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'606' Neighbors Want Divvy Station Moved, But City Says It's Staying

By Alisa Hauser | September 28, 2015 9:49am
 Neighbors are petitioning against at Divvy station at Albany and Bloomingdale avenues in Humboldt Park.
Divvy Station at Albany, Bloomingdale Avenues
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HUMBOLDT PARK — Citing safety concerns, some neighbors living near a Divvy station beneath The 606's Bloomingdale Trail are petitioning for its removal — but the city has no plans to make a change.

A resident who lives across from the Divvy station — in front of Julia de Burgos Park at 1805 N. Albany Ave. —  started the petition, which was signed by 25 people who want the bike share rental kiosk relocated, according to Jerry Mandujano, an aide to Ald. Joe Moreno (1st).

Mandujano said the residents are concerned that the station is located on the street in front of a viaduct where cars turn onto Albany Avenue "sometimes without looking."

Information about the petition was posted last week to the Friends of the Bloomingdale Facebook page, a public group with nearly 4,000 members.

Alisa Hauser says stations have been moved for safety before:

The resident who started the petition did not respond to a request for comment. At a meeting to discuss the station last week, "only about 6 people showed up," Mandujano said.

"We asked [the Chicago Department of Transportation] to reassess it and they said [the station] met all of their safety requirements," Mandujano said.

Michael Claffey, a CDOT spokesman, said on Friday that the city considers the station to be "a very safe on-street location."

"Regarding the safety issue here, we’ve looked at it closely.  The way that traffic flows in this vicinity with the viaduct and the Albany dead-end, traffic moves very slowly," Claffey said.

The Divvy station is located on the street and within a few feet of a viaduct where cars turning north onto Albany Avenue travel toward the station. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

Another concern was that that the station, which was installed on May 9, required the removal of 2.5 parking spaces right in front of the park, Mandujano said.

Moving the station into Julia de Burgos Park was not an option either because the Chicago Park District is planning to create a stage on the western side of the park closest to Albany, Mandujano said.

Claffey said the Divvy station is among the top-third of the city's current 475 stations in terms of usage and that it is one of the only stations west of Western Avenue along The 606.   

Since its installation about a month before the trail opened on June 6, some 3,033 Divvy trips have started at the Albany and Bloomingdale station, and 3,044 have ended there, Claffey said.

Out of the 175 new stations installed since April, this station ranks 27th in performance based on trips per day; it ranks 20th if Downtown spots like Navy Pier, Museum Campus, and the lakefront are excluded, Claffey said.

When asked if CDOT is planning to move the station, or exploring a relocation, Claffey said that at the request of Moreno's office, CDOT "has looked at some options for relocation but were not able to identify a better location."

In order to move this station from its current location but keep it near the Bloomingdale Trail, CDOT would have to move it over to Whipple Avenue, one block east and still on-street, along the eastern end of the park.

Claffey said that option "would not be an improvement, since the access ramp and main park area are both on Albany" and people would have to ride the bikes through the park/playground area to get to the trail.

Angelica Aguila, who lives on Whipple Avenue, says she does not want the Divvy station to be moved to her block.

"I live on Whipple, right off of the trail and I can tell you that parking is a nightmare since the trail opened. We got home late last weekend and had to park near North Ave. It is becoming so bad that if you get here after a certain time, you will not find parking," Aguila said.

Since Divvy’s inception in June 2013, Claffey said about a dozen stations, such as one at 1389 N. Milwaukee Ave., have been moved or relocated due to safety issues.

Claffey added, "There was a steep learning curve to station siting and we improved the process for our new stations.  Since that time, we have not moved any station in a year and a half for safety reasons.  None of the 2015 stations have been moved for safety concerns."

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