HYDE PARK — The first Divvy bike racks were installed in Hyde Park on Friday, as the popular bike-sharing program crept south along the lakefront.
Green Line stations were the first South Side locations to get the rent-by-the-hour bikes, and on Friday racks were installed at East 55th Street and South Shore Drive and East 55th Street and South Woodlawn Avenue.
On a warm sunny Sunday evening, residents were pleased that the bike rentals were available, but were less enthusiastic about the slow rollout.
“It’s been kind of an inconvenience so far,“ said Yolanda Griggs, a Hyde Park resident who checked out a bike near Promontory Point on Sunday evening for a ride with her daughter. “It’s inconvenient because I need to keep coming back to check in my bike.”
Bicyclists must check in with their bike at a Divvy rack every half-hour, and the closest lakefront rack is at 31st Street.
“If we want to ride the lakefront, then we have to get to 31st Street in 30 minutes,” Griggs said.
Griggs and her daughter biked from 55th and South Shore Drive to 63rd Street Beach before having to turn around and head back to make the check-in time. She said they might try to make it up to 31st Street, but it would be a harder ride to make it in time.
The bike-sharing program may not be a viable alternative for South Side commuters south of Hyde Park yet. Those who choose to bike will need to hit the museum campus Downtown for their next check-in after 31st Street.
Commuting is getting easier for Green Line riders. The first Divvy bikes went into the new rack at East 55th Street and South Woodlawn Avenue at 3 p.m. Friday.
Before the Hyde Park bike rack was installed, cyclists getting off the train at Garfield Boulevard had few options. There are no Divvy racks west of the Washington Park neighborhood, and now there are only two east of Washington Park, unlike neighborhoods to the north.
Nine racks already have been installed in Bronzeville and Oakland, including one near each Green Line stop in those neighborhoods. Including the rack on the lakefront at 31st Street, there are also stops at Calumet Avenue and 33rd Street, Martin Luther King Drive and Oakwood Boulevard, King Drive and 29th Street, Indiana Avenue and 26th Street and State Street and 29th Street.
A representative from Divvy bikes was not able to provide a schedule of new bike racks to be installed.
According to the website, nine more bike racks are planned for Hyde Park, many around the University of Chicago campus.
More stopping points are also planned for Woodlawn, Washington Park, Bronzeville and Oakland.
As of yet, no racks are planned for the South Shore neighborhood.