Three Divvy bike stations to open on campus this spring

Hangda Zhang, Reporter

Starting this spring, Northwestern students will be able to rent bikes from three Divvy stations on campus.

Rob Whittier, director of the Office of Sustainability, said based on the interest of students, faculty and staff surveyed by Associated Student Government and SustainNU, NU is piloting the bike sharing stations at Technological Institute, Norris University Center and The Arch.

“My biggest concern is that these stations will get so well-used,” Whittier said. “It happens sometimes in the city of Chicago — I’ll go to a station to try to get a bike to go to work, but the bikes are all gone. The usage is so incredible.”

Ten Divvy stations are set to open in Evanston this year, including sites at the Central Street Metra and Chicago Transit Authority stations, the Main Street CTA station and the Davis Street Metra and CTA stations.

Thirty one percent of the more than 1,600 student respondents to the 2014 survey said they would use an unlimited bike sharing program at NU or in Evanston at a cost of $55 annually, the current Divvy annual membership fee for college students nationwide, said Joji Syed, ASG vice president of community relations.

“Not every student wants to have a bike,” Syed said. “With this, you pick up a Divvy bike, use it, drop it off at a station, done,” she said.

With an unlimited number of 30-minute trips as part of the annual membership, students who use the program will also be able to travel from a planned Divvy station near the Central Street CTA station to downtown Evanston, then onto the Main Street CTA station, said Katherine Knapp, the city’s transportation and mobility coordinator. Students can also rent Divvy bikes for individual 30-minute periods without a membership.

Community meetings will be held before the Divvy launch to discuss the stations and increase awareness of their openings, Knapp said.

In addition to working on the bike sharing system, Whittier said Evanston and NU will add bicycle lanes on Sheridan Road next year to make biking safer.

Syed said the bike sharing system will help students venture beyond NU, and added that she’s excited to see the changes be put into place.

“It reduces the barriers the students often see when they want to go into different communities,” she said. “I don’t think it could be better.”

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the number of Divvy stations that will open this year. Ten stations will open. It also misrepresented Katherine Knapp’s statement about potential Divvy routes. Knapp said students will be able to travel into downtown Evanston as well as to the Main Street CTA station. The Daily regrets the errors.  

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