Letter: Not another gas station

Published: 09-18-2023 8:53 AM

A redevelopment of the Steeplegate Mall is long overdue. Turning that empty husk of a site into badly needed housing seems like a step forward. One detail in the plan published by the Monitor caught my eye, and not in a good way. Off to the north end is a large block simply labeled “GAS.” Are the developers proposing to put in a gas station? There are already four gas stations within half a mile of Steeplegate. What possible need do we have for more? When was the last time you needed to wait to fill up? Gas stations are fiscally marginal enterprises in the best of times.

Within a generation, this gas station, like the Steeplegate Mall itself, will become a costly stranded asset, and a toxic one requiring significant remediation. A much better and forward-looking use for that space would be a suite of EV chargers. There are Tesla superchargers at the Hooksett rest area, and by the new Market Basket in Penacook. Within Concord itself, there are no publicly available EV chargers. The availability of EV chargers is a barrier to wider adoption, particularly for renters. If Concord intends to meet its long-term net-zero goals, it should start by requiring chargers for any new development.

Alex Streeter



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