Eyes on the Street: Divvy Bikes Popping Up Like Daisies

Divvy bike sharing station
Checking out the Divvy station at State and Randolph.

I went on a 25-mile bike ride yesterday to check up on livable streets projects around the city (final destination: Lao Beijing for dried chili chicken). On the trip I got a good look at the restriped bike lanes on King Drive in Bronzeville, the conversion of the Garfield Green Line station to a Green/Red/shuttle bus super station, the Red Line South reconstruction project, and lots of Divvy bike-share stations. I spotted three new Divvy locations and since my ride have heard about three more. Add the original Daley Plaza station and there are at least seven installed. Here’s a quick recap of where you can find Divvy stations so far, and in a separate post I’ll give a status report on the other projects.

Divvy stations can be found at:

The pace of installation should pick up. At a meeting last week, Chicago Department of Transportation Assistant Commissioner Sean Wiedel said that after Thursday and Friday, installations would move at a pace of eight per day.

The kiosks are attracting a lot of attention. At the State and Randolph location, I overheard one woman telling her son, “$7 [for the 24-hour pass], that’s okay.” Curiously, some of the stations’ names don’t quite match their locations. The station at Randolph and State, for instance, is called “State St & Lake St,” likely to link it with the nearby ‘L’ station nearby.

The maps on the kiosks will be a helpful new addition to downtown wayfinding, but they could use some improvement. Removing overlapping labels, reducing the prominence of alleys, and moving the legend closer to the map would make them more legible and useful.

Divvy bike sharing station
This gives you a sense of how much space the Divvy station will occupy when full. ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/sets/72157634176986387/with/9070134410/##More photos##.
  • Anonymous

    Clinton @ Madison (in front of FFC, west side of Clinton)

    On FaceBook Divvy mentioned that they installed 15 as of last night.

  • Larrabee and Kingsbury is by the Groupon headquarters, where Bobby Cann worked.

  • Anonymous

    I’m assuming they’re trying their best to avoid it, but with a 1/2 hour time…what happens if you arrive at a dock location and it’s full? Is there an app or something you can use to prevent going to a location where you can’t leave the bike? I know it’s also unlikely, but I’d think for events like Lolla eventually you’ll have more people heading to a single location, causing the bike share equivalent of bus bunching, no?

    Has this been addressed/explored in other cities?

  • Pat

    Clinton and washington at the metra-french market concourse

  • Yes, there’s an app that will allow you to see how many empty docks, and available bikes, are at a given station. If you get stuck, I believe you can call the service line and they’ll direct you to the nearest empty docks, and you won’t get “docked” for the extra time.

  • Pat

    Sorry, missed it above.

  • So many questions!

    1. If you arrive at a station with no empty docks, you can request a 15 minute extension from the kiosk and the kiosk’s screen will show you where there’s a station with empty docks.

    2. There will be an app for Android and iPhone from Divvy. There will be apps from third-party vendors as well.

    3. Divvy staff will be doing “rebalancing”, moving bikes around by truck to where they’re most needed.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the answers, totally missed their FAQ.

  • Mike McCune

    I can’t find the Divvy app in the Play Store. When will it be available?

  • Thanks, Duppie. That puts them slightly ahead (if you discount weekends).

  • In New York City, the Citibike app was released 7 days prior to launch.

    My own app, the Chicago Bike Guide for iOS, will have Divvy integration.

  • Jin Nam

    Eh? “State & Lake”…why aren’t all the stations named by the actual kiosk location?

  • R

    Steven, what do you think of the King Drive buffered bike lane? I take it pretty often as a good connector from the Loop to Woodlawn and it can be pretty narrow in some places with fast cars just beyond intersections. Ha, it kinda takes the protected out of the buffer protected moniker. Although eventually I think it will pair up nicely with the 18th-69th street PBL on State.

  • Adam Herstein

    I thought the kiosks were going to be placed curbside in the roadway, not taking up precious sidewalk space.

  • Anonymous

    At Harold Washington Library

  • I’m working on a post describing my thoughts. In as few words as possible: experience is not an improvement over prior conditions, CDOT should have waited to expend these funds until community and alderman would accept a protected bike lane.

  • What led you to think that? There are many configurations. I was just reviewing some photos of Citibike NYC and saw that there were some that were L-shaped, with a row of docks perpendicular to another row of docks. Another row of docks had them at a 45° angle to the row.

  • Thanks! Did you catch people gawking?

  • Anonymous

    from the el platform

  • Joseph Musco

    That State Street photo shows a tight fit. If you have to back your bike out of the DIVVY rack you are taking up almost 1/2 the walking space. I think that placement is going to cause a pedestrian traffic bottleneck in this spot at least. I wonder if the parking meter deal is causing CDOT to place the DIVVY racks in more sidewalks/plazas vs. parking spots?

  • Joseph Musco

    A quick Google Image Search of Nice Ride MN, Citibike,and Capital Bikeshare shows most photos with the sidewalk or open space bike station, not parking spot stations. Based on that quick search, these photos show the typical installation for all systems.

    Still, it is a bit odd to obstruct planters and public sculpture. I took a walk around this area using Google Street View and there seem to be plenty of space to the N or S of the planters on State Street that are in between polls and stops, not in the flow of pedestrian traffic. Are bike racks for non-DIVVY bikes ever placed behind planters in the sidewalk downtown?

    http://goo.gl/maps/Ilm8E

  • All the bike racks on Michigan Avenue and State Street that I’m picturing right now are between planters, and not in the unobstructed walking path. These planters, like the ones on Michigan, are too wide in so many places.

  • John

    One popped up this morning outside the Jewel on Des Plaines & Kinzie

  • Carol Ann

    Michigan & Congress. Next to Roosevelt University & Artist Cafe.

  • Anonymous

    They’re putting a pbl on state?!

  • Adam Herstein

    There are pictures of CitiBike with the racks in the street.

  • There’s a lot of ways to do it. I think we’ve got at least two things going on that heavily influence the placement: More people in NYC, and issues with parking meters in Chicago.

    Another thing that’s different…Citibike’s maps are on the outside, visible away from the docks, while Divvy’s maps are (oddly) on the inside so you have to step into a dock to read it.

  • They probably moved it at the last minute, and the map was already printed.

  • Gotta stay out of the way of people entering and exiting the subway.

  • Anonymous

    Any word on when they’ll do that, and how it will work through IIT’s Campus?

  • Erik Swedlund

    I just saw the station at Milwaukee and Wood, which is in the roadway. Chicago and Ogden is on the sidewalk.

  • Nope, let me put that in my story idea hopper…

  • Jin Nam

    That is a believable rationale. :-)

  • I think the Washington and Clinton station is on the street, if I’m interpreting the picture correctly.

  • Check out this one on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park by Walgreens on Wood/Wolcott:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/9093355701/

  • Anonymous

    Are you still counting?
    Two new stations were installed today: Jefferson between Jackson and Adams, and Clinton @ Lake (Green line station)

  • Anonymous

    Still counting? Two new stations last night. Franklin @ Chicago and Orleans @ Elm.

    Both were the first ones I saw with ads on the outside of the map.

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The city is gearing up to add 175 more Divvy bike-share stations this year, bringing the total to 475. On Thursday, 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore hosted a community meeting at Eugene Field elementary to discuss potential Divvy station locations within Rogers Park. The meeting also covered the proposed north-south neighborhood greenway that’s a ballot item […]