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Divvy's Spring Expansion Still Not Reaching Far Enough For Some Critics

By Danette Chavez in News on Apr 22, 2015 4:40PM

Photo via Flickr user Zak Jacobson)

There's much ado about Divvy: the bike-share program's spring expansion plans, which include 176 new stations and an additional 1750 bikes, are now in full swing. But there are still concerns about certain areas remaining underserved by the program.

Divvy announced the expansion about eight months ago, along with a list of planned stations. The additional spots will take the northern boundary to Touhy Avenue, branch westward to Pulaski Road and stretch as far south as 75th Street. Ultimately, Divvy will have 475 stations spread out over 87 square miles that will make up "the largest service area in North America." It will have more stations (476 total) than New York's Citi Bike program, though the Big Apple will still have more bikes available overall (6000 to our planned 4760).

In a press release issued yesterday, city officials applauded the service expansion plans. Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld praised her department's joint efforts with Divvy to "continue to increase [Divvy] access in neighborhoods across Chicago." Some neighborhood groups chimed in with their kudos, with Tom Otto of the West Humboldt Park Development Council saying that the WHPDC is "thrilled at the expansion of Divvy into the West Humboldt Park neighborhood." And cycling advocate Oboi Reed, co-founder of Slow Roll Chicago, said his organization is "especially happy to see Divvy expand to more communities of color and low- to moderate-income neighborhoods."

But that move into underserved neighborhoods is still slow going; the far northwest and southwest sides aren't exactly lighting up on the Divvy map. 29th Ward Alderman(-elect) Chris Taliaferro has been vocal about his frustration, telling DNAInfo Chicago that "it wouldn't cost a significant amount" to install some stations in his ward, which includes the Austin neighborhood. His constituents are already using bikes as a method of transportation, he said, so including his ward in the Divvy plans shouldn't be much of a stretch. In response, CDOT spokesman Mike Claffey and Jim Merrell, a campaign director at the Active Transportation Alliance, "counsel patience" to cyclists in the farther reaches of the city. "The goal is to make the program accessible to everyone, no matter where they live in the city," said Merrell.