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Thread: Convenience store design: gas pump location

  1. #1
         
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    Convenience store design: gas pump location

    The county where I live is looking into implementing new design standards for commercial and industrial zoned land. One of the ideas that we've been discussing is locating gas pumps behind proposed convenience stores in the more historical sensitive areas of the county. Does anyone have examples of such a design? We've been receiving some flak for suggesting this but in this day and age I find it hard to believe that folks wouldn't know that 7-11, WaWa, Sheets, etc. sell gas if the pumps aren't in front.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Need to be in the front.
    Pumpe need to be visible from inside the store at all times in case of emergency.

    I guess if the interior of the store was arranged so this could work it would be feasible, however, there is no way to keep future tenants from altering the layout.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Mtn Woman's avatar
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    Check out the Mobil Station in Rhinebeck, NY
    http://www.therhinebeckplan.org/html/coverage21.htm
    Scroll down a little bit to see the picture.
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    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Have you thought about the signage for gas stations? Station owners tend to want large signs for all the world to see their low-low prices.
    I have seen service stations with pumps both in the front and the back but never exclusively in the back.
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    Cyburbian Plus
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    I wonder what the CPTED crowd would say about this ?
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Here is a gas station/store being built in Davidson, NC. It is a two-story building with no set back. The gas pumps and car wash are at the rear and a potential office/apartment is located upstairs.

    Click image for larger version

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  7. #7
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    How about not allowing gas stations in the downtown historic areas? They really don't belong there and belong more on the fringe areas anyway.
    @GigCityPlanner

  8. #8
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    I think those two examples given here show that using high quality materials and attempting to fit into the receiving environment make a big difference in terms of the street scape.

    I grew up near a lovely (!!) gas station in Berkeley CA that is made out of red brick, with white trim and the canopy set off to the side. I always thought it was a nice addition to the residential neighbourhood but never thought critically about it.

    So is the question why do gas stations have to have big-box styling? Why the neon lights and Mc-Donalds-esque exterior?

    Perhaps you can be more effective in your policy by giving materials and styling guidleines in sensitive areas instead of requiring the pumps to be located in the back.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    How about not allowing gas stations in the downtown historic areas? They really don't belong there and belong more on the fringe areas anyway.
    But hitching posts would be okay?

    Most of the major retailers are not going to be thrilled about having to build a "two-sided" building, but if that's what is important to your historic districts, then you should do it. The retailers eventually will see that there is a market to be served and they will spend the bucks to serve it.

    Just don't compel a neo-tidewater colonial facade, okay?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The Milwaukee area has several very good examples of gas station design. There are more good examples there than anywhere else I have been. Look at the Village of Menomonee Falls, City of Brookfield, City of Delafield, and City of Milwaukee (where one on 76th won an architectural award a couple years back).




    Though it does not show too well in the picture, the pumps are behind the building.



    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    How about not allowing gas stations in the downtown historic areas? They really don't belong there and belong more on the fringe areas anyway.
    A common sentiment, but in reality, gas stations have been a part of our historic downtowns since the early 1900's. Many gas stations are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They are one of my "Top Ten Undesirable Uses You Want Downtown."
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    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    A common sentiment, but in reality, gas stations have been a part of our historic downtowns since the early 1900's. Many gas stations are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They are one of my "Top Ten Undesirable Uses You Want Downtown."[/ot]
    I agree, but those gas stations are a far cry from what today's QT, WaWa, or BP is today. Those stations that beckon back to the 1950's or 40's are usually have 2 pumps and a small service station, as compared to todays fueling fields that light up the sky.
    @GigCityPlanner

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I still remember my first visit to Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado. I was told what a great experience it was - Boulder is great at self-promotion, even when it is not true. The thing I remember the most is looking for a place to buy a snack. Unless you wanted to go to a reataurant you could not get anything. Just like that case, I find people wanting convenience or grocery stores in most o fhte downtowns I visit or work in. Gas stations are the most likely option for achieving this, especially in smaller communities. While I want and encourage them, I agree that the design can be improved.
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    [QUOTE=Cardinal;340595]The Milwaukee area has several very good examples of gas station design. There are more good examples there than anywhere else I have been. Look at the Village of Menomonee Falls, City of Brookfield, City of Delafield, and City of Milwaukee (where one on 76th won an architectural award a couple years back).

