A year after a public meeting about expanding its services, Divvy bike sharing is officially coming to Beverly, Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood.
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced on July 16 that the neighborhoods will be among many on the Far South Side to join the program in coming months, with 66 docking stations and 3,500 bikes to be introduced on the South Side.
The 19th Ward will have 11 stations.
Two years after the community was part of a pilot bike-sharing program that was popular with residents, 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea said he’s happy to see Divvy coming.
“We had such a successful pilot program back in 2018,” O’Shea said. “I was very confident on the heels of the program that we were going to see an expansion based on the participation of our community. It took a lot longer [than I hoped]—obviously, it was slowed a bit by COVID-19—but it’s finally here.”
City officials celebrated a station installation at 83rd Street and Stewart Avenue on July 16, and according to O’Shea, CDOT will begin work locally in about a week, with everything in place by mid-October.
According to CDOT, stations will be installed at the Metra Rock Island stops at 91st, 99th, 107th and 115th streets; the intersection of 103rd Street and Western; the intersection of 111th and Western, at the Beverly Arts Center; the intersection of 103rd and Kedzie, the intersection of 111th and Lawndale, near Mt. Greenwood Park; at 103rd and Lawndale, near St. Xavier University; and at 92nd and Hamilton, near Kellogg Elementary School.
The last two stations will be e-bike stations, where electric bikes can be docked and charged.
City officials announced that Divvy would expand to Beverly about a year ago, and a public meeting was held last October at Beverly Unitarian Church, where attendees offered suggestions on possible station locations.
O’Shea said he was grateful for residents being allowed to provide input.
“Our community will support this; our community will be a part of this,” O’Shea said. “Our community will utilize this.”
During the 2018 pilot program, several vendors participated; Divvy, which is owned by Lyft, was not among them.
The program, which was introduced in South Side wards that didn’t have Divvy, was popular locally, as residents of the 19th Ward reportedly used the program more than other participating wards combined.
According to CDOT, the expansion into the Far South Side is the first of three phases that will bring Divvy to every Chicago neighborhood by 2021. Phase 1 will increase the Divvy network about 60 square miles, ranging from West Englewood to Hegewisch.
CDOT also said 16.5 miles of new bike lanes will be added on the Far South Side. Phases 2 and 3 will expand the program into the West and Northwest sides, as well as the community just northwest of the 19th Ward, as city officials said they want to help neighborhoods with fewer transportation options.
Over 10,000 new e-bikes will be added that can be parked at Divvy stations and public bike racks using a built-in cable lock.
When all three phases are complete, the city said, Divvy will provide 16,500 bikes and 800 stations.
Lyft is investing $50 million for new bikes, stations and hardware along with $77 million for transportation improvements over a nine-year period.
In a news release, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the expansion will bring the city together and prove to be valuable during the public health crisis.
“COVID-19 has presented a multitude of challenges to our city’s workforce and requires us to step up with initiatives to make it easier for residents to reach their jobs and access new opportunities safely and easily as we cautiously reopen,” Lightfoot said. “This exciting, inclusive expansion of our city’s most iconic bike share system will connect the rest of Chicago more closely with communities from the city’s far South Side and answer to their growing needs for more and better transportation during the pandemic and the health and economic recovery ahead of us.”