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Friday, May 3, 2013

Please don't smoke at this bus stop

Here's what a certain corner in Santa Clara looked like a couple of years ago:

A bus stop and then some

There are a bunch of things to notice here. First, there's a big red sign demanding that you not smoke in this area. It seems like people might smoke here because, well, there's a bus stop right here. The bus bench and VTA sign make this pretty obvious.

No smoking at a bus stop? Is it something special about bus stops? Actually, no, it isn't. Look just behind that fence.

See all of those pipes? One of them has a yellow label which says "FUEL GAS". Oh, my, what's this, then?

Well, it turns out that it's the gas compressor building for the power plant across the street. It takes natural gas from PG&E and sends it under the street to run the turbines. There's a lot of potentially flammable and/or explosive stuff happening in there, mere feet from the bus stop.

Is this really a good idea? I guess it's good that they have a fire hydrant right there. That way, if something really bad happens, maybe the resulting explosion will blow the hydrant off. If you've ever seen the plume which comes from a sheared-off hydrant, you know a lot of water shows up in a short amount of time.

I took that picture in 2010. Since then, that bus stop has been changed a little. The bench is gone now.

Do people smoke less when standing?