New program connects commuters in Douglas CountyDouglas County’s Energy Committee was given a task — find ways to cut the county’s energy costs. But the panel took it one step further.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Douglas County’s Energy Committee was given a task — find ways to cut the county’s energy costs.
But the panel took it one step further.
“We thought we would look at ways citizens could save on their energy costs too,” said Supervisor Dave Conley, chairman of the committee.
The panel decided to develop a Park and Drive program for the county to help save rural county residents money on fuel for their vehicles.
Rather than having everyone drive to their destination individually, the panel has established areas in rural Douglas County where people can connect, leave their car and catch a ride with someone going to their destination, reducing fuel and the resultant carbon emissions that come with burning it.
Residents can make those connections through the internet, using the state’s Rideshare Program website.
Conley said his goal is to start small, establishing the parking areas in more remote areas of the county and areas where people are more likely to be traveling to the same destinations.
The program uses existing parking areas to avoid the cost of developing new parking lots and all the lots are on town-owned or private business parking lots where approved by owners.
Local governments that have signed on to the program include the towns of Superior, Cloverland, Amnicon, Gordon and Summit, and the village of Lake Nebagamon. In addition, Solon Springs Mercantile, Sundown Restaurant in Maple, and BP Gas and Convenience Store in Hawthorne have agreed to allocate a portion of their available parking to the program.
Conley said it will be important that people park at the businesses in such a manner that it doesn’t impede the customers.
“I like that they can connect over the internet,” said Supervisor Sue Hendrickson, a member of the administration committee, which approved $2,000 in funding to make signs available so people know where parking is allowed for the program. The county board approved funding for the program last week.
The funding approval fell short of the request, but Conley said the goal is to make sure people traveling along State Highway 35, and U.S. Highways 2 and 53 all have opportunities to participate in the program in its initial roll out.
“We hope to have it running by fall,” Conley said.
For information, or to sign up for Wisconsin’s Rideshare Program, go to http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/commuter/index.htm