WBEZ | Divvy http://www.wbez.org/tags/divvy Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Authorities look to future solutions for DCFS' sometimes troubled system http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-20/morning-shift-authorities-look-future-solutions-dcfs <p><p>Ben Wolf of ACLU and Denise Gonzales of DCFS respond to WBEZ and Chicago Sun-Times&#39; &quot;Faces of Failure&quot;, the series exploring deaths in the DCFS system. They discuss the history of the system, and offer ideas for improvement.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-authorities-look-to-future-solutions/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-authorities-look-to-future-solutions.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-authorities-look-to-future-solutions" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Authorities look to future solutions for DCFS' sometimes troubled system" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 20 Nov 2013 08:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-20/morning-shift-authorities-look-future-solutions-dcfs Morning Shift: Coping with life after prison http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-16/morning-shift-coping-life-after-prison-108682 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/prison - Flickr - decade_null.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We check in with Gabe Klein to assess the Divvy bike share program. What are the hits and misses? Also, journalist Alison Flowers discusses her new WBEZ series &quot;The Exoneree Diaries&quot;, and one of the exonerees she profile shares his story.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-65/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-65.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-65" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Coping with life after prison" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 16 Sep 2013 08:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-16/morning-shift-coping-life-after-prison-108682 My date with Divvy http://www.wbez.org/news/my-date-divvy-107903 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/divvy%20launch%20day%20bike%20photo.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="The author’s first Divvy bike, checked out from the station at Lake and Clinton. Chicago’s new bikeshare program launched on Friday. (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" /></div><p>Blackhawks fans way outnumbered bicyclists in Chicago&rsquo;s Loop today. But that didn&rsquo;t stop excited riders from checking out the launch of <a href="https://docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/document/d/1D5KNpywpMjuhDLwwNQWFTI7T0pG_cXdOXBb6rFyLF8Y/edit#null">Divvy, the city&rsquo;s new bikeshare program</a>.</p><p>I wanted to test out the new system as any other commuter might. So I started my commute on Metra to the Ogilvie Transportation Center. My plan from there was to rent a Divvy bike from one of three kiosks within a block of the train station and ride it to my office at Navy Pier.</p><p>At the corner of Clinton and Washington I found a Divvy station with room for 28 bikes. There were 19 there, and nine empty spots &ndash; enough to make room for anyone returning bikes here.</p><p>There were also three very friendly bike minions there &ndash; two bicycle ambassadors from the Active Transportation Alliance and one Divvy employee.</p><p>Over the course of a few hours I saw at least a dozen people renting Divvy bikes. A few, like North Sider Katie Heupel, had already purchased a $75 annual membership. She checked out her bike with a quick swipe of her new key fob.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m so excited!&rdquo; Heupel exclaimed with a wide grin. She normally takes Metra into downtown from the Ravenswood stop before making her way to her office by the Thompson Center.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s too far to walk on a normal day,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But there&rsquo;s another [Divvy] stop right by my office, so I&rsquo;m thrilled.&rdquo;</p><p>But most people I saw Friday morning purchased $7 day passes, saying they intended to try out the system first before they committed to a membership.</p><p>Korey Campbell, for example, said he had never commuted by bike before. Normally he takes the train in from Schaumburg, then walks about 25 minutes to his office in River North. This would be faster for him, he said, and cheaper.</p><p>&ldquo;I get a Link-Up pass with my Metra ticket, which lets me ride the bus or subway,&rdquo; Campbell explained. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s $55 a month. This is $75 a year.&rdquo;</p><p>None of the cyclists I saw checking out Divvy bikes seemed to encounter any serious technical hurdles.</p><p>My own ride though, was not so smooth.</p><p>First I encountered problems with the checkout kiosk. The machine had behaved beautifully for the people who had checked out bikes before me. But when I got to the end of the checkout process, I wasn&rsquo;t given an access code that day-pass users need to unlock the bikes. When I tried to request the access code again, it did not offer one. Instead, the Divvy employee suggested I go through the checkout process again.</p><p>I did, but it didn&rsquo;t work that time either.</p><p>I called the customer service number advertised on the kiosk, in part to see how they might try to resolve this problem. I waited on hold for about five minutes before I gave up. Instead, I tried to checkout with a different credit card, thinking that might help.</p><p>But no dice -- and no bike. Instead, just an error message on the screen: &ldquo;We are sorry, but we cannot process your request at this time.&rdquo;</p><p>Luckily there was another Divvy station just two blocks away, at Clinton and Lake. I walked down Clinton, away from the Blackhawks parade, and asked the attendant there if his kiosk was working.</p><p>Yes, he said, it was.</p><p>And he was right. I went through the checkout process again, only this time, I was rewarded with an access code, and then a bike.