In a survey of Evanston residents the Divvy bike share program topped the list of programs respondents say they’ll like the city to stop spending money on.

The online survey, which concluded earlier this month, drew more than 3,000 responses.

Participants were asked to review a list of 46 city programs and choose 10 they thought were most important to maintain, and 10 they’d select for budget cutbacks.

If the current net cost of all of the programs on the hit list survey participants identified were eliminated, it would save just under $1.4 million, or just under half of the city’s anticipated $2.9 million general fund budget deficit for next year.

It may be possible to save some programs while eliminating their out-of-pocket cost to the city. For example, the city is in the midst of renegotiating its deal with the Divvy service provider, and there’s some hope the program could still operate and be budget-neutral next year.

Activists supporting non-profits funded by the city’s Mental Health Board and backers of the city’s youth services programs mobilized as soon as plans for the survey were announced, and those programs ended up with some of the greatest support from survey respondents.

The largest number of survey respondents came from the 6th, 7th, 9th and 3rd wards, in that order. Those are among the wards in the city with the highest number of registered voters and were among those with the highest voter turnout percentages in last year’s municipal election.

Survey participants, however, were heavily skewed by gender — with 62 percent identifying as female and only 33 percent identifying as male.

The City Council is scheduled to receive a report on the survey results at its meeting tonight.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Lose the Divvy and collect a

    Lose the Divvy and collect a road tax on all bicycles and E cars.

    1. Yes, tax the renewable energy

      Yes, tax the renewable energy things. That is great. Long live big oil.

      1. Divvy/budget cuts
        Yes cut Divvy or have Divvy charge whatever it wants as long as WE DON’T PAY FOR IT. And feel free to cut all city council/ mayor salaries and benefits which would save another $200,000 plus. Oh don’t worry, there will still be many people running for these positions even if they are totally unpaid and one or two resign. Interesting isn’t it?

  2. Two minds on Divvy

    For the divvy system in general there are some who think it should fund itself or turna profit which Chicago and Evanston share in.  There are others who see it as part of the public transit system and want divvy stations distributed everywhere so that anyone in the public can access them.  At this point in time these two goals work against each other.  There are many divvy stations in the system with very low utiization.  The divvy system in Chicago could improve itself financially if it shut down stations in areas that saw very little use.  Policy makers have to decide which goal is the priority: broad access, or profit.

    The Evanston divvy stations are far from being profitable according to this report., but they could cost less if the lightly used statoins were removed.  The cost to Evanston is $1,935 per month per station.  The stations at Valli Produce, Elmwood & Chicago, and Dempster & Chicago each account for about 2% of trips as origin stations.  Shutting those stations would save about $70k per year in cost, and likely a much lower impact on revenue given how little they are used.

    An interesting political quesiton is whether it is easier to get rid of all of the stations than it is to get rid of just the most unprofitable ones.

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