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Divvy expansion to boost transportation options
Active Trans has long advocated for making Divvy available in every Chicago neighborhood as part of a broader strategy to give all Chicagoans convenient and affordable access to bikes and safe places to ride.
Therefore, we’re excited about the city’s proposed agreement with Lyft to expand Divvy citywide and nearly triple the number of bikes. Lyft purchased Motivate – the private company that Chicago contracted to operate the Divvy system – last year. Under the proposed deal, Divvy will expand to all 50 wards by 2021, adding 175 stations and 10,500 docked and dockless bikes. All the new bikes will be electric-assist.
Lyft will provide $50M in capital funding for the expansion and $7.5M in revenue annually to the city to spend on transportation.
If managed properly, Divvy expansion will increase transportation options in high-need communities and boost neighborhood health, sustainability and equity. Bike share is a critical first/last mile connection to public transit in Chicago neighborhoods.
The city’s process to expand bike sharing must be inclusive and equitable so it results in better bike access for all Chicagoans – not just residents in the most profitable areas. Chicago should pair bike sharing expansion with sustainable investments in safe biking and walking infrastructure, especially on the city’s highest crash corridors in historically disinvested communities on the South and West Sides. Divvy expansion should come with specific community benefits, such as access to jobs for currently unemployed or underemployed residents, and investments in community-based programming.
Today, Divvy isn’t working for all Chicago residents, even in areas with stations in place. Expanding bike sharing citywide presents opportunities to address barriers to bicycling beyond access to bikes, including providing new revenue for biking and walking infrastructure and addressing safety, security and cultural barriers to biking as transportation.
Chicago is a better place to live, work and visit with more people biking, walking and riding public transit. Expanding Divvy citywide is a critical step towards embracing a truly multimodal vision for the future of Chicago’s transportation network.
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