</p><p>The bike itself took some getting used to. I found it heavy and slow compared to the bikes I normally ride. It was sort of like riding a pedicab or a cargo bike -- very steady and upright -- but with a squirrely front end. For me, the ride required some patience. I knew I would not be able to zip over to my destination at my normal speed. I just hoped I would make it there under the 30-minute limit.</p><p>I rode east on the buffered bike lane on Kinzie over to Dearborn, then jogged over to Illinois. As I approached Lake Shore Drive, I came to the Divvy station at the corner of Illinois and McClurg. I asked the volunteer stationed there if this was the closest station to Navy Pier. He said no, because there was a station actually on the pier.</p><p>I had left work at 9 p.m. the night before (thanks, deadlines!) and hadn&rsquo;t seen a station there yet. But I decided to head down there anyway, to see if Divvy had installed it overnight.</p><p>They hadn&rsquo;t.</p><p>So I circled back back to Illinois and McClurg, but by now I was worried about the time. My ride had been slow enough that I wasn&#39;t sure I would make it to my destination in under 30 minutes. And unfortunately, there was no way for me to tell during the return process.</p><p>So I popped my bike back into a holster and checked the time on my phone. Based on the time stamp on the tweet I had sent as I left Lake and Clinton, my trip had taken 32 minutes.</p><p>I was about to say something to the attendant, when he came over and noticed that my bike wasn&rsquo;t properly secured back in the dock. &ldquo;The green light didn&rsquo;t go on,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>I hadn&rsquo;t noticed. But he was able to pull the bike right out again. It was clearly not secured.</p><p>&ldquo;You have to really jam it in there,&rdquo; he advised.</p><p>I tried, first at that dock and then at adjacent one. But the green light wouldn&rsquo;t go on, no matter how hard I forced the bike back in.</p><p>I tried another dock, and then another, as the volunteer got increasingly nervous and worried. I felt bad for him.</p><p>&ldquo;There might be a problem with power at the station,&rdquo; he said, pointing out that some of the docks had no lights on at all.</p><p>He stepped aside to call his supervisor, while I kept jamming the front wheel of the bike into a holster.&nbsp;</p><p>The volunteer asked for my name, and promised to make sure that I wouldn&rsquo;t be charged for the overtime.</p><p>&ldquo;Can you go to another station?&rdquo; he asked.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d really prefer not to,&rdquo; I told him. The next closest station to Navy Pier was at Grand and Fairbanks. It was two blocks further from my destination, which was already about a 20 minute walk away.</p><p>Neither of us seemed sure of what to do. I tried to get the bike in one more time. And finally, after about a dozen attempts, I got it secured.</p><p>This issue with the docking station was by far the most serious problem I encountered. Had the volunteer not been there to point out the problem, I would have walked away thinking the bike was secure. Someone else could have then taken bike, which would still technically be linked to my credit card. If anything happened to the bike then, I&rsquo;d be the one the hook for $1,200. And that person would technically be riding for free.</p><p>None of these problems, though, seem to be unique. Here&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/12/nyregion/two-weeks-in-riders-and-errors-for-bike-share-effort.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">the <em>New York Times&rsquo;</em> account</a> of some of the technical glitches Citi Bike members encountered in the first few weeks of that bike share:</p><blockquote><p>Many docking stations have proved temperamental, refusing to accept bikes or process credit card information. Others have at times shut down altogether. On some occasions, passers-by have been able to pull a bike from a station without paying, probably because the last user was unable to lock it back in place. Some riders have grown weary of testing individual bike docks in search of one that works, pedaling off to another station before the system eventually allowed them to end their trip. And when these riders have called to complain, they have been put on hold for 45 minutes or more.</p></blockquote><p>Coincidence? Both Divvy and Citi Bike are run by the Portland-based company Alta Bicycle Share, and use equipment manufactured by the Montreal-based Public Bike Share Company.</p><p>New York&rsquo;s technical glitches, including station outages, have improved, according to <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/transportation-nation/2013/jun/18/citi-bike-fail-rate-drops-sharply/">a data analysis</a> by WNYC&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/section/transportationnation/">Transportation Nation</a> blog.</p><p>&ldquo;We&#39;re a month into the program now and the glitches have gone from onerous to occasional,&rdquo;&nbsp; Transportation Nation&rsquo;s Alex Goldmark told me in an email. &ldquo;NYC Bike Share still hasn&#39;t said what the causes were, but we know that software problems delayed the whole program launch almost a year.&rdquo;</p><p>Before New York, the software that powers Citi Bike kiosks <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/transportation-nation/2013/jun/11/problems-what-problems-ny-officials-bat-citi-bike-complaints-away-adjustment-period/">had only been used in Chattanooga</a>, which has a system of 31 stations and 300 bikes.</p><p>In an email, Divvy spokesman Elliot Greenberger said that &quot;the vast majority of riders&#39; first-day experiences with Divvy have been positive. We did have some minor technical issues with a few stations as they first went online, and we have technicians on site addressing them.&quot;</p><p>I hope so. Even though there&rsquo;s no Divvy station at Navy Pier yet, I&rsquo;d like for there to be.</p><p>I have an unlimited number of 30-minute rides left on my day pass.