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Chicago business, health and transportation advocates praise Chicago’s bike-sharing plan

NEWS RELEASE
CONTACT: 
Max Muller
Active Transportation Alliance
312-427-3325 x229
Mobile: 312-869-2629
max@activetrans.org

Chicago business, health and transportation advocates praise Chicago’s bike-sharing plan
Newly named “Divvy” bike-sharing program to feature 4,000 “Chicago blue” bikes by 2014

Chicago, IL — Health, business and transportation advocates today praised the city of Chicago’s planned bike-sharing program as a “nation leader” and “a huge deal for our city” that will provide a much-needed affordable and health-promoting public transportation option for Chicagoans.

The city today announced the name of the program — “Divvy,” and the color of the 4,000 bicycles — “Chicago blue.” The bikes will eventually dot the city at 400 neighborhood bike sharing stations. By the end of this summer, 3,000 bikes will be in operation and Chicagoans are expected to take tens of thousands of bike trips per day using the new system, which is optimized for short trips. The program will constitute the nation’s second largest bike-sharing program when fully installed.

“Divvy is a huge deal for our city — it’s essentially two-wheeled transit and the first major new public transit infrastructure in Chicago for many years,” said Ron Burke, executive director of Active Transportation Alliance. “It will be perfect for trips under a few miles that are too short to wait for a bus, and too far to walk, and it will be much cheaper than a taxi. Chicagoans will be able to use it daily for errands, to get to their next meeting, and to grab lunch. Divvy will also be an “on-ramp” to bicycling, giving people who have never biked before an easy way to give biking a shot.”

“Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and cycling is an effective way to stay active,” said Adam Becker, executive director of the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children. “But not all Chicagoans have access to bicycles. Establishing a bike share program that gives greater access to more people can help Chicagoans integrate more physical activity into their lives. We’re excited to see the city taking this important step in making physical activity and health easier for Chicagoans.”

“We are excited about the launch of Chicago’s bike share program and its potential for the Loop community,” said Michael Edwards, executive director of the Chicago Loop Alliance. “In making biking more convenient for Chicagoans, it is our hope that more people will gain access to the world-class amenities that make downtown a competitive destination.”

Our local businesses are excited about bike sharing coming to Lakeview, said Heather Way, executive director of the Lakeview Chamber. Experience in other cities shows that by getting people out of cars and onto bikes, bike sharing makes neighborhoods more pleasant and increases foot traffic and window shopping.

“The wide distribution of bike-sharing stations and the second highest number of bikes in the country will make Divvy a nation leader,” said Burke. At the same time, Burke noted that the city should strive to expand the system over time to include even more stations and neighborhoods than are planned for years one and two, and to provide residents who don’t have credit cards or checking accounts with a convenient way to pay for bike sharing.

“Combined with new amenities like the protected bike lanes the city is building every month, the 645-mile bike network in the city’s Streets for Cycling Plan, and a cityscape that is just perfect for cycling with flat, wide roads, Divvy puts Chicago well on track to becoming the most bike-friendly city in the nation.”

By the end of 2014, Divvy will serve an area roughly from 63rd Street north to Devon Avenue, and from Lake Michigan west to California Avenue. Using Divvy will cost $75 per year or $7 per day with unlimited trips up to 30 minutes each. More information is available on the program’s website (chicagobikes.org/bikeshare) on Twitter (@divvybikes) and Facebook at (facebook.com/divvybikes). Via the website, Chicagoans can also suggest locations for bike stations.

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Note—spokesperson availability:
Active Transportation Alliance Executive Director Ron Burke is available for additional comment regarding the Chicago bike-sharing announcement. To speak with him, please contact Max Muller at 312-869-2629.

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. The Active Transportation Alliance is North America’s largest transportation advocacy organization, supported by nearly 7,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 40 full-time staff. For more information on the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.