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.

More coverage of the Divvy program.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Great news!

    It is great to hear that Divvy bikes are coming to Evanston. Hopefully, the stations will be dispersed throughout town and not located in just one or two wards. I think the impressive crowd turnout today at Bike the Ridge is another sign of how much residents are interested in and committed to biking. It would be even nicer if next year the ride is not scheduled to take place in the middle of Jewish holidays.

      1. Broken Record

        It never fails…positive biking news provokes tirades against cyclists. 

        D…Get out of your car, get on a bike, and join us. I won't complain when you also fail to pause at stop signs or red lights.

      2. Thousands of victims from cars

        Thousands of victims every year from cars running signs and lights. Zero from cyclists doing the same. 

  2. Thank goodness, we have a

    Thank goodness, we have a governor that as an excellent chance of losing the upcoming election, otherwise we would never receive any state grants. Four years ago, the governor made a deal with the state's unions, at the last minute, to gain their support. Pat Quinn is the kind of governor we need to spend tax dollars on himself.

    I hope the next governor will start spending our money on schools.

  3. Where the city funding coming from?

    I love how they keep on pretending they have money in the budget for these things – Wally has been stating he is going to cut 3% from all departments- so he can have money for things- its very interesting – how city government is operationing – it is quite out of control.

    The art center loan was quite interesting – were did they have an extra $500,000? I think the art center understood the mess here quickly and went after other funds. Wally clearly was telling telling them they had a very short time to pay – given he has cash flow problems!

    I wonder if Pat is going to give them the 30 million for the water tank? Who knows?


  4. Quinn was against it before he was for it

    Way back in April, Democrat Gov. Quinn DENIED a $3 million grant to expand Divvy to Oak Park and Evanston.

    So why now?

    It's an election year and he's trying to buy … um … get votes.

    Divvy posted an operating loss of $148,000 in 2013, most of it covered by the City of Chicago.

  5. Divvy Bikes

    I wish they would take their "divvy" money somewhere else.  We need to remove the ridiculous bike lanes all over Evanston.  It is unfortunate that we have to wait until a biker – who fails to stop at an intersection –  is killed by a driver making a legal right hand turn.  Then Evanston will figure out that we don't need to be 'Bike City USA.'  We need to use our "matching funds" to pay our bills or improve our schools.  We don't have to accept every bone that some pandering politician throws our way. 

    1. I love the “more bikes” concept

      I love the "more bikes" concept. I also love electric cars, riding public transportation, etc. What scares the daylights out of me is exactly where could you ride your Divy bike in Evanston? You can't ride on Ridge without risking your life. You wouldn't dare right on Green Bay Road, or God forbid, on Chicago Avenue. You can't ride on sidewalks. The "commute" from Whole Foods to Nevins the NU campus is just a few blocks.

      I'm all for it, I just don't get where I would ride to and from?

      In the city, I use Divy to go from the train station to a mile away, and usually back, at the word day's end. But in Evanston? I'm not sure how Divy can be used? from Smiley's pub to the Lakefront? From Nevin's to World of Beer?

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