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City Preps Bike-Share Program, Shifts Name to 'Divvy'

By Ted Cox | April 25, 2013 4:23pm
 Divvy bikes are sturdy, unisex and intended to be one size fits all.
Divvy bikes are sturdy, unisex and intended to be one size fits all.
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Chicago Department of Transportation

CHICAGO — The city is preparing to ask cyclists to "Divvy" up to saddle up.

The Emanuel administration has been planning its new bike-sharing program for months as part of the Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020. Yet the Chicago Department of Transportation formally declared Thursday that it will launch "later this spring" under the new name "Divvy."

The word, most common in the usage "divvy up," is used "to reflect the nature of bike share, where members 'divide and share' the use of the bikes," according to a CDOT release. But be warned: The Urban Dictionary also defines it as "idiot" or "fool."

It will eventually set up 4,000 bikes at 400 stations by next year, with 75 stations to start. Those stations will be "green," wireless, solar-powered and portable, able to be shifted and re-established in a new location in an hour.

"Bike sharing is another large step we’re taking to make Chicago the best big city in America for cycling,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement. “We are improving our bicycling infrastructure to create the quality of life that will attract businesses and families to Chicago. Divvy bikes will provide Chicagoans and visitors with more options for getting around our neighborhoods."

CDOT says users will be able to purchase $75 yearly memberships or $7 daily passes, allowing for unlimited trips up to 30 minutes each. Bikes can be picked up at one location and dropped at another. Annual members will enroll online and receive a personal key used to unlock bikes from any station.

The bikes are sturdy, unisex and intended to be one size fits all.

The program is loosely bounded by Devon Avenue, Damen Avenue, 63rd Street and the lake across 14 wards.

CDOT has been consulting aldermen on sites in their wards, and the word has slowly leaked out. Northwestern's Medill news site reported last week that 28 stations would be in the 44th Ward, and Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) announced in his newsletter that 22 would be in his ward.