NORTH LAWNDALE — The Chicago Department of Transportation kicked off an expansion of the Divvy bike-rental system Thursday.
The city and Lyft, which runs Divvy, are adding 107 lightweight e-stations on the Northwest and Southwest sides. A ribbon-cutting for the first of the new stations was held in North Lawndale with Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th), CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi, pastors Derrick and Reshorna Fitzpatrick of Stone Temple Baptist Church and Lyft representatives.
The stations will be installed in a 35-square-mile area, including neighborhoods like Austin and Belmont Cragin. The stations can be used to rent and dock Divvy’s e-bikes.
Officials also announced they’re installing 300 bike racks and 45 miles of bike lanes as part of the expansion.
Scott, speaking at the ribbon-cutting, thanked CDOT and the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council for making West Side communities friendlier for pedestrians and bicyclists.
“We will have hundreds of bikes that our community members can get on and get to transit, get to their neighbors house, get to a park or come to my office,” Scott said. “We actually have one right across the street from my office, and so we want to thank Divvy here for their commitment to Chicago, commitment to this community.”
Biagi said the bike-rental system has thrived even during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Bike share has been an incredible asset to our city over the last couple of years but especially during the pandemic,” Biagi said. “We were able to offer discounted rides and free rides, and free rides for health care workers and all kinds of things. People used the system. They got around the city and they’re still doing it.”
In June, Chicago set a record with about 699,000 Divvy rides made in one month, Biagi said. Officials hope July will have even more, as they’re aiming for 700,000 rides this month.
“We’re already, by service area, the largest bike-share system in the country right here in Chicago, and we’re just getting bigger,” Biagi said. “By this time next year, the entire city will have access to ride share. That’s a huge statement. No city in the country, in our class, has that kind of access to bike share.”
Biagi said the city will look to invest more in bike infrastructures to keep communities connected. She wants to make it easier for Chicagoans to feel safe and comfortable traveling via bikes.
“Sure, please ride to work,” Biagi said. “But I also want you to ride to the park. I want you to ride to the grocery store. I want you to ride to your neighbor’s house. We need to not just connect with our commuter routes — which is important — but to other neighborhoods.”
Robert Scultz III, a campaign organizer at bike advocacy group Active Transportation Alliance, said the group long has advocated for Divvy’s use in the city as a way to create better bike access.
“We are pleased that this installation is just one more step towards realizing such a vision toward visions for communities like North Lawndale,” Schultz said. “Active Trans is here today because expanding Divvy citywide is a critical step towards embracing a multimodal vision for the futures of Chicago’s transportation network.”
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