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Gas station next to lakefront in Uptown to be replaced by a bigger gas station

6:43 PM CST on February 19, 2021

The current gas station layout is mostly asphalt. Image: Google Docs

The good new: A BP station at Lawrence Avenue and Marine Drive in Uptown, which is currently squandering land located across the street from Lincoln Park, steps from Montrose Beach, and less than half a mile east of the Lawrence Red Line station, is slated for demolition.

The bad news: The property owner wants to replace it with a larger gas station.

The gas station site. Image: Google Maps
The gas station site. Image: Google Maps

A Streetsblog reader who lives within notification distance of the site, 775 W. Lawrence Ave., told us they received a letter from a lawyer for the property owner, Marine Drive Business, Inc., announcing that the owner filed an application for a variation to the site's zoning. The change would allow for a two-story building containing a new gas station with accessory retail and office space. The variation would also reduce the minimum lot area for a gas station from 20,000 to 16,961 square feet.

In fairness, adding office space will make this a more productive use of this prime land, which is currently mostly enrobed in asphalt. "I am actually intrigued that the BP's owner wants to add offices to a gas station," said the reader. They added that they're pleased that the plan calls for eliminating the driveway and curb cut that currently exists on Lawrence, an important bike and pedestrian route to the lake, which has seen many crashes. "That's a start at least."

Aerial view of the current gas station, and the new proposed layout. Image: Google Maps
Aerial view of the current gas station, and the new proposed layout. Image: Google Maps

The reader said they're hoping to meet with the property owner to ask for electric car and bike charging at the site, and to see if zoning allows them to move the fence south off of Lawrence to allow for better sight lines all around. They added that moving the planned landscaped area to the outside of the fence could help calm traffic.

"Drivers shoot through that stretch between Clarendon and Marine really fast because of the shift to and from 2 lanes," the reader said. "Pedestrians on either side of Lawrence from Clarendon to Marine are completely unprotected because there's no parkway. I just cringe watching the kids from [a Salvation Army emergency family shelter located on the north side of Lawrence] bunched up there with no protection."

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