The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) has issued an OZONE ALERT DAY for the Oklahoma City metropolitan region for Wednesday, June 10.
According to ODEQ, this ozone watch is a prediction that concentrations of ozone will approach levels of concern over the next 24 hours. Sensitive individuals should plan accordingly. When these levels are reached, an Air Quality Health Advisory will be issued. Health Advisories are notifications that levels of ozone have reached unhealthy levels. They are based on near real time monitoring values.
Persons with lung or heart disease should be aware that increased pollution may cause them to experience adverse health effects. Ozone affects people differently. Unhealthy levels of ozone can cause throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and aggravation of asthma and other respiratory ailments. These symptoms are worsened by exercise and heavy activity. Learn your limits. Children, older adults and people with underlying lung diseases, such as asthma, are at particular risk of suffering from these effects. As ozone levels increase, the number of people affected and the severity of the health effects also increase.
Tips for Ozone Alert Day
To help avoid ozone formation and reduce your exposure ACOG and ODEQ offer the following tips:
- Car pool or ride the bus to work or school.
- Walk or ride a bicycle for short trips during morning hours when ozone levels are lower.
- Wait until evening to refuel your automobile or mow your lawn.
- Arrive and leave work a little earlier or later than usual to decrease rush-hour traffic.
- Drive your most fuel efficient vehicle.
- Make sure gas caps on vehicles, lawn mowers and other equipment seal properly.
- Trip chain, combine errands to make one trip instead of several.
- Limit idling time in your vehicle.
- Limit the use of drive-through windows.
- Limit the use of charcoal starter fluid and other products that contain hydrocarbons.
- Postpone normally permissible outdoor burning to a non-Ozone Watch day.
- Limit or postpone the use of two-cycle engines (i.e. lawnmowers, weed eaters, motor boats and
- An Air Quality Health Advisory will be issued if/when ozone levels reach unhealthy for sensitive groups level.
For more information about ACOG’s air quality program including air quality awareness grants for schools and communities, please contact Darla Huggaboom, (405) 234-2264.
Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello joined Rep. Leslie Osborn (R-47) and Rep. Josh Cockroft (R-27) at the Capitol on Wednesday to discuss the State’s two newest alternative fuel vehicles laws. The two bills, HB1283 and HB1728, were recently signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin.
HB1283, sponsored by Cockroft and Sen. Jolley (R-41), standardizes weights and measures for compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Cockroft and Jolley, recognizing the need to standardize how CNG and LNG are sold, worked together to get the bill passed. “Anyone in Oklahoma fueling their cars or trucks with CNG or LNG can be assured they’re getting the same amount of energy at every station in the state,” says Eric Pollard of Central Oklahoma Clean Cities.
HB1728, sponsored by Osborn and Sen. Ron Justice (R-23) made changes in requirements for alternative fuel vehicle technicians. “Oklahoma is already a national leader in our technician certification program, and HB1728 will make it even more effective” says Adriane Jaynes of Tulsa Area Clean Cities. Automotive technicians in Oklahoma servicing alternative fuel vehicles must meet certain training requirements and pass a state-issued exam. Facilities must also meet strict codes. According to Jaynes and Pollard, other states look to Oklahoma for guidance because Oklahoma’s programs are so advanced.
Members of the Oklahoma Department of Labor’s Alternative Fuels Unit will give a presentation on the rules changes and will answer questions from alternative fuel industry stakeholders.
The meeting is hosted by Clean Cities coalitions in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Clean Cities program advances the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security by supporting local actions to reduce petroleum use in transportation. Part of DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office, Clean Cities has saved nearly 6.5 billion gallons of petroleum since its inception in 1993.
About Tulsa Area Clean Cities Coalition – The mission of Tulsa Area Clean Cities (TACC), a program of the U.S. Dept of Energy, aims to decrease the use of petroleum in the transportation sector by promoting alternative fuels through outreach and education. TACC focuses on projects designed to reduce operating costs and increase access to new fuel sources. TACC is housed locally at the Indian Nations Council of Governments.
About Central Oklahoma Clean Cities Coalition – Central Oklahoma Clean Cities is a U.S. Dept. of Energy alternative fuels public and private stakeholder coalition at the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments. Over the last eighteen years, Coalition stakeholders have displaced nearly 38 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel with alternative fuels.
