Bullet Train Twitter Ratios, Goats… – Streetsblog San Francisco

Here are some Streetsblog news nuggets to start your weekend off right.

Anti-bullet train politicians get high speed ratio

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and a group of high-speed anti-rail lawmakers sent letter not to electrify the California project to the US Secretary of Transportation a few weeks ago. On social networks, some 80 people, including many rail professionals and physicists, snatched these scientifically illiterate lawmakers on the idea that you can power a bullet train at over 200 mph with on-board batteries and / or hydrogen, instead of running overhead cables.

Of Twitter:

The many answers explain the physical realities that mean that batteries and / or fuel cells will never power high speed trains at the speeds required with no technology on the horizon. And they pointed out that this is exactly why all of the world’s high-speed rail systems use proven overhead cables for juice. Even against a theoretical battery more advanced than anything we have today, overhead cables would still be more efficient, as RAIL magazine points out in the tweet above.

This did not prevent Assembly Member Laura Friedman (who signed the letter and chair of the transport committee) from dig an even deeper hole, defend the letter by citing a battery powered light rail system:

As one railroad advocate put it, Friedman, along with Rendon and the others who signed his absurd letter, are “… completely ignorant of technology. I note that I-5 is being expanded in Friedman District, but Metrolink service has atrophied and dual-track projects are on the back burner. We talk about rail, we build highways.

BART cleans grass the old-fashioned way: they eat it!

A herd of 700 goats grazes on the BART property in Fremont under the supervision of the shepherd Zenobio Ordonez.  Photo: BART
A herd of 700 goats grazes on the BART property in Fremont under the supervision of the shepherd Zenobio Ordonez. Photo: BART

Keeping a clear footprint of vegetation is an important part of preventing fires and interference with equipment. But how is an electrified and environmentally friendly transport agency supposed to clear so much? Herbicides, gasoline lawn mowers, and weed killers are certainly not good options.

So “maaaaaaa”.

From a BART version, written by Melissa Jordan:

As the bay area experiences another hot and dry summer, BART uses goats to graze and cut fire breaks on its right-of-way property, reducing reliance on fossil fuel-powered equipment, decreasing the risk of starting fires and increasing worker safety.

“This is the smartest way for us to deal with the vegetation in these areas,” said Josh Soltero, an irrigation / land worker at BARTthe grounds maintenance department which supervised some 700 goats pasture near Fremont station on a recent hot June day.

The Hispano-Boer cross goats, contracted from a ranching company, gnawed through dry brush on a steep hill, the type of terrain that can be dangerous for human gardeners using mowers, weed killers and other power tools.

Another bonus is the appreciation of many neighbors in neighboring residential areas, who prefer the occasional bleating of a goat to the roar of an electric mower. “They come to tell us that they are so happy that we are using goats,” Josh Soltero said in the BART article. He’s an irrigation / grounds worker in BART’s grounds maintenance department who watched over some 700 goats grazing near Fremont station on a recent hot day.

San Francisco Transit Riders need a new exec

Photo: SFTR
Photo: SFTR

Finally, Mark Cordes is stepping down as Executive Director of the SFTR. From the ad:

Mark was recalled to active ministry at the behest of his denomination, with an opportunity to work for equity, justice and sustainability in a community outside of the Bay Area. “I was honored to lead San Francisco Transit Riders as we worked hard to save transit through advocacy at the federal, state and local levels,” said Mark. “It is the work of our team and our national partners, including the sharing of user stories, that ensured the passage of not one but two federal relief bills with support for transport in common.

“SFTR is in the process of setting up a search committee that will involve members, staff and organizers,” the statement continued. If you would like to apply, send an email to [email protected] for more information at https://sftransitriders.org/jobs/.

About Kevin Strickland

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