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Atlanta Solar Parking Lot Leading a Solar Revolution

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Atlanta businessman Ted Turner is not afraid to take on a new challenge. Fortunately for Atlanta, this native son had a two acre parking lot on Luckie Street in downtown Atlanta. Next door was Turner’s business complex, comprised of Turner Enterprises, the Turner Foundation, a Ted’s Montana Grill – and Mr. Turner’s own Atlanta home.  Turner used the space to create one of the first solar parking lots in the country – and he may be on to a good idea.

There are many benefits to sun-powered parking lots, including the fact that they generate  energy to charge electric cars and help to shield parked cars from the brutal Atlanta sun.  Turner’s plans for the solar parking lot also include using the solar power generated by it as the energy source for the building complex, including Ted’s Montana Grill. So far, Turner’s parking lot project has been as “green” as can be – he did not allow any trees to be cut down during construction. You can see the parking lot, named the “Luckie Street Solar Project,” at 157 Luckie Street NW, Atlanta.

A Contribution from the NFL?

When you think of organizations with an interest in the environment, the NFL probably isn’t the first one that comes to mind. But the NFL’s  Washington Redskins, recently covered an astonishing 841 parking spaces at the FedEx Field in Maryland with solar units. The stadium now receives 20% of its game-day energy needs from solar sources. Even more impressive, the stadium can meet all of its energy needs from solar sources on non-game days!  And the NFL is not alone.  Rutgers University of New Jersey is spending an estimated $40.8 million to develop 32 acres of solar lots on its Livingston, NJ campus. Rutgers says it expects to save around $28 million in energy costs over two decades.

Solar Carports

Unless you’re a millionaire, you probably can’t embark on your own solar parking lot building project. But not all of the solar-centric projects taking place today are on the scale of a commercial parking lot. Some groups are thinking smaller, in the form of individual solar carports. It is not hard to image the positive impact to the environment should solar carports become popular nationwide. That could be another nationwide change brought to us by the Atlanta businessman who created CNN.

Everyone knows the story of Robin Hood. In case you’ve forgotten, his modus operandi was stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. In Jackson, Mississippi, there’s a man known as the “Robin Hood of Asphalt,” except, instead of stealing from the rich to give to the poor, he’s stealing from the city to give to…the city. This “Pothole Robin Hood” has been stealing city asphalt and using it to fix potholes in and around the city.

So, who is this strange man? He’s Ron Chane, and he recently came forward to ABC News and admitted to being the infamous pothole-fixer. Having fixed 101 (and counting!) potholes with allegedly stolen asphalt, Chane explained to ABC News that he signed his handiwork with his covert signature: “citizen fixed.” While no formal charges have been filed at this point, the city is looking into how Chane acquired the asphalt, something they believe he did illegally, though Chane himself sees absolutely nothing wrong with his actions.

A Serious Problem

Regardless of what you think of this bizarre story or of Ron Chane himself, there is a serious pothole problem in bumpy Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson isn’t the only US city that suffers from majorly pock-marked roads either. Atlanta, Georgia has also come under some scrutiny for the many potholes that line the city. Potholes can cause serious accidents and can pose hazards to pedestrians as well; they are a problem that needs to be addressed by both cities. But is vigilante pothole paving really the answer?

The Problem with Chane’s Pothole Paving Antics

While it can be viewed as an example of citizens stepping up and doing what the city should be doing, there are actually many things wrong with pothole vigilantism. For starters, the people hired to pave city potholes are professionals; they have the equipment and training necessary to get the job done right. With no training and potentially low-quality asphalt, Chane could actually be doing more harm than good. Furthermore, vigilante pothole pavers tend to do their work at night, often without the proper lighting or other safety equipment, which means they could find themselves hit by a car or causing serious traffic accidents. And, of course, there’s the simple matter of stealing asphalt that was earmarked for other purposes.

A Right Way to Do Things

So what should you do if you live in a city like Jackson, Mississippi or Atlanta, Georgia and are tired of dealing with potholes? Well, instead of stealing and doing the job yourself, how about working to raise awareness of the problem? You could form a legal, peaceful protest about the issue, or you could get a group together and make your voices heard at the local City Hall. Or you can report it to local media, like CBS Atlanta’s Pothole Patrol. There’s also the option of gathering signatures for a petition to make your city act on the pothole problem, and if you’re truly concerned, you could even raise money and donate it to your city with the stipulation that the funds be used to fix the potholes. There are are few alternative to doing the job yourself.

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