In 2014, COCC and TACC stakeholders displaced more than 10.6 million gasoline gallon equivalents of petroleum fuel helping to ensure the nation’s energy security, strengthening our local economy, and improving regional air quality.
Get ready to pump your pedals, Central Oklahoma. National Bike-to-Work Day is May 15.
According to Kate Brady, a transportation planner with the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, this is the 11th year the event has been recognized in region. Five metro-area communities will celebrate the occasion with city-sponsored group rides on Friday morning. Residents from Edmond, Guthrie, Norman, Oklahoma City and Yukon will join thousands of Americans in commuting to work via bicycles.
Staff from these Central Oklahoma cities have organized short rides on city streets, celebrating the progress they have made toward bicycle-friendly streets and communities. Rides end at prominent locations in each community where riders socialize and snack. Often, elected officials are on hand to describe the many benefits of bicycling. These include getting fit, saving money, having fun and reducing emissions that can be harmful to the environment.
Brady, who created the Regional Master Bike Plan for Central Oklahoma, lives near Uptown and frequently rides her bike to work in Bricktown. “We are really pleased at the recent growth in bicycling in Central Oklahoma,” she said. “Responding to recommendations from our member communities and local bicycle riders, ACOG’s focus has expanded to include promoting bicycle-related activities and events throughout Bike Month in addition to Bike To Work Day. All levels of cyclists are welcome at these events.”
ACOG, Flagship Agency
“ACOG is excited to serve as the flagship agency for Bike To Work,” said John G. Johnson, Executive Director, ACOG. “Every major metropolitan region across the nation has a formal Bike To Work program and many of them are quite robust and impressive. With the help of our federal partners, last year, ACOG awarded $2.8 million dollars for bicycle and pedestrian transportation projects across Central Oklahoma.
“We want to help make bicycling a more integral part of life in Central Oklahoma. While we have a significant distance to go, we have come a long way. As we celebrate Bike To Work Day this week, I think it’s important for our citizens to know that while many people use bicycles for recreation opportunities, many of our citizens rely on bicycles as their only means of transportation.”
About National Bike To Work Day
Bike to Work Day was originated by the League of American Bicyclists in 1956 and is a part of Bike-to-Work Week, which is in turn part of National Bike Month. It’s held in May every year and is designed to promote the bicycle as an option for commuting to work. From coast-to-coast – including Central Oklahoma’s peer communities like Austin, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Memphis and Salt Lake City – cyclists will pump their pedals in an effort to showcase the many benefits of bicycling.
Central Oklahoma Bike-To-Work Events May 15
Where: Festival Marketplace
Gather: 7:30 a.m.
Depart: 7:45 a.m.
Distance: 3.36 miles
Sponsors: City of Edmond, Al’s Bicylces, Evoke Coffee, ACOG
Where: Scottish Rite Temple
Gather: 7:30 a.m.
Depart: 7:45 a.m.
Destination: Hoboken Coffee, 8 a.m.
Sponsors: City of Guthrie, Logan County Health Department, ACOG
Norman’s Bike-To-Work Day offers four different start location options. Cyclists should arrive 15 minutes prior to departure.
Where: Moore Norman Technology Center
Depart: 7:30 a.m.
Where: Norman Regional HealthPlex, 36th & Tecumseh
Depart: 8 a.m.
Where: Norman Regional Hospital’s Education Center Parking Lot
Depart: 8 a.m.
Where: Murray Case Sells Swim Center
Depart: 8 a.m.
The destination for all options is Andrews Park located at 201 West Daws Street, Norman. Cyclists will gather at 8:30 a.m. for a mayor’s proclamation. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be a Food Truck Park and Bicycle Safety Jam in downtown Norman. The first 50 children receive free bike helmets. Food trucks include Back Door BBQ, Eskimo Sno and The Loaded Bowl. Sponsors include ACOG, City of Norman, Fowler Scion, Norman Regional Health System, Moore Norman Technology Center, DNA Racing, Bicycle League of Norman and Cleveland Area Rapid Transit.
Oklahoma City’s Bike-To-Work Day offers five different start locations. Commuters will gather at all locations at 7:20 a.m. Departure to Myriad Gardens, 301 West Reno, is at 7:30 a.m. A celebration is planned for 8 a.m. and will feature prizes. Sponsors include City of Oklahoma City, Downtown OKC and ACOG.
