Will Rogers Park Use Menu Funds to Beef Up Its Divvy Network?

Howard Street
Biking on Howard Street in Rogers Park. Photo: Eric Rogers

Next year, Chicago will expand Divvy bike-share from 300 stations to 475 or possibly 550 stations, and Rogers Park residents are excited about the news that far north side neighborhoods will get at least 15 stations in 2014.

Melissa Manak is a member of the 49th Ward’s bikes and transit committee for the participatory budgeting process, where residents get to choose how to spend the $1 million in menu money allocated to each ward. She told Streetsblog she wants even more bike-share stations:

Rogers Park is a neighborhood that has been car-oriented for many years and with increasing population, Divvy can become the easy and alternative mode of transportation. Our neighborhood has so many great businesses that haven’t been connected to each other. Divvy will allow us to explore our already awesome neighborhood. While our bike committee has not met yet, I have every intention to put Divvy stations on our ballot.

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Manak riding a bike-share bike in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Melissa Manak.

Using menu funds to add more Divvy stations should be doable. Several wards have already used menu money to provide the local match the city needed to obtain federal funds for Divvy installation. The participatory budgeting committee would be charged $56,000 for one station or $53,000 per station if they request more than one.

Sean Wiedel, assistant commissioner at the Chicago Department of Transportation, said that the agency will “have a good idea of the service area expansion” in December.

CDOT will again use the station suggestion website developed by the software division of Streetsblog’s parent organization, OpenPlans. The website is currently functional, but Wiedel said it will be “relaunched” next month with new data layers and be linked directly from the Divvy website.

Dozens of bike-share stations were suggested for the neighborhood last year when CDOT was soliciting suggestions. Those include 18 votes for a bike-share station at Howard Red Line train station, and a brand-new suggestion for Leone Park. Rogers Park stations will be important to create a usable network between Evanston, which has proposed eight stations, and Chicago’s far north side neighborhoods.

  • CL

    Divvy funding will probably win, as the cyclist vote tends to turn out. Last year, we spent $75,000 to paint pictures of bikes on the road (shared lanes) — I know there’s an argument that they improve awareness, but the fact that they won over tangible improvements means cyclists make up a significant percentage of the vote (which is also my anecdotal experience).

    I’m fine with spending the money on Divvy stations — at least they’re useful. I’m annoyed, though, that improvements for disabled pedestrians and transit users rarely win (benches at bus stops, wheelchair ramps). That’s what I vote for.

  • madopal

    Any advice on doing the same in other wards? Is it just a matter of talking with the Alderman?

  • The strategy for this (seemingly) in my ward, 46, which did PB last year is that those improvements for accessibility (including bus stop enhancements near a hospital) were rolled into a package called “Walkable 46” and therefore was more likely to be voted on, as it also included crosswalk signals where they don’t exist, as well as pavement fixes and new crosswalk striping. Then again we didn’t have a ton of transport projects, so all 4 were voted on anyway.

  • I don’t recall voting on the shared lanes, but I did vote for two park projects, the Sheridan Road study and the bus benches. Is it possible I know you? That’s my wife in the photo.

  • CL

    I don’t think I’ve met you or your wife, but Rogers Park is a small world, so it’s possible our paths have crossed!

  • What part of the neighborhood are you on? We’re east of the Morse station.

  • CL

    I’m just west of Clark, just north of Devon. But I still consider East Rogers Park my neighborhood, since that’s where I spend all of my time — I never find myself walking west for anything.

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