WICKER PARK — After several incidents of vandalism — including slashed tires and smashed screens costing more than $8,000 in repairs — a Divvy bike share station in Wicker Park was moved to an industrial area in Bucktown where there was "a gap" in service, officials said.
On Monday, Elliot Greenberger, general manager of Divvy, said that the station, formerly at 2201 W. Hirsch St., was the first of 475 moved due to vandalism.
Greenberger issued the following statement on behalf of Divvy.
"We're saddened that circumstances have made it extremely difficult to serve our riders at this location. We hope they will seek us out at nearby locations."
Greenberger said there were nine reports of vandalism at the station — more than any other station in the city.
"All the rear tires on the bikes were slashed at Leavitt & Hirsch. There have been nine incidences on record of vandalism impacting this location. In past instances, the screen was completely smashed and seven tires were slashed," Greenberger said.
Last week, the Leavitt/Hirsch station was relocated to the southwest corner of Wabansia and Elston avenues, where there was "a gap" in the Divvy network, Greenberger said.
Among the neighborhood's lesser-used bike share stations, the Hirsch/Leavitt Divvy station ranked at 312 out of 475 stations.
From July 31, 2013 to June 30, there were 7,771 rides that started or ended at the Hirsch/Leavitt station. By comparison, another Divvy station just a few blocks away at Damen and Pierce avenues, had 52,260 rides starting or ending there in the same 2½-year period.
In other Divvy relocation news, a station at 1559 N. Wood St. was moved to the northeast corner of Paulina Street and North Avenue, next to Louie's Pub.
Temporarily moved to Paulina Street due to a street resurfacing project, the 1559 N. Wood St. Divvy station was supposed to go back to its original spot, but, due to challenges with making room for two handicap parking spots, the station will likely stay at Paulina and North avenues, Greenberger said.
Robert Nunez, manager of Bucktown Bubbles at 1801 W. North Ave., said he was "very sad" to see the Divvy station, which was located across from the laundromat, disappear.
"We were told it would come back after the street was paved but it didn't. Most of my customers are students who come with a backpack on the bikes, and there's a lot of people staying at hostels and tourists who use the Divvy bikes to get here," Nunez said.
Nunez said customers arriving with their laundry by bike "was a daily thing."
Though not a Divvy annual member, Nunez said he rode the blue bikes to and from work using a $9.95 day pass when his car was in the shop.
"The station was so busy. I hope they bring it back. Those handicap spots are abused by people that don't even need [the spots]," Nunez said.
Since Divvy's inception in 2013 until June 30, the Wood/North station had 19,599 rides starting or ending there.
The special parking permits, called "residential disabled parking" must be applied for through an alderman or the city's Department of Finance office.
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), whose gerrymandered ward dips into part of Wicker Park, was not immediately available to discuss the new disabled parking spots that replaced the Divvy station after the street resurfacing was completed.
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