Category Archives: Transportation

Green Travel: Buy Carbon Offsets

I love to travel, but I hate to fly. Did you know that airplanes pump out more than 600 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year? That’s nearly as much CO2 as the African continent annually emits. No wonder flying has become, for many, climate change’s Public Enemy Number One.

Despite my aversion to flying, I find myself on a plane from time to time. Eddy and I recently flew to Charleston, South Carolina, to visit his family. We decided to buy carbon offsets to balance out our emissions (and to stop me from whining about all the CO2 emitted by our travel).

We bought our offsets from Carbonfund.org. Carbonfund.org is a nonprofit organization based in Silver Spring, Maryland, that provides carbon offsetting and greenhouse gas reduction options to individuals, businesses, and organizations. Carbonfund.org purchases and retires certified carbon offsets on behalf of its donors. Donors are given a choice of project type to which they may donate, including renewable energy, reforestation, and energy efficiency projects. Carbonfund.org is a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange and is a Founding Member of the American Carbon Registry.

Since this was our first time buying carbon offsets, I was bracing for a couple of hundred dollars to balance out emissions from our travel. Well, it cost us $13.89. Now, that’s affordable. I’ll let the readers guess to which project we donated.

I found buying carbon offsets to be easy and painless. I’ll continue to reduce my carbon footprint, but, as Carbonfund.org says, what I can’t reduce, I will offset.

Interested in offsetting what you can’t reduce? Visit www.carbonfund.org.

Thursday To-Do: Bicycle Advocacy for Central AR Monthly Meeting

Join Bicycle Advocacy for Central Arkansas (BACA) for its monthly meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, January 6 at the Oyster Bar in Little Rock. For more information, visit BACA’s website, www.bacar.org.

Tuesday To-Do: Public Involvement Meeting to Discuss Widening of Hwy 5

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) will be conduct a public involvement meeting to present and discuss a study of the proposed widening of the Hwy. 5 corridor from Benton to the Pulaski County line. The study will identify the general corridor, typical design and major constraints involved in reasonable alternatives that will proceed to the environmental study stage.

If you would like to see bike lanes, widened shoulders, or any other bike or walking facility on this roadway, now is the time to ask for it!

WHAT: Public Involvement Meeting to discuss a study of the proposed widening of the Hwy 5 Corridor from Benton to Pulaski County line

WHEN: Tuesday, December 14 – 4-7 p.m.

WHERE: First Pentecostal Church (4200 Hwy, 5, North) in Bryant

This will be an “open house” meeting with no formal presentations. The public is invited to visit anytime during the scheduled hours to view exhibits, ask questions, and offer comments.

For more information, contact Ruby Jordan, Section Head – Public Involvement, AHTD at ruby.jordan@arkansashighways.com.

Comment Period for I-630 Fixed Guideway Study Extended

The first public meeting regarding the I-630 Fixed Guideway Study was held Tuesday, November 9, 2010, at the Pulaski County Regional Center in Little Rock. The meeting was shortened due to a power outage at the meeting site. Because of the outage, Metroplan i  extending the comment period until December 31, 2010.

Presentation boards and online comment form can be found at this link:
http://metroplan.org/index.php?fuseaction=p0004.&mod=18.

Wanna Maximize Fuel Economy? Part 5

Growing up, I never felt like I fit in with any one group. I was too weird to hang out with preps, I wasn’t geeky enough to hang out with geeks, so I mostly hung out with hippies, although I wasn’t exactly a hippie.

Hippies have many things going for them. They tend to care about the Earth and support Birkenstocks and healthy foods produced locally. They also tend to be more accepting of different people. I enjoyed hanging out with my hippie friends during my adolescence and continue to hang out with them to this day.

I did, however, disagree with some of my hippie friends on one thing – driving highway with windows down. Yes, it’s true that turning on air conditioner will decrease your fuel economy. When the air conditioner is on, the engine works harder, increasing gas consumption by about 20 percent. BUT, driving highway with your windows down will increase the aerodynamic drag of your vehicle, forcing the engine to work harder to keep your car at the current speed, thus burning more gas than if you just ran your air conditioner.

So, please, my hippie friends, don’t burn more gas and hurt the Mother Nature by driving highway with your windows down. At low speed, open windows do not greatly increase your aerodynamic drag, so it is recommended that you turn off your AC and roll down your windows to maximize your fuel economy.

Since we are on the subject, using your heater during cold months has little effect on your gas mileage. The heater draws its temperature from the hot coolant circulating through the heater core, and the fan is the only electricity it uses. The electricity used to run the fan does affect gas mileage, but it is typically negligible.

So, please, my hippie friends, let’s use heater during cold months so that we won’t freeze inside our cars.

Wanna Maximize Fuel Economy? Part 4

Install your bike rack only when necessary to maximize your fuel economy.

Then, declutter your car! Heavier vehicles require more energy to move, so carrying around excess weight will also affect your fuel economy. Did you know that an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your gas mileage by up to 2 percent? If you have a roof rack or roof carrier, install it on your vehicle only when necessary. The same goes for bike racks. Racks and carriers add extra weight, AND they increase the aerodynamic drag on the vehicle, further decreasing your fuel economy.

So, declutter your car, improve fuel economy, and save money!

Tuesday To-Do: Public Meeting to Discuss I-630 Fixed Guideway Study


Interested in seeing light rail built on I-630? How about high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes?

Weigh in on the future of I-630 and Little Rock’s public transportation by attending the meeting hosted by Metroplan on Tuesday, November 9 between 4-7 p.m. at the Pulaski County Regional Center, Jeffrey Hawkins Conference Room (501 W. Markham) in downtown Little Rock.

For more information, visit www.metroplan.org.