2501 California Site

Zoned for development up to 40 feet in height, and with rumblings of a project in the works, a number of readers have been wondering when the Shell station on the southwest corner of California and Steiner will be razed in order for condos to rise.

And in fact, there are plans for the service station at 2501 California Street to be leveled later this year.

But if approved, the redevelopment of the site won’t include any housing, nor will it rise above 19 feet in height. Instead, the station will be rebuilt with a reconfigured 19-foot fueling canopy (versus the 16-foot canopy that’s currently on the site) and an all-new “Loop” convenience store sans garage.

2501 California Site Plan

As part of the project, the northern driveway on Steiner Street would be eliminated and the two remaining driveways (one on California Street and one on Steiner Street) would be reduced to 28 feet in width, with new “visual screening” and greening along the perimeter of the site.

The station sells over 2 million gallons of gas per year.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by moto mayhem

    awesome. this is my gas station of choice and glad to see it improve.

    They should level the one across the street for housing because service there is terrible and the gas is more expensive.

    • Posted by Denis

      Haha.. I used this Shell for ages until I began having serious engine problems, which, according the repair shop, was caused by the fuel I was using fouling my engine. So I had to switch the Chevron, which, allegedly, burns cleaner..

  2. Posted by Sierrajeff

    insane. though not as insane as the gas station rebuild at 19th & Lincoln, where a potentially landmark location was rebuilt into … a slightly larger convenience store and gas station… atrocious

    • Posted by Futurist

      It’s not insane at all. Does every single piece of property in SF need to built “up”?

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        At a major intersection along a main east-west thoroughfare? Blocks from walkable areas such as the Fillmore District and Divisadero? Yes.

        • Posted by Blurpy

          19th Ave is a highway. What better place for a gas station?

  3. Posted by Bob

    It would be great to see a protected bike parking requirement for any gas station improvements or other car related programs.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      are you joking Bob? you want to make a gas station owner pay for protected bike lanes. ? Please lay off the drugs and leave North Korea

      • Posted by Bob

        protected parking onsite for the neighborhood.

    • Posted by frog

      I’m the biggest proponent of protected bike parking that you will ever find. But the idea that any one group of people should specifically pay for some specific city priority is insane. It’s the fundamental problem with rent control too.

      We need more taxes to flow directly to the general fund which is then spent as needed. Gas stations shouldn’t be paying for cycling. Hotels shouldn’t be paying for homeless bathrooms. And specific property owners shouldn’t be paying portions of people’s rents. It makes no sense. We should have priorities as a city and then we should all pay for those priorities through a fair system of taxes. (I know, I live in some insane fantasy land where I think we should collectively be responsible for the decisions we make and not randomly assign winners and losers.)

  4. Posted by Moto mayhem

    Just as crazy. Why would they do this?

  5. Posted by Conifer

    Bob is absolutely right, but he does not go far enough. We should simply ban all cars and require everyone to ride a bicycle. Think of the physical therapy benefit of cycling for the old and infirm. Think how much it would do to reduce the obesity epidemic in this country, not least among children. Think of the reduction of baby fat among babies. All San Franciscans on to their bikes!

    • Posted by frog

      I know you are joking. But childhood obesity in most of the population has been on the decline for many years now. We, like every generation before us, likes to think that the current crop of children is lazy. But they are doing just fine.

      But outside of parts of the Richmond or Sunset or maybe Laural Heights, I can’t imagine anyone allowing a kid on a bicycle in the city.

      • Posted by RobBob

        Lots of kids ride down the sidewalk on Embarcadero. I regularly see kids riding in the bike lane on Embarcadero as well with their parents, many tourists and some people that might be residents.

      • Posted by NoeNeighbor

        I wouldn’t be too sure about childhood obesity rates dropping.

        • Posted by frog

          That was actually why I put in the disclaimer “most of the population.” My understanding is that among middle class and higher, the rates are down. Children of the hockey/soccer mom demographic are getting lots of exercise. Even by NHANES, which is the CDC data, it’s always shown that the obesity issue is mostly confined to certain minority groups and those in poverty.

          This has much more to do with how we look at data sets and where we group and carve and what we mean by “average” than it does with there being new data.

    • Posted by Charles

      Ugh. Too much bike traffic already. I think by the time biking mode share doubles again, there will be diminishing benefits to biking. Bike traffic is more stressful and dangerous than car traffic, and most cyclists could give a hoot about traffic laws. It used to be a low stress commute. Now it’s maybe only half as stressful as Muni. God help us if we get to Dutch adoption levels.

      • Posted by Charles

        Saying this as a daily bike commuter from west side to fidi btw, not a cranky, exhaust/GHG belching driver 😉

      • Posted by Bob

        whoa… Maybe with a better level of bike infrastructure, you’d feel differently.

      • Posted by Hunter

        As a biker, I agree that busy bikeways can be stressful – but the more people that ride, the more expansive our infrastructure can become. It’s also certainly not as dangerous as driving, as you can see from any stats on fatalities (in SF, people in cars are dying in droves, while bike fatalities are nearer to 5-10 per year).

    • Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

      Hey, it worked for China 50 years ago so why not?

  6. Posted by invented

    It looks like it will continue to be a convenient place to fill up the SUV brigade and get snacks before rolling into Molly Stone’s big parking lot across street to wash the jerky down with a double latte. And, for convenience during construction we have another gas station directly across street. (try to squint at the small period Vics adjacent & the elegant pedestrian scale of Steiner; think. 24/7 — large fluorescent lighting and loud TVS advertising useful products at every station). This is a nice neighborhood.

  7. Posted by Serge

    At one point Shell was selling off their locations. This one, the one on 19th and Lincoln, the one on 7th and Lincoln, and the one near West Portal. Their brokers were a bit stingy, however, not paying a fee for buyer representation. None of them sold.

  8. Posted by Rillion

    People still buy gas in the city? I always fill up whenever I’m out of SF, the further from the city the better (cheaper). Last fill up was for $2 a gallon (1.999).

    • Posted by frog

      I don’t drive enough for the price of gas to be a major concern. But I fill up outside of the city because I hate being hassled for money while pumping gas.

  9. Posted by pac hts dweller

    They should build housing either here or on the Chevron lot across the street but I do like this gas station where it is.

  10. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Is this a way to dodge/defer the cost of removing the underground tanks and the associated environmental remediation required for tank leakage? If the use of the parcel was changed away from refueling then I think that triggers a tank removal. In this way the owner just upgrades their station at minimal cost. The UG tanks might remain in place.

    • Posted by Serge

      I believe that’s why the Pierce and Lombard Chevron is still sitting disused. The UST removal and remediation would cost too much.

  11. Posted by Nicholas

    Gross. We need to have affordable mixed use here.

    If there are no other gas stations anywhere nearby, it should be required to sell innovative and clean fuels like electricity and hydrogen, biodiesel under a solar canopy and provide bicycle maintenance as well.

    We all need to make public comments calling for mixed use instead of climate change causing, toxic fuel sales in our neighborhood and near our children.

    • Posted by bus rider

      Here, here. But watch out for the backlash. SocketSite seems to be full of climate change deniers, comfortable with their motoring ways and to hell with everyone else.

      • Posted by bus rider

        If I may clarify, while I support the general tone of Nicholas’ message (and believe that there is too little recognition of the harmful impacts of our motoring ways – both on our health and on the health of our planet) mandating the measures suggested (ie. bicycle maintenance) for a gas station/private business may be going too far.

      • Posted by Spencer

        ive never read a single climate change denier comment on socketsite. driving a car and supporting public transportation can go hand in hand and we can all be for cleaner burning fuels and alternatives to modernize cars.

        • Posted by bus rider

          Spencer, I agree that driving a car and supporting public transportation can go hand in hand (at least theoretically) but in a congested urban environment driving a car inevitably adds to congestion, slows public transit, and (when done at high speeds and otherwise unsafely) imperils people accessing transit by foot and bicycle.

      • Posted by frog

        It’s not about denying climate change. It’s about the fact that people like Nicolas are terrible at math. Local changes might affect local air quality, although we have it pretty good here. Any real solution to climate change is going to be taxation at the national or international level. There is nothing we can do in our little city to affect climate change globally, except vote.

        Biodiesel is a joke, and an unfunny one at that. Electricty has to come from somewhere. Solar in SF is stupid because we fog in. There’s a reason we don’t try to get energy from the tides in Arizona. This is the reverse. And hydrogen? Where will it come? Nuclear electrolysis of sea water? Would you be happy with that?

        Basically, you have an agenda and no clue what you are talking about, but you want to feel holier-than-thou.

        • Posted by bus rider

          frog, I agree that the most feasible solution to climate change must happen nationally and internationally but, with all due respect, each one of us can take steps to reduce our footprint (such as by driving and polluting as little as possible).

    • Posted by Spencer

      bicycle maintenance at a station that sales gasoline for cars? we should also make all grocery stores provide free foot massages to its customers and all coffee shops provide free alcohol and a liver massage

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        Ha, yes. It does seem incongruous. But it really doesn’t take much in money (~$400) or space (~4 sq. ft.) to install a basic bike maintenance station. I was just at an office where there were two modules bolted to the pavement for bike maintenance. It was a robust and slick setup. But it didn’t have the tool I needed (a spoke wrench). Blast!

        • Posted by frog

          But the question is why should gas stations pay for bike maintenance? We need to stop singling out groups that have to pay for other groups. Either it’s a public service paid by everyone, or it something between cyclists and their bike shop.

          • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

            Sorry, I did not mean to imply I thought gas stations should include bike repair stands. Just pointing out how cheap and easy self-help bike repair equipment is. An almost negligible burden compared to restrooms, something gas stations don’t need to provide either but they do.

            Personally I carry everything required to fix the most common problem (a flat) with me. That gear weighs about half a pound. Anything more severe I just take the bus and fix the bike at home. That only happens once every three or four years. For longer trips out of town I carry about another 10 ounces of tools.

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