</p><p><em>Robin Amer is a reporter/producer on WBEZ&rsquo;s digital team. Follow her on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/rsamer">@rsamer</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Fri, 28 Jun 2013 15:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/my-date-divvy-107903 Divvy blues: Bike-share program leaves some behind http://www.wbez.org/news/divvy-blues-bike-share-program-leaves-some-behind-107893 <p><p>Chicago on Friday morning launched a new component of its storied transit system. <a href="http://divvybikes.com/" target="_blank">Divvy</a>, the city&rsquo;s first bike-share program, kicked off with 65 solar-powered docking stations. The plan is to add hundreds more by next spring. With a fleet of 700 powder-blue bikes, the system will be one of the largest bike-sharing operations in the world.</p><p>But most of the stations will stand within a couple miles of the lakefront, clustered mainly in the Loop and densely populated neighborhoods along transit lines. This in a city that has a checkered history of providing low-income residents equal access to public infrastructure. It begs the question: Who gets to share the benefits of Chicago&rsquo;s new bike share?</p><h2 class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bikes_1.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Divvy’s first fleet of bikes, set up at the station at Daley Plaza. (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" /><strong>Bike share basics</strong></h2><p>The Divvy bikes themselves are heavy-duty commuter bikes with fenders, chain guards, built-in-lights and a small front basket, big enough for a purse or briefcase &mdash; but not a load of groceries. The bikes are painted the same sky blue as the stripes on the Chicago flag.</p><p>Users will be able to pick up a bike at any of 400 docking stations the city plans to install by next spring. After a ride, users will be able to return the bike to any other station.</p><p>Divvy&rsquo;s startup financing include $22 million in federal funds and $5.5 million in local funds.</p><p>The day-to-day operations will be up to Portland-based <a href="http://www.altabicycleshare.com/" target="_blank">Alta Bicycle Share</a>, which also runs bike-share programs in Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein once consulted for Alta and received criticism when Chicago chose the company for the city&rsquo;s program. Klein said he recused himself from the selection process.</p><h2><strong>Who is Divvy for?</strong></h2><p>Divvy&rsquo;s Web site describes the program&rsquo;s participants as &ldquo;everyone 16 years and older with a credit or debit card.&rdquo;</p><p>But that doesn&rsquo;t take into account the proximity of stations or some residents&rsquo; limited access to bank cards (more on that below). Divvy is designed for short trips under 30 minutes. After that, <a href="http://divvybikes.com/pricing" target="_blank">late fees kick in</a>.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bikes_2.jpg" style="float: left; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="Divvy’s first station appears at the corner of Dearborn and Washington streets in the Loop. Stations will be clustered in high density areas, leaving parts of the city unserved. (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" />Planners say that the system was primarily designed to address what they call the &ldquo;last two miles&rdquo; problem of commuting. Namely, how to get people to work or home after they&rsquo;ve stepped off the train or bus. Divvy is not optimized for recreational riding or long treks across town.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">The stations are concentrated in high-density parts of town &mdash; in and near the Loop and along some major transit lines. The further from the city&rsquo;s center, the fewer stations there are.</div><p>This program stems partly from the city&rsquo;s desire to spur economic development. Mayor Rahm Emanuel often touts the connection between building better bike infrastructure and attracting high tech companies to Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s part of my effort to recruit entrepreneurs and start-up businesses because a lot of those employees like to bike to work,&rdquo; he <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/16810704-418/mayor-defends-protected-bike-lanes-along-dearborn.html" target="_blank">told the <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> </a>last December. &ldquo;It is not an accident that, where we put our first protected bike lane is also where we have the most concentration of digital companies and digital employees. Every time you speak to entrepreneurs and people in the start-up economy and high-tech industry, one of the key things they talk about in recruiting workers is, can they have more bike lanes.&rdquo;</p><h2 class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/BIKE_1_Bell.JPG" style="float: right; height: 450px; width: 300px;" title="Cynthia Bell of the Active Transportation Alliance says the city could do a lot for West Side cycling apart from bike sharing. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /><strong>Few stations on West Side, far South Side</strong></h2><p>But this strategy, putting the first stations where the demand is already highest, means that from the outset, some of Chicago&rsquo;s poorest neighborhoods have been left behind.</p><p>There are no stations south of 63rd Street or west of Central Park Avenue. Altogether, black West Side neighborhoods like North Lawndale, East and West Garfield Park, Austin, and West Humboldt Park will have just two of the 400 planned bike-sharing stations.</p><p>The Chicago Department of Transportation said that one-third of its planned bike-sharing stations will be in census tracts below the city&rsquo;s median income. That proportion is higher than comparable systems in either Boston or Washington, D.C.</p><p>The city set up <a href="http://share.chicagobikes.org/" target="_blank">a Web portal for suggestions</a> about where to put the stations. The city received about 1,000 suggestions and another 10,000 &ldquo;likes&rdquo; on those suggestions. But suggested station locations for the West Side were few and far in between.</p><p>The city also held five community-input meetings last fall. Three were downtown, one was at a library in Roscoe Village, and just one was in a neighborhood with a high minority population. That was in Bronzeville, which is getting a handful of stations.</p><p>&ldquo;The location of the public meetings is in large part driven by our initial service area,&rdquo; says Scott Kubly, Chicago&rsquo;