Eyes on the Street: Albany Park Divvy Replaces Cars Parked on Sidewalk

Cars on the sidewalk in Albany Park
Before the Divvy station went in, it was too easy for people to park their cars on the sidewalk. Photo: CDOT

A new Divvy station next to the CTA’s Francisco Brown Line stop in Ravenswood Manor, one of several installed yesterday in the Albany Park community area, replaces parkway car parking spots – which often resulted in cars blocking the sidewalk – with 11 public bike-share docks. Streetsblog Chicago reader Jim Peters gave us a heads-up about the swap.

After: A Divvy station will keep the sidewalk for pedestrians. Photo: CDOT
Now the sidewalk will remain clear for pedestrians. Photo: CDOT

Chicago Department of Transportation assistant commissioner Sean Wiedel, who manages the Divvy Program, said motorists would often drive so far up on the pad that their vehicles would completely block the sidewalk. This forced pedestrians to walk in the roadway. Peters, who lives a block away, said he’s even watched parents pushing strollers in the street. “Seeing open sidewalk and bikes, instead of parked cars, is truly a beauteous sight,” he said.

Wiedel added that removing the car parking here also prevents a potentially hazardous situation. Previously, drivers backing out of the parkway obstructed through traffic, which meant it was possible for waiting motorists to get stuck on the ‘L’ tracks.

Thanks to this smart repurposing of the parkway, instead of warehousing private cars which inconvenienced and endangered residents, the space now houses a handy and affordable public transportation amenity. As of this morning, the Divvy system featured 406 stations, the largest number of stations in any U.S. city. By June, Chicago should have 476 stations, the most in North America.

  • duppie

    While it is easy to blame the uncaring drivers for parking their cars on the sidewalk, the real problem is a bad sidewalk design. The curb should have been raised a long time ago. That would have prevented this from happening to begin with.

  • Or at minimum dropped a couple of concrete stop-bars.

  • JacobEPeters

    Perpendicular parking would not work with a curb or stop bars because most trucks & SUVs would be hanging out into the street if they didn’t pull as far forward as shown in the photo. It was just a nonsensical place to put this type of parking in the first place.

  • R.A. Stewart

    Another dangerous, unsightly Divvy stand obstructing the sidewalk, robbing the neighborhood of desperately-needed parking, drawing in hipster commie riffraff,
    and lowering property values.

  • Love this passive aggressive way to discontinue the use of pedestrian sidewalk as car parking spaces. This reminds me, there is always a car parked on the sidewalk next to a real estate office on the SE corner of Irving and Leavitt. …. And after looking it up, its parked on the sidewalk so often that streetview has captured it! Sidewalks are for people. Im curious as to how it even gets up there.

  • Neil W.

    Imagining how furious the people who usually park there must be right now is cracking me up.

  • Jared Kachelmeyer

    Shouldn’t they be getting tickets for this? Or is there some loop hole here?

  • The loophole is people are lazy. But, yes, seems to be an illegal use of the ROW to me. I’ve contacted the alderman.

  • And the hipster cocktails…!

  • kastigar

    For years cars have been parked here, blocking the sidewalk. It’s great to see the Divvy stand blocking the space. And it’s convenient to the Francisco Brown Line station on Manor.

    I thought it was illegal to park on the parkway; the public property between the street and the sidewalk. You see this happening all over the city, especially in the neighborhoods.

  • I would guess it’s probably the vehicle of the business owner, who thinks this is a legit use.

    There’s a variety of body shops near Elston in Albany Park that regularly park up their sidewalks in much the same way as shown in the top post here, though usually they’re courteous enough to leave walkspace corridors. In their view, they are permitted to do this, as well as using all the nominally-free parking spaces bordering their businesses, AND parking in several spaces that would be illegal parking for anyone else (they put a business card on the dashboard).

  • I was there on Tuesday and overheard several conversations among people who work up there expressing pleased surprise at the Divvy station’s sudden appearance. Even among those of them who had known Divvy existed (and some used it in the neighborhoods where they lived), none of them had had any idea that expansion was happening, or happening this spring.

    I pointed a few at the planned-expansion map on Divvy’s website.

  • duppie

    It is illegal for car dealers/car shops to park their cars on the public roadway. Especially if they put a sign in the window.
    A call to your Alderman would be a good first step.

  • duppie

    Hipster wouldn’t be caught dead on a Divvy bike, given that it looks and rides like a brick.
    But I would be concerned about nattily dressed professionals using Divvy as the last mile solution. Those professionals bring down the neighborhood.

  • Jared Kachelmeyer

    Yes, but it seems like they would get ticketed for this and stop doing this. Apparently parking enforcement looks the other way in this case.

  • Great location, but a *horrible* street for cyclists during rush hour, and often on weekends, when traffic gets really intense and drivers speed through Manor, which is used as a shortcut. A bit further south is the 5-way intersection of Mozart, Manor and Wilson. On bi-directional Manor parking is allowed on both sides, leaving only one car-width lane for passing. Unfortunately, that does not seem to deter people driving through there. The little park south of the tracks just was improved for the many children who live and play there. Children and cars, bad mix.


CDOT Reveals Plans for Chicago’s First Raised Bike Lane on Roosevelt Road

At a community meeting Tuesday at Columbia College, Chicago Department of Transportation Project Director Janet Attarian outlined plans for the new Roosevelt Road streetscape from State Street to Columbus Drive. The project will include a groundbreaking new segment of sidewalk-level, two-way bicycle lane, part of a bike-friendly route to and from the lakefront. The info […]

“Walk To Transit” Targets 20 CTA Stations For Quick Safety Fixes

A new “Walk To Transit” initiative by the Chicago Department of Transportation will target 20 CTA stations for a slew of simple pedestrian infrastructure upgrades. People walking to several Blue Line stations on the west side and along Milwaukee Avenue, along with stations on the south and north sides, will see safety and usability improvements like re-striped […]