The Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA), through a grant provided by the Federal Highway Administration and the Nebraska Department of Roads, will kick-off a campaign to improve air quality and reduce ground-level ozone in the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro area. It is focused on an effort to educate the public about how close the metro area is to not meeting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality standards. The campaign stresses ways that residents can “take the first step” to improving air quality and collectively how those steps can make a “big impact.”

Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh, Dr. Adi Pour – Director Douglas County Health Department, MAPA Executive Director Greg Youell, Metro Director Curt Simon, and Metro commuter Craig Howell, along other community partners will hold a news conference at the Turner Park Pavilion, 31st and Farnam in Midtown Crossing on April 29, 2015, at 2p.m. The public is welcome to attend and encouraged to arrive by bicycle, Metro transit or walking.
This 2015 campaign encourages individuals to take three steps to make a big impact.

One: Use an active mode of transportation whenever possible; bicycle, walk, or carpool if a vehicle is necessary.

Two: Ride the Metro. Coming soon: extended hours and more frequent access. Special half price ten ride passes with transfers can be purchased through www.littlestepsbigimpact.com.

Three: Take little steps like filling your gas tank at night and other ideas at www.littlestepsbigimpact.com

This summer’s air quality, ground-level ozone reduction effort is part of the “Little Steps. Big Impact.” campaign which began three years ago when residents were provided little steps they could take to help improve air quality. Examples of those steps are: delay refueling vehicles until dusk or nighttime; use paints, solvents and cleaners carefully so as not to allow ozone-forming fumes to be released; avoid running lawn mowers or other gas-powered lawn equipment during the hottest part of the day. The campaign is also teamed up with the Omaha Commuter Challenge which encourages bicycling, walking and carpooling. You can log on and track your impact at www.omahacommuterchallenge.org and be eligible to receive a two-ride with transfers Metro pass FREE while supplies last.

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Individuals can visit Little Steps. Big Impact. to learn more about the campaign or map their ride, and can visit the Metro site to find bus schedules and routes that are convenient to and from their home or business.