By Bob Pool
8:27 PM PST, February 19, 2014
The guy who runs the street-corner gas stations at the bustling Fairfax-area intersection gets them going and coming.
The filling station owner operates not one but two Chevron stations at the corner of La Brea Avenue and Beverly Boulevard, a sight that often leaves motorists doing double takes.
And that may have been Ben Pouldar's plan 15 months ago when he opened a Chevron service station right across the street from the Chevron station he already owned.
"It really is incredibly weird," said Davon Williams as he gazed across the street while pumping $3.699-a-gallon unleaded into his car.
"I actually saw the other Chevron station first but I was in the wrong lane to turn into it," said Williams, an actor and writer who moved to Hollywood 11 months ago from Philadelphia. "Then I noticed this one and pulled in."
Two pumps over, San Pedro healthcare worker Sonja Carter said the Chevron on the southeast corner was easier to get to as she crossed the busy intersection.
"There's just too much traffic around here. I was going this direction, so I picked the station on my right side," Carter said.
Across the street, Sheila Collins was gassing up at the Chevron station on the northwest corner.
"I was going east on Beverly and didn't see the station on the southeast corner because a truck blocked my view," said Collins, an actress who lives in Pasadena.
"Then I looked to my left and saw this place. I saw a left-turn lane and pulled in here," she said. "At least I hope it was a left-turn lane."
As Collins was speaking, a loud crash erupted in the middle of the crowded intersection, followed by a lengthy screeching sound. Collins watched as a convertible scraped to a stop on westbound Beverly.
Smoke poured from under the car as its willowy blonde driver jumped out. She peered in disbelief at her right front wheel, which was tucked beneath the car. Employees from both stations ran out to help.
Inside the northwest station's mini mart, clerk Scarleth Garcia watched the scene unfolding from her register counter's window. The Chevron across the street is usually busier than her Chevron, Garcia acknowledged.
"That station has been here the longest. People are used to it," said Garcia, a South Los Angeles resident. "This one used to be a Valero station."
Back across the street at the other Chevron, clerk Raphael Crisanto tackled a question about why one of the stations' per-gallon price signs was lower than the sister station's a few days earlier.
"It shouldn't have been. They're the same," said Crisanto, who lives in nearby Koreatown and has worked at the station more than four years.
"But the other station has an electronic price sign," he added. "Maybe I was out there changing the prices manually when you drove by."
He said that Lionel Valdes, who manages both stations, sent him across the street to work temporarily when the Chevron sign replaced Valero's.
Both stations sell snacks and both dispense diesel fuel, Crisanto said. "But the one over there has a car wash," he said. "And we don't."
Valdes said motorists were initially surprised when the second Chevron station opened in October 2012. "But they're used to it now.
"They like not having to make a left turn to get in here," he said.
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