I appreciate BAPA's efforts in circulating a petition to let CDOT know that folks in our ward want Divvy. How many people in the 19th ward have used Divvy in existing locations? How many understand how the system works?
Divvy and other on-demand bike share systems are designed for short point-to-point trips. Bike share is intended as a form of short-distance public transportation, not for longer recreational rides. This type of system works best when the area covered is large, with many stations spaced 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile apart.
One may buy a 24-hour or 1-year membership, which includes an unlimited number of trips of 30 minutes or less within that membership period. From the time you remove a bike from a station dock, it costs no additional money unless you keep it for longer than 30 minutes. If you ride longer than 30 minutes, there is a small charge; increasing for a trip of 1 hour or more. The price structure is intended to maximize the number of bikes available at any given time.
|Divvy station map|
Stations may be placed in front of businesses, libraries, school, at parks, in residential locations, etc. Where business districts and other non-residential destinations are more than 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile apart, station placement in residential locations may be needed to effectively serve that part of the neighborhood. When stations are too far apart, they may not be convenient to your desired start location or destination, making bike share a less efficient form of transportation.
Much of what we have so far has been paid for by federal grant funding (such as CMAQ and other categories of transportation grant money) and sponsorship by Blue Cross Blue Shield. U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin have been strong allies, supporting bike, ped and transit funding in Congress.
Continued improvements to bike infrastructure (bike lanes and neighborhood greenways), traffic education aimed at all ages, and better traffic enforcement are all needed for Divvy to succeed in the 19th ward. Every day I see adults riding on the sidewalk (illegal for riders older than 12) on streets like Longwood Dr. I rarely see any traffic enforcement in the neighborhood, and I often observe drivers going 10+ mph over the speed limit on portions of Longwood, 111th and almost anywhere on Western. If more riders felt comfortable on local streets, Divvy would be much more successful in the 19th ward.
I encourage you to nominate Divvy station locations or vote in support of proposed locations through the Divvy web site. Voting for specific locations adds substance to the BAPA petition.
We need to overcome anti-bike attitudes and dangerous driver behavior that are prevalent in some areas of the ward. Our alderman has publicly shown hostility to the idea of 19th ward bike lanes in recent years, as quoted in a Tribune article: "Several aldermen also called for better bike lanes ...Ald. Matthew O’Shea, 19th, took a different stance, telling Klein 'if you never put a bike lane in my ward, that’s too soon.'”
I and other south side bike advocates have talked with CDOT commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld and deputy commissioner Luann Hamilton about demand for Divvy in far south side neighborhoods. They have repeatedly stated their intention to keep seeking grant funding for future expansion to broaden the Divvy service area to cover more of the city. I will keep asking until Divvy expansion to the 19th ward is planned and funded.
If we can achieve better infrastructure and less driver hostility towards cyclists, Divvy could be a very positive addition to the neighborhood. I hope that funding and political will can come together to make that happen.