Gov. Pat Quinn today announced a $3 million state grant that will bring the Divvy bike sharing program to Evanston and Oak Park and expand the existing program in Chicago.
Jerry Stermer with Bike the Ridge organizer Anjana Hansen and Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl at Ridgeville Park.
Jerry Stermer, head of the governor's Office of Management and Budget, brought word of the grant to this morning's Bike the Ridge event at Ridgeville Park in Evanston.
The grant will add 700 bikes and 70 docking stations to the program -- with 12 stations in Oak Park and eight in Evanston.
Bike riders at today's Bike the Ridge event.
The new Chicago neighborhoods getting Divvy bikes include two adjacent to Evanston -- Rogers Park and West Rodgers Park.
The new equipment will be installed next year. Chicago is providing $550,000 and Evanston and Oak Park a combined $200,000 in local matching funds.
The program is a public-private partnership between the state, the municipalities and the bikeshare company Alta that operates Divvy.
Cyclists gather around exhibitor booths at Ridgeville Park during Bike the Ridge.
The Chicago program already has 3,000 bikes and 300 stations across the city and Chicago already had plans to add 175 stations and 1,750 bikes next spring.
A previous plan, in 2013, to bring Divvy bikes to Evanston fell through when the city failed to win a federal grant for the service.
The annual Bike the Ridge event gives cyclists a one-day opportunity to ride on Ridge Avenue from Howard to Church Streets, which is usually barred to bicycle traffic.
City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says the exact locations for the Divvy stations here will be determined by the City Council within the next few months and they should be in operation by next spring or summer.
The state, he says, is providing $432,000 to Evanston with $108,000 match from the city.
The city match, Bobkiewicz says, will come from various transportation sources within City budget and potential private sector station sponsors.
He said the city is also holding talks with Northwestern University to participate in the program to add stations on and near campus.
Update 7:30 p.m. 9/28/14: A city staffer now says the match required from the city will be somewhat less -- close to $80,000 -- rather than the higher figure mentioned by the city manager earlier today.