Friday, May 4, 2018

South Side gets tired of waiting for Divvy, brings in its own bike systems

One of many pretty homes on Bell Avenue.
      Go online and look at a map of Chicago's Divvy bike system. You'll see a mass of blue tags densely packed on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, each tag marking a dock where ride share bicycles are located.
     Zoom in, and the docks separate out, and you can see they start, at the north, at Central Street in Evanston, spread as far west as Austin Avenue at the Oak Park border, and are concentrated in the Loop, sometimes with two on the same block. Scanning down the map, they thin out until the southernmost Divvy station, at 87th Street and Wabash in Chatham.
     Eyeing the 580 or so blue inverted raindrop markers, you might not even notice a vast chunk of the city has no Divvy stations at all: Nothing south of 26th Street between Western and Harlem avenues, all the way to the city's southern border at the Little Calumet River and 138th Street. An area of about 20 square miles.
     Quite a lot, really.
     Since the system debuted in 2013, residents of the Southwest Side have been pestering Divvy to come to their communities. And for years Divvy, which is owned by the City of Chicago, has said: patience. We're on our way. The system has to expand contiguously: otherwise, you'll have bikes but nowhere to go.
     Finally, the South Side lost patience, gave up on Divvy, and, on Tuesday, welcomed not one but two new bike systems: LimeBike of California and Pace of Massachusetts.
     In my capacity the Sun-Times unofficial bike share chronicler, I grabbed my helmet and headed to Beverly to see how the new bikes work.

To continue reading, click here. 

13 comments:

  1. Lovely, lovely neighborhood. Out of my price range, but comfortably within Neil's I'm guessing. The bikes should work there, but I'm not sure how they'll go over elsewhere on the South Side. My neighbors on South Keeler prefer to get around in pickup trucks and SUVs. I used to bike to work all the time, but have lapsed lately. In any event, I use my own bicycle.

    john

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  2. Neil, sorry if I'm dumb, but this sentence left me a little confused:

    Unlocking costs a buck, plus 15 cents a minute.

    Does that mean the charge for a Lime bike is 15 cents for each minute you rent it?

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    1. That's exactly right. Eight dollars an hour. Not terrible.

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    2. Actually, 15 cents a minute is NINE bucks an hour. Still a reasonable rental fee.

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  3. Good to see some love for the South Side. It seems a world apart from the north side of the city where I grew up, but south-siders have always claimed it's the "best" side, and that's the way it should be, I think.

    SandyK

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  4. The southwest side has always been the red-headed stepchild of the city. Tourist maps literally cut this part of town off.

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    1. Apparently, the Normans made a stop in the southwest side after swept through your beloved Ireland.

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  5. The action video really augments the story.
    Ride on, Neil!

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  6. Yes, Neil, Beverly is a lovely city neighborhood, a lot closer to downtown than Northbrook, and a shorter commute by train. And it has hills, something quite rare in pool-table flat Chicago. But you might want to do some homework and historical research about Beverly's history and its attitudes. You might not have fared so well on that bike ride if you'd been younger and darker-skinned. Or am I just confusing Beverly with Mount Greenwood?

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    1. Only so much room in a newspaper column, Grizz, and please don't confuse omission with ignorance. It was a momentary burst of enthusiasm, not a historical critique. You might want to reflect upon that. Just because I don't mention the sun coming up this morning doesn't mean I'm unaware that it occurred, and by running to point it out, well ...

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    2. Unfortunately, you'll probably never see this response, but yes, you are confusing Beverly with Mt. Greenwood. Beverly is, and has been for some time, ethnically diverse.

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    3. Grizz 65,-please follow your own advice and do some research about Beverly's history and attitudes before making judgements. My family is among many who were drawn to Beverly precisely because it is one of the most diverse communities within this city in addition to the beautiful architecture, numerous parks, strong schools, public transit...

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    4. I did so, and I discovered that Beverly has the highest percentage of black residents among white-majority neighborhoods in the City of Chicago. I stand corrected.

      Unfortunately, I did mistake Beverly for Mt. Greenwood, which is far more ethnically and racially homogeneous, and which has the fourth-highest percentage of Irish-Americans in the entire country. Having grown up and resided in and around the city's polar opposite (East Rogers Park), Southwest Side neighborhoods always semed far more than a mere twenty-five or thirty miles distant...they were light-years away, both literally and figuratively. To someone who spent his childhood summers at Touhy Beach, Beverly might as well have been Beverly Hills.

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