3,200. According to waytogovt.org, as of this past Friday 3,170 participants had registered for this year’s challenge.
Way to Go! week ties in efficiency efforts from a number of organizations, including ACTR, the Vermont Agency of Transportation’s Go Vermont carpooling initiative and the Vermont Safe Routes to School program.
Barnicle said local businesses and organizations bolster county participation as well — the National Bank of Middlebury and Middlebury Union High School are among the enthusiastic participants in the event each year. This year, MUHS students are competing with students from Burlington High School to see who can save the most energy.
Participants are also entered into a drawing for prizes at the end of the event, and Shoreham resident Stacy Hotte won an iPad in the early raffle.
As part of the kickoff festivities, ACTR was scheduled to launch the new Route 116 bus between Middlebury and Burlington on Monday morning in Hinesburg. The Addison County Regional Planning Commission also was set to launch its electric vehicle charging stations at its Seminary Street headquarters later Monday.
“I think there’s a growing awareness of (the price of transportation),” Barnicle said.
Reporter Andrea Suozzo is at andrea@addisonindependent.com.

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