Where: Oklahoma Department of Transportation, 200 NE 21st
Distance: 2.4 miles
Where: Edgemere Park, North Harvey Parkway and NW 34th Street
Distance: 3 miles
Where: McKinley Park, McKinley Avenue and NW 13th
Distance: 2.1 miles
Where: Perle Mesta Park, NW 18th and Shartel
Distance: 1.19 miles
Where: Wiley Post Park, South Robinson at the Oklahoma River
Distance: 1.7 miles
Yukon’s Bike-To-Work Day begins at 7:30 a.m. at Yukon City Hall, 500 West Main Street. Commuters will ride to the Yukon Community Center on Holly Avenue where they will socialize with fellow cyclists and local dignitaries.
The hashtag for the event is #BIKETOWORKOK
The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) is a voluntary association of city, town and county governments within the Central Oklahoma area. The ACOG region includes Oklahoma, Cleveland, Canadian and Logan Counties.
As a Council of Governments, ACOG’s purpose is to aid local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit and coordinating for sound regional development. ACOG is an organization of, by and for local governments that allows member entities to work in partnership to address issues or problems common to many jurisdictions. This regional cooperation serves to strengthen both the individual and collective capabilities of local governments.
Originally established in June of 1966, ACOG is one of 11 Councils of Governments in the State of Oklahoma, and one of several hundred planning organizations across the country.
ACOG both complements and supplements local government activities but is not, itself, a governmental unit. It does not possess power of legislation, enforcement or taxation.
OKLAHOMA CITY, March 13, 2015 — A report reflecting federally funded transportation projects in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area during federal fiscal year 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013 – Sept. 30, 2014) was recently completed by ACOG. Highway, transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects were fun ded in the region using federal funds made available to the state and metropolitan area from current and previous federal surface transportation laws.
A suballocation of funds, known as Surface Transportation Program Urbanized Area (STP UZA) funds, helped fund a number of street and intersection improvements, including adjacent sidewalks and bike paths, which have been or will soon be constructed in communities within the ACOG region.
In addition, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation provided federal Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) funds to the region for projects to enhance air quality and assist Central Oklahoma maintain its air quality attainment status with the Environmental Protection Agency. ACOG administers three CMAQ programs: air quality public awareness grants, public fleet conversions to alternative fuels, and a regional rideshare program. Some CMAQ funds were also provided to the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COTPA) for improvements to the EMBARK bus system.
Central Oklahoma obligated $24 million in suballocated STP-UZA funds during FFY 2014. Major improvements that will be implemented using these funds include the widening of Meridian Avenue between SW 29th and the Canadian River in Oklahoma City and numerous resurfacing projects in Del City, Midwest City, McClain County, Oklahoma City and Tuttle. In addition, several safety projects including pavement markings, new/upgraded traffic signals, signal interconnections, intersection modifications and school zone safety improvements were funded throughout the region.
An additional $27.6 million was spent on the state highway system (interstates, federal highways and state highways) within Central Oklahoma using federal, state and county funds provided through the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. These improvements included the widening of SH-9 between 24th Ave SE and 36th Ave SE in Norman and several resurfacing, bridge rehabilitation and cable barrier projects.
Finally, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds assisted the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COTPA) and Cleveland Area Rapid Transit (CART) with the purchase of various transit capital items, property and bus maintenance, general operations and special transit services for elderly and disabled citizens. COTPA provided a portion of its federal funds to the City of Edmond to assist with operation of Edmond’s Citylink bus service.
CMAQ Funds Awarded
The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) Board of Directors has approved grant funding awards for public-sector fleet alternative fuel vehicle deployment and fueling infrastructure projects.
A wide range of projects have been approved for awards including: purchase of light and heavy duty compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) vehicles, electric vehicle charging station equipment, and combination fast-fill, slow-fill CNG fueling infrastructure.
The $584,000 in total award funding goes toward the incremental cost of alternative fuel vehicles and/or fueling station equipment costs. Total project costs for all applicants are estimated at $1.6 million.
