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Like Chicago Bicyclists, Divvy Will Soldier on Through the Winter

My @DivvyBikes ride from #MarquetteBuilding party to @BluestemCommOrg party. #divvyon #bikewinter #notholidivvy pic.twitter.com/UGOylnk1YW

— Abby Crisostomo (@AbbyMPC) December 13, 2013

At last Wednesday's Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Council meeting, assistant transportation commissioner Sean Wiedel shared Divvy's cold-weather operating strategy.

To keep maintenance costs down and scale the bike-share fleet to anticipated demand, Divvy is aiming to reduce the number of available bikes during the winter by 65 percent, to about 1,200 bikes, Weidel said. All 300 Divvy stations will remain available for day-pass holders and annual members like Isaac Wilson and Abby Crisostomo, above.

The exception will be big winter storms. "If there's a small storm," Wiedel said, "we'll leave all the bikes in place." Depending on a storm's severity, Divvy may either remove bikes from on-street stations, or, if the National Weather Service predicts six or more inches of snow, remove bikes from on-street stations and shut down the system. Members will find out through email, news media, and social media.

"Otherwise," Weidel said, "we will be up and running because this is a transit system and we want it to be a reliable part of your commute."

Alta Planning staffer Gin Kilgore asked if the 30-minute deadline to return a bike (to avoid the overtime fee) would be "softened." Wiedel said that it would, adding that members should call customer service if it's a bad situation – say, you're stranded. "We're reasonable about it," he said.

Wiedel mentioned a few other notable facts about Divvy:

    • Some of Divvy's now-12,000 members took about 1,200 rides – one per bike – on Tuesday, December 10, despite the several inches of snow that fell the prior Sunday evening.
    • CDOT is hiring a Divvy program manager to replace Ben Gomberg, who retired earlier this year. Applications are due Wednesday afternoon.
    • Between 80 and 90 percent of the stations on the ground now were specifically suggested by Chicagoans when CDOT solicited ideas in early 2013. CDOT is soliciting suggestions for infill locations and to expand the service area by 175 stations in 2014.

Tweeted photo by Angie Leyva.

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