Chicago eyes Evanston for Divvy expansion


Source: Divvy

The Chicago Department of Transportation wants to bring bike-sharing service Divvy to Evanston next year. The department’s plan would also install Divvy stations in Oak Park, Ill.

Patrick Svitek, City Editor

The Chicago Department of Transportation is looking to expand Divvy to two suburbs, the latest effort to bring the bike-sharing service to Evanston.

CDOT announced Wednesday it plans to apply for $3 million in state grants to grow the network outside Chicago. The state grants would fund a total of 75 stations in Chicago, Evanston and Oak Park, Ill.

CDOT assistant commissioner Sean Wiedel said the department submitted its application for the state grants in August and expects to hear back by February or March. That timeline would likely bring Divvy to Evanston and Oak Park by summer or next fall.

Evanston has expressed interest in eight stations, while Oak Park wants 12, Wiedel said. The other 65 stations would be added in Chicago, moving Divvy closer to becoming one of the largest bike-sharing systems in the world.

In September, Evanston aldermen gave their permission to city manager Wally Bobkiewicz to apply for a state grant to lure Divvy.

Catherine Hurley, Evanston sustainable programs coordinator, detailed what Divvy could look like in the city for its Administration and Public Works Committee. She suggested placing seven stations near the public transit stations on Davis and Central Streets, downtown, the lakefront, the Northwestern campus, Evanston Hospital and the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center.

After Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) and Ald. Delores Holmes (5th) asked Hurley why she did not plan for any stations in their wards — the south and west parts of the city — Hurley stressed the state grant would not lock Evanston into her proposed list of locations.

Evanston would have to match 20 percent of the $472,500 state grant, or $94,500, according to city documents. City staff had proposed asking Rotary International, Evanston Hospital and Northwestern for financial support.

Hurley told the committee NU is “definitely interested in supporting the project,” though University officials had not made any promises. University spokesman Al Cubbage said Thursday that NU has not been asked to chip in.

Since Divvy launched in June, its Chicago customers have taken 650,000 trips, together riding more than 1.5 million miles, according to CDOT.

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Twitter: @PatrickSvitek