Skip to Content
Streetsblog Chicago home
Log In
Today's Headlines

Turning Gas Pumps and Asphalt Into Soil and Shade Trees

11:18 AM CDT on July 23, 2013

Anyone who takes an abandoned gas station and converts it into a neighborhood business is a hero in our book.

Drake Patten in Providence, Rhode Island, recently converted a gas station into a farm supply store called Cluck!, and believe it or not, she had to fight a legal battle with neighbors to make it possible.

But Patten didn't stop there. Now she's removing a large portion of the Cluck! parking lot. James Kennedy at Transport Providence helps put this depaving into a larger context:

Twelve percent of Rhode Island, the country's second-densest state after New Jersey, is covered by impervious surfaces such as parking lots, roads, roofs and concrete. Much of the pollution in Narragansett Bay washes in from paved-over surfaces. The problem has reached comic proportions. A study published earlier this year noted that Rhode Island’s top location for Craigslist “missed connections” was parking lots, putting it at odds with neighboring Massachusetts, where a plurality of missed connections happen on the MBTA.

Although the city’s zoning ordinances require Cluck! to have three off-street parking spots, the new business will not provide any more than required by law. It will instead use the remaining space that was once paved for stormwater mitigation by planting several tupelo and shade trees.

Cluck! owner, Drake Patten, who holds a master’s degree in archeology, said the process of removing the asphalt reminded her of digs she had been on.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Green Lane Project says Atlanta's new protected bike lane might be the best urban bikeway in the South. Bike Walk Lee shares an Orlando Sentinel editorial imploring the city to take action to reduce its pedestrian fatality rate. And This Big City offers three strategies to bring abandoned gas stations back into productive use.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Chicago

Protected bike lanes are coming to Dearborn, Clark, and – maybe someday – Wells on Near North Side

Dearborn is getting northbound PBLs north of Kinzie, and Clark is getting southbound ones, but Wells Street will have to wait.

September 21, 2023

Taste of 79th Community Walk uses a stroll with a New Orleans-style brass band to highlight the corridor

Saturday's event was a reminder that there's no better way to get to know a neighborhood than taking a walk with others, enjoying live music, and supporting local businesses.

September 20, 2023

Check it out: Now it’s safer to get on and off the 312 RiverRun from Belmont Avenue

One of the coolest new things on the on-street route is the treatment of Belmont near and over the Chicago River, by the southern trailhead of the north-south path.

September 19, 2023
See all posts