    Delafield is an extremely interesting case. It's a little bit of New Urbanism far from most people's radar screens. The vision of one ambitious visionary man, Bob Lang. Deserves to be studied.

  14. #14
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    The City of Ottawa, Ontario has an excellent guide called "Urban Design Guidelines for Gas Stations", which includes diagrams of alternative gas station site plans.


  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    My first inclination is to side with Tide on this--why not keep them out. Ulitmately though I think there are examples of moving the building closer to the street, 4 sided arch.--but access is still a key. I note the examples provided above show stations with duel frontages such that the gas is either on the side or fronting another street.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    The City of Ottawa, Ontario has an excellent guide called "Urban Design Guidelines for Gas Stations", which includes diagrams of alternative gas station site plans.


    that looks strangely familiar, like the shell on carling west of the queensway.

    though in an historical area, why not establish a few sidewalk pumps, smaller gas stations like in french or italian cities.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmm....

    Quote Originally posted by leehillpc View post
    The county where I live is looking into implementing new design standards for commercial and industrial zoned land. One of the ideas that we've been discussing is locating gas pumps behind proposed convenience stores in the more historical sensitive areas of the county. Does anyone have examples of such a design? We've been receiving some flak for suggesting this but in this day and age I find it hard to believe that folks wouldn't know that 7-11, WaWa, Sheets, etc. sell gas if the pumps aren't in front.
    Do you still have the HIGHS convenience stores in Virginia? Great times as a kid getting the tripple decker ice cream cones there every summer......TASTY.....

    Those great old historic towns in Virginia deserve to keep a "tight" design ship when it comes to gas stations or any other commercial use. Trust me, as a tourist visiting that state, I appreciate seeing nice designs that fit into the surrounding historic nature of the place.

    While I like the design submitted by Dan and think that appropriately located and lit signs can make up for the pumps not being out front, put some windows on the street side of the building for the police. You should also use the brick and colonial architecture already used throughout Northern Virginia on this type of commercial structure. I would have complained about the lack of adequate turn around area for the tanker truck, but it looks like those medians are flush and can be driven over by the large trucks or moving trucks (if diesel is sold). The trend in gas station development seems to be MORE pumps and oh yeah....MORE pumps. Not uncommon to get site plans with 20+ pumps now.... Maybe not in Ottawa Canada, but in our heavily populated/bloated SUV areas (also known as "everywhere".....

    New idea?
    Also, keep in mind that if Ethanol takes off in a big way over the next 5 years, these stations should be required to dedicate one pump island to its future use (not using it now). Apparently it can be quite expensive to retrofit a station for ethanol use....don't ask me why...not my field Call it the "alternative fuels" reserve island for future use/development.

    Oh and one other thing.....if you don't allow single sale booze (individual beer) to be sold out of the gas station, I think there are studies out there about a drop in petty crime and assaults within several hundred feet of the store.....in urbanized areas.....anyone else know about this???
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    Cyburbian IlliniPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    I agree, but those gas stations are a far cry from what today's QT, WaWa, or BP is today. Those stations that beckon back to the 1950's or 40's are usually have 2 pumps and a small service station, as compared to todays fueling fields that light up the sky.
    We now require that all lighting specifically for under the "gas island canopies" be recessed so that you don't have that "bleeding" of light that lights up the whole block.
    One lot of redevelopment prevents a block of sprawl.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    I wonder what the CPTED crowd would say about this ?
    You'd have to think carefully about how to achieve adequate observation of the pump area. I don't know a lot about service stations but I think some of the main types of crime that service station design needs to be mindful of are drive-offs and armed robbery. But I suppose even with pumps "behind" a building you can still have doors, large windows and activity in the area - you'd just have to think a bit harder about how to achieve this considering it's away from the street front.

    A good CCTV system would be important, although not the answer by itself - are these standard fare in all new service stations, does anyone know?

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    Design Guidelines

    Establish some performance standards and some design guidelines. I mean, is it actually the use itself that's the problem or the way these things usually look?

