City planning on adding new Divvy bike station


Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer

One of the ten existing Divvy bike stations in Evanston is outside Norris University Center. City staff included funding for an additional station to be constructed near the Dempster CTA station.

Nora Shelly, City Editor

A new Divvy bike station may pop up in Evanston next spring, if funding proposed in 2017’s budget is approved by City Council.  

Divvy bikes came to Evanston this summer in coordination with Chicago and funded in part by a state grant. The plan then was to allow people to travel between Oak Park and Evanston with Chicago using the bikes.

From the end of June to the end of September, 900 Evanston community members had “active memberships,” meaning that they either had new or renewed memberships that they frequently used, according to council documents.

The potential new station is proposed near the Dempster Street CTA station because there was a “hole in the system” in the area, said Katie Knapp, Evanston’s transportation and mobility coordinator.

Additionally, a thousand 24-hour passes were sold at Evanston Divvy stations from June to September. Divvy bike riders took almost 6,500 trips and covered roughly 16,500 miles. Knapp said the program is growing at the expected rate.

Knapp said the city is glad to see a variety of users, meaning there are a significant number of people with both annual memberships and using 24-hour passes.

Many of the trips are under 30 minutes, Knapp said, meaning that the bikes are likely being used as a convenient mode of commuting.

“(It) really speaks to how the Divvy system fits into our ecosystem of transportation,” she said. “It just really points to the versatility of the Divvy system.”

The exact location of the station is still being worked out with business owners in the area, Knapp said, and will be installed in the late spring if the funding is approved in the 2017 proposed budget.

Tim Peterson, the owner of Squeezebox Books, located at 1235 Chicago Ave., said he was excited about the possibility of a new station near his business.

“The notion of stations throughout town and folks coming to hit this neighborhood is awesome,” he said.

Peterson, who is the former marketing chair of the Main-Dempster Mile Special Service Area, said the Divvy station near the Main Street CTA and Metra stations would connect well with a station near Dempster Street.

Divvy users, he said, would have the opportunity to start at either end of the special service area and be able to easily explore the neighborhoods on a bike. The business area stretches along Chicago Avenue from Main to Dempster streets, and includes the stores on either sidestreet.

“That would be a long walk, (to) just come check out all the shops along Main Street and Dempster,” he said. “It’s a great excuse to hop on a bike.”

Knapp said there has been a lot of activity in the system from the Main Street stop to the downtown area, along Northwestern’s campus and up to the station near the Central Street CTA station.

Dempster Street, she said, fit right into that north-south corridor.

The city is also trying to encourage east-to-west travel with the Divvy system, Knapp said. A station at Dempster would fit right into that plan as well, she said.

Knapp said that the Divvy system is intended to serve as a connection between other modes of transport, such as bus lines or CTA and Metra trains.

“It is a connection to transit there,” she said. “We’re seeing that again Divvy really serves as a connector or a bridge to existing transit lines and also provides transit services areas where it’s not.”

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Twitter: @noracshelly