RideShare has come to Orcas Island. Owen Cheevers and Andrew Youngren of Orcas Island have taken the lead from Liza Michaelson, of San Juan Island, who created San Juan RideShare. Orcas RideShare is creating and supporting alternatives to driving around the islands for simple errands.
“Leaving the car at home is an opportunity to save fuel and reduce your carbon footprint for the day by filling an otherwise empty seat,” says Cheevers. “Rideshare is a responsible alternative transportation solution that builds community, allowing for increased interaction with neighbors and fellow islanders.”
RideShare is the county-approved method of hitchhiking in the San Juan Islands. With the assistance of County Engineer Shannon Wilbur, RideShare is establishing sanctioned pull-off and pick-up points around the islands where people who need rides can wait for a ride or be dropped off. On Orcas Island, two points have been designated as RideShare stops along Olga Rd: The Tank corner (across from Country Corner Grocery and Deli) and at the turn-off to Rosario Resort.
“The idea is to legitimize safe hitchhiking,” said Cheevers. “There are quite a number of possible locations on Orcas and Lopez Island but they need some additional improvement to make them safe.”
Cheevers and Youngren are working on Orcas Island to promote the concept, encourage installation of signs by the county, connect with property owners to get approval for potential installation sites, and where possible, attempt to organize work parties to help create additional pullout spots where road engineering is not needed.
Cheevers said, “The Oddfellows on Orcas have been really helpful to us in discussing work parties and assisting us with connecting with property owners along possible RideShare routes to make the improvements necessary for a safe RideShare stop.”
“Hitchhiking is a time-honored method of getting around in the islands,” said Cheevers. “The environmental concerns of driving combined with the commununity-minded spirit of the islands make RideShare a good fit for both drivers and hitchhikers alike.”