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Divvy Is Expanding To New Neighborhoods And Suburbs

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Jan 13, 2016 8:27PM

Divvy, Chicago's celebrated bike-share program, has announced it will move into new neighborhoods and some suburbs for its latest major expansion.

At least 75 new bike share stations will be scattered around the far reaches of the city this year, according to an announcement made Wednesday, including Austin, Garfield Park, Burnside, Chatham, Greater Grand Crossing, Brighton Park and Englewood. Suburban Evanston and Oak Park will also get a handful of stations each.

A state grant will help fund the installation of 13 stations in Oak Park and eight in Evanston, according to Chicago Department of Transportation officials. The total number of Divvy bikes in existence will rise from 4,750 bikes at 475 stations to over 5,000 bikes at 571 stations. "This new expansion will ensure more residents in more neighborhoods can access this system and enjoy the transportation and health benefits of biking,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

Since pioneering the bike share program in 2013, Chicago has made some efforts to make bike share and cycling more accessible to Chicagoans—particularly low-income Chicagoans and people who don't live near the city's center or near public transportation. But they've also come under steep criticism for not doing enough, particularly from activists of color who live on the South Side and worry that there aren't enough safe cycling routes.

In 2015 the city launched Divvy for Everyone, a program that subsidized bike share memberships for those with income under 300 percent of the federal poverty level for just $5 a year. (The annual membership is typically $75.) Department of Transportation chief Rebekah Scheinfeld says Divvy is growing in popularity along with these changes.

"It recorded a 30 percent increase in the number of trips last year, with almost 3.2 million trips in 2015, compared to 2.4 million in 2014," she said in a statement. "The system has almost 32,000 annual members."

Need more proof that Divvy is booming? Scheinfeld also says that members took over 900 ride last Sunday, when the high was 27 degrees.