    The bottom line is that downtowns are (or at least should be) for people. And like it or not people have cars. Cars needs gas. Gas is available at gas stations. Make'em conform.

    Now, I'm not saying that the downtown should be car-oriented. To the contrary, downtowns should be pedestrian-oriented but that doesn't mean that you can't accommodate cars.

    Same thing with mechanics/garages. In Clearwater we made gas stations and auto garages nonconforming uses (over my objections). Which is more convenient if you live downtown - having you car towed several miles away to get fixed or brought around the corner? Same thing with getting gas. The key is to make these uses aesthetically fit in.

    Make them a conditional use, limit lighting and signage and curb cuts, bring the buildings to the street, locate the pumps in the back, limit the number of pumps, encourage multi-use buildings (if there's going to be a gas station maybe a garage has to be part of the mix - consolidate the "not so sexy" uses together.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tobinn View post
    Establish some performance standards and some design guidelines. I mean, is it actually the use itself that's the problem or the way these things usually look?

    The bottom line is that downtowns are (or at least should be) for people. And like it or not people have cars. Cars needs gas. Gas is available at gas stations. Make'em conform.

    Now, I'm not saying that the downtown should be car-oriented. To the contrary, downtowns should be pedestrian-oriented but that doesn't mean that you can't accommodate cars.

    Same thing with mechanics/garages. In Clearwater we made gas stations and auto garages nonconforming uses (over my objections). Which is more convenient if you live downtown - having you car towed several miles away to get fixed or brought around the corner? Same thing with getting gas. The key is to make these uses aesthetically fit in.

    Make them a conditional use, limit lighting and signage and curb cuts, bring the buildings to the street, locate the pumps in the back, limit the number of pumps, encourage multi-use buildings (if there's going to be a gas station maybe a garage has to be part of the mix - consolidate the "not so sexy" uses together.
    Amen, brother.

    The next article I am working on publishing is going to be called "The Tem Most Undesirable Uses You Want in Your Downtown." Gas stations and auto repair are on the list. The point was driven home to me a few years ago when one of our downtown restaurant owners asked "Where do you think these people go when they drop off their car?" Not every city should have these uses downtown, but for many, it is perfectly natural and even desirable.
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    Looking for a nice Gas Canopy Picture

    I am involved in writing desing standards for our Town, and am looking for a picture of an aestheticly pleasing gas station canopy, preferrably with a sloped roof and colonial styling. Can anyone help??

  23. #23
    Cyburbian cdub's avatar
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    Here's a link to a couple of gas stations built to the street. The one in Orlando is close to downtown and has an interesting canopy/ courtyard where fueling occurs. The streetscape portion could definitely use a step up in materials.

    My favorite, though, is the station in downtown Savannah. It's currently under renovation for an architecture firm, but could provide some inspiration for urban stations. Not sure if there's any regulations regarding gas stations that could prevent this currently with a structure above the fueling area.

    http://www.sitephocus.com/search_res...tion&search=Go

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    hi

    i am doing research on gas stations as a typology of architecture for grad school in boston. I was wondering if the code for a typical gas station changes all that much from town to town? I know that alot of the design is site specific, but do the general setbacks, sq. ftg requirements, entrance widths, canopy height, etc. really change all that much? I would really appreciate any help on this subject and if i could get a typical outline for of design requirements that would be great. thanks alot!

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nickademus12 View post
    i am doing research on gas stations as a typology of architecture for grad school in boston. I was wondering if the code for a typical gas station changes all that much from town to town? I know that alot of the design is site specific, but do the general setbacks, sq. ftg requirements, entrance widths, canopy height, etc. really change all that much? I would really appreciate any help on this subject and if i could get a typical outline for of design requirements that would be great. thanks alot!
    Well, the answer is the dimensional requirements do change considerably from place to place. I work in a couple communities that have decided that they will only allow gas stations with the pumps to the rear and a building at the street. In other cases, they will permit the pumps to the side. A majority will still allow them in front. As far as setbacks go, we see everything from 0' to 50'. I recently wrote guidelines for one community that require a 20' setback with a 10' landscape buffer starting at the right-of-way, minimum 40% street wall, and pumps and parking to the side or rear.
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