This article presents a preliminary case study of the impacts of former gas stations on two mid-sized New Jersey cities: Trenton and Plainfield. Historic research reveals ten former gas stations for every one gas station operating in Trenton and nearly 28 former stations for every one current station in Plainfield. Only 38% of current and former gas stations in Trenton and 23% in Plainfield have any form of environmental record associated with the site. The largest category of site reuse is auto related, to include auto repair, current gas stations, used auto sales, and parking lots: 40% in Trenton and 53% in Plainfield. The largest single reuse category in each city was as unproductive land, with 19% of former Trenton gas stations and 26% of former Plainfield gas stations lying vacant. Despite this, current and former gas stations contribute annual tax revenues of over a half million dollars to Trenton and nearly $1.3 million in Plainfield, indicating that these properties can be redeveloped to provide an important contribution to the economies of these distressed cities. Attention to the environmental issues and development potential of these sites is likely to result in social, environmental, and economic benefit to communities.
Environmental Practice 11:144–152 (2009)
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