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Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

More than 1,000 new Divvy bikes to hit Chicago streets, but is that enough?

Written by
Sara Freund

After two years, Divvy is shifting into a new gear. An additional 85 bike stations are coming to Chicago this summer, mostly on the South and Southwest sides, plus suburbs.

The bike-sharing service expects to roll out many new stations in Austin, Garfield Park, Burnside, Chatham, Greater Grand Crossing, Brighton Park, Englewood and Rogers Park, as well as in Evanston and Oak Park.

By summer’s end, North America’s largest bike-share system will offer 5,600 bikes total, thanks to more than 1,000 new two-wheelers on local streets as part of this year’s expansion. The current program goes as far south as 85th Street, north to Touhy Avenue and west to Pulaski Road, while the additions push the boundaries farther south, west and north.

But some residents still feel like a third wheel. A few South Side neighborhoods have yet to see Divvy. Residents of the 19th Ward, which includes Beverly, Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood, are disappointed, says Alderman Matthew O’Shea. The Beverly Area Planning Association and O’Shea submitted a petition of 1,350 signatures in October to the Department of Transportation (CDOT) to show demand. “I’d love to know why we’re not a priority,” says Margot Holland, executive director of the Beverly Area Planning Association. “When you hear they’re bringing bike sharing to Evanston and Oak definitely makes us feel like we’re not a priority. We have the infrastructure, and we’re Divvy ready.”

The bikes are one more way for residents to go to work or school and are a great asset to economic development, says Mike Claffey, CDOT’s director of public affairs. Divvy members take an average of three trips per month they wouldn’t have otherwise, according to Divvy data. Members save an average of $750 per year on travel costs, too. Residents with lower incomes can get a one-year membership for $5. Claffey says as soon as more funding becomes available, so will more blue bikes.

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