“These public fleets are making substantial investments that will lead to lower fuel costs, greater energy independence, improved air quality, and an economic impact on our region,” said John G. Johnson, Executive Director of ACOG. “In the case of CNG, for example, we have Oklahoma companies leading different parts of the industry from well to wheel.”
Projects are scored in a completive grant process and are scored based on emissions reductions through replacement of older high-mileage vehicles with new alternative fuel vehicles or new alternative fueling infrastructure.
The ACOG Public Fleet Clean Air Grant program is funded through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program which provides a flexible funding source for state and local governments to fund transportation projects and programs to help meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and its amendments. Other eligible transportation projects include transit improvements, travel demand management strategies, and traffic flow improvements, among others.
For more information, please contact Eric Pollard, Central Oklahoma Clean Cities Coordinator, (405) 234-2264.
AAA Oklahoma, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority receive 2014 Zach D. Taylor, Jr. Alternative Fuel Vision Awards
The Zach D. Taylor, Jr. Clean Cities Vision Awards honor Central Oklahoma Clean Cities Coalition stakeholders’ outstanding accomplishments and leadership displayed in promoting and deploying alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles. The awards are named in memory of former ACOG Executive Director Zach D. Taylor, Jr. who was a driving force behind the establishment of the Central Oklahoma Clean Cities Coalition, the nation’s first regional Clean Cities program.
This year’s winners were announced in late January. They are AAA Oklahoma (private stakeholder) and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (public stakeholder).
AAA Oklahoma received the private stakeholder award for its conversion of half of its fleet to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). This conversion has led to $400,000 dollars in fuel savings annually, a savings of up to $1,600 per truck, per month. Additionally, AAA Oklahoma informs Oklahoma drivers of the benefits of driving a CNG vehicle.
“AAA Oklahoma boasts 360,000 members, 250+ employees, and operates 12 full service and 32 insurance and membership offices around the state,” said John G. Johnson, Executive Director of ACOG. “Seeing their CNG trucks on the road is a visible example of the benefits of alternative fuels to their members and drivers in our communities.”
The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) received the public stakeholder award for prioritizing the installation and upgrade of CNG fueling stations for its customers at travel stop locations in McAlester and Stroud.
In Stroud, renovations of the CNG fueling portion of the travel plaza, operated by EZ Go and Carey Johnson Oil Company Inc., will give CNG customers a faster fill-up in Stroud. These renovations, completed Dec. 27, 2014 were made possible with support from OTA’s partnerships with ONE Gas and EZ GO stores.
The new travel plaza in McAlester is located on a stretch of the Indian Nation Turnpike that sees 9,000 vehicles per day and its new CNG stations provide an important link for CNG drivers travelling in southeast Oklahoma.
“OTA’s public-private partnership approach to development of CNG stations along the turnpike reflects the mission and goals of the Central Oklahoma Clean Cities Coalition,” said Eric Pollard, Coordinator of the Coalition. “These stations are a huge deal for the thousands of CNG drivers around the state.”
ABOUT CENTRAL OK CLEAN CITIES COALITION
Central Oklahoma Clean Cities is a US Dept. of Energy alternative fuels public and private stakeholder coalition at the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG). Over the last eighteen years,
Coalition stakeholders have displaced nearly 38 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel with alternative fuels such as natural gas, propane, electricity, and E85 and B20 biofuels.
In 2013, Central Oklahoma Clean Cities stakeholders displaced more than 3.7 million gasoline gallon equivalents of petroleum fuel helping to ensure the nation’s energy security, strengthening our local economy, and improving regional air quality.
ACOG recently completed updating the 2014 – 2015 Regional Snow Routes map to provide a useful tool for navigating Central Oklahoma roadways when they are covered in snow. First developed in 2007, the Regional Snow Routes system assists in the coordination of ice and snow removal to increase safety for all citizens and travelers throughout the region, including emergency vehicles, school buses, public transportation and commercial vehicle traffic.
On Tuesday, November 18 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., everyone is invited to the historic Santa Fe Station (100 South E.K. Gaylord Boulevard) in downtown Oklahoma City to talk about the future of transportation in Central Oklahoma. The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) is developing a metropolitan transportation plan to guide local, state, and federal investments through 2040. The public meeting will provide the opportunity for the public to contribute to the direction of Central Oklahoma’s transportation system.