The Evanston City Council on Monday approved a proposal to apply for federal funds through the Transportation Alternatives program to pay for a minimum of seven Divvy bike sharing stations (map) in the adjacent suburb. A staff memo to the council [PDF] recommended that Evanston make an agreement with the City of Chicago to collect revenues and maintain the system on behalf of Evanston using the existing contract between Chicago and Alta Bicycle Share. Evanston would pay Chicago if there were any shortfalls in covering operating costs.
The staff memo also said that Evanston staff are talking to Chicago Department of Transportation staff about Chicago joining Evanston on the application for federal funds (which must first be selected by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning) to build up the network of Divvy stations in Chicago to better link to Evanston. Currently, the farthest Divvy station proposed for the north side is at the Loyola Red Line station, which is four miles by bike to the nearest proposed Divvy station in Evanston. To connect the two cities' Divvy systems, infill stations would be needed.
The staff memo identifies short-term bonds or the Parking Fund as sources to provide the 20 percent local match required of all federally-funded projects. CMAP will tell TA applicants in January if their request for $378,000 is approved. "For the fiscal year 2013-2014, CMAP plans to fund bicycle and pedestrian facilities totaling $17.5 million under the TAP," the memo said. Evanston is also talking to Northwestern University, Rotary International, and Northshore University System-Evanston Hospital to arrange sponsorships for additional stations.
Hugh Bartling said that the proposal may increase to more than 7 stations because aldermen whose wards weren't covered by those seven also want them. Bartling, an associate professor of public policy at DePaul University, wrote on his blog that "using funds generated from managing cars – which extract a disproportionate social cost than other forms of mobility – to subsidize a cheaper, lower impact form of mobility is smart" and noted that the Parking Fund has a cash balance of $16 million.
Oak Park is also seeking to be a co-applicant with Chicago and Evanston and the Oak Park Village Board will discuss this in their August 19th meeting.
Where would you propose a Divvy station in Evanston and north Chicago?