A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Do we need a "Super-Sized" gas station at Towne Centre?

Running into some neighbors last night at La Piñata, I learned that the gas station that is under review for going into Alameda Towne Centre (you know, the Centre at the south shore of Alameda) is going to be a....

Super-Sized Gas Station!

Okay, but is this really happening? The city of Alameda has just set up this Climate Protection Task Force, which has determined that half of all our carbon emmisions are from automobile travel. One would think that it would be in our city's best interest to discourage driving and encourage alamedans to use other methods to travel whenever possible.

So how is allowing a Super-Sized Gas Station going to accomplish this?

Remember "Field of Dreams" and the saying "If you build it, they will come"? This is a perfect analogy. Alameda is surviving, perhaps even doing better, now that that gas station on the corner of Park and Otis is gone. Sure, maybe a few people are inconvenienced a bit. I can understand why people want to replace it (more or less). But why even consider putting in a Super-Sized one?

I'm guessing that the situation is that Harsch (the developers) are asking for approval for this project because, well, everybody always asks for something big in negotiations. The idea is that then the other side negotiates them down to something smaller. But I'm afraid that the City of Alameda, dollar signs in the eyes thinking about tax revenue, is all-too-easily going to say "YES" to whatever Harsch asks for.

Let's not just roll over and let Harsch get what they ask for. I don't expect that the request to put in a gas station will be denied, but it certainly sounds reasonable to deny the request for Super-Size.

The Planning Board meets April 23 to talk about this issue. I hope that there will be some voices to balance the desire for sales tax revenue with the need to discourage automobile travel and greenhouse gas emmissions.


Blogger Nil said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Nil said...


I think we should *allow* supersize gas stations *conditional* on them providing alternative fuels for those of us who are trying to go petroleum-free (or even petro-lite). Specifically, B99 or B100 biodiesel and E85 ethanol.

And it should be done without weasel-words that would allow the supersize gas stations to claim "no demand" without giving time (a decade at least) to allow demand to grow.

And it should be done without weasel-fuels like B20 that let people feel like they are being green while they fill up their Hummers with 80% dino-fuel.


11:45 AM  
Blogger Doug L. said...

Am I missing something? I'm not pro-gas stations or anything, but I don't see how one less gas station in Alameda will make anyone drive any less. And I agree with Nil, more pumps could/should mean more choices of fuels. Another gas station could possibly mean more competition which could mean lower prices, which, while not exactly discouraging driving, could mean lower profits for oil companies.

I like to choose my battles - fight those that really mean something. I'm not sure about this one.

9:13 PM  
Blogger vex_luthor said...

Coal plants are the major source of carbon emissions (and radioactive emissions--hundreds of thousands of tons of it) in the United States. If you're serious about reducing them, as opposed to indulging in feel-good ideological gestures, you need to get behind replacing all these coal plants with nuclear power stations. Reducing car emissions is like shooting BBs at a battleship.

3:18 PM  
Blogger John said...

Actually, in the Bay Area, 50% of all Greenhouse Gas Emissions come from transportation, 35%+ of all emissions is personal transportation. (cars and light trucks, not including hummers, etc.).

1:07 PM  

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