2016 Divvy Expansion Includes More Stations, Bikes Than Previously Planned
Good news: More Divvy stations and bikes will be installed this year than had been announced last winter.
Back in September 2014, former Illinois governor Pat Quinn appoved a $3 million grant to help expand the Divvy system into Oak Park and Evanston, as well new areas on Chicago’s West Side and in the Rogers Park neighborhood. The plan was to install 70 stations and 700 bikes by spring or summer of 2015.
Last summer, Chicago added 175 stations and 1,750 bikes, bankrolled by federal and city money, which expanded the original coverage area in all directions. This brought the total number of stations up to 475, with 4,750 bikes. But the state-funded equipment wasn’t installed.
In January the city announced different numbers for the state-funded expansion. The number of stations grew from 70 to 96 stations, but instead of 700 bikes they said “more than 250” bikes would be added to the system, with the roll-out taking place in summer 2016.
Today the Chicago Department of Transportation announced that the number of stations has risen again from 96 to 108, including 13 in Oak Park and 10 in Evanston. The two suburbs, as well as Chicago have chipped in matching funds for the state grant. The Chicago stations will mostly be going to low-to-moderate-income communities of color on the South and West Sides, as well the economically and ethnically diverse Rogers Park neighborhood on the Far North Side.
Meanwhile the number of new bikes to be added has risen significantly, from “more than 250” to 1,077. CDOT spokesman Mike Claffey says that since the January announcement, the city was able to purchase more stations and bikes by using funds from Divvy’s Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois $12.5 million sponsorship of the system.
Therefore, the total number of stations will grow to 583, while the number of bikes is rising to 5,827. It’s great that so many more bikes are being added to the system, because this will prevent the bikes from being spread too thinly around the system, which might have made it more difficult to check out bikes at popular stations.
All 1,077 recently arrived at Divvy’s Pilsen warehouse, where a crew is assembling them. CDOT’s Bicycling Ambassadors bike safety outreach specialists are helping to road test the assembled cycles.
While Claffey said the new station locations aren’t quite finalized, they plan to release the new station map in the next day or two. Station installations will begin in the near future, possibly as early as late next week.
According to CDOT, Divvy riders have taken over 7 million trips since the system launched about three years ago. Ridership is up 48 percent year-to-date over 2015, in keeping with the fact that the number of stations increased by roughly that much during that time.
More than 750,000 residents and visitors have used the bike share service, and more than 33,000 of are those people currently annual members. More than 1,250 Chicagoans have signed up Divvy for Everyone equity program, which offers one-time $5 memberships to low-income residents.