Hinesburg commuters to get a needed lift

The Town of Hinesburg, through its community organized transportation group Hinesburg Rides, has assembled a team to implement a $50,000 grant to increase ride sharing in, from, and through Hinesburg.

The three different components of the project required specialized expertise: creating a web-based ride matching system; design and identity development; and a marketing plan that would tie it all together. Through a request for proposal process, the town selected a team to meet each of those needs: Feather River Productions of Waitsfield for the web site; the Image Farm of Middlebury for the creation of design and identity; and Andrea Grayson of Charlotte, for the marketing plan.

"We thought about the various components of the project and who we thought would be the best fit for each part. We're fortunate to have been able to assemble the team this way," said Alex Weinhagen, director of planning and zoning for Hinesburg, and one of the leaders in this effort.

Feather River Productions, led by James Foreman, is a Waitsfield-based web design and programming company that will be building an online ride-matching system to facilitate carpooling and ride sharing in and through Hinesburg. Other web-based components, including outreach and promotions, will also be coordinated by Feather River. Foreman, working as Project Manager, will be working with a team of content and technology developers at his company to bring the web component to life.

The $50,000 grant comes from the Chittenden County Metropolitan Planning Organization, which awarded the grant in May to help Hinesburg develop transportation options for the town to reduce congestion and pollution in the village. Since Hinesburg is a through-way for many commuters south and west of the village of Hinesburg, the outreach effort will also extend into Addison County and the southern Chittenden towns of Shelburne and Charlotte.

Weinhagen said that the group is planning to launch the website in October, contingent on how long it will take to develop and test.

"Community members can expect to see lots of activity around this through the fall, and then again in the Spring." Several special events and contests are in the planning stages, he said.

The website for the effort is: www.hinesburgrides.org. For other details, contact Andrea Grayson at 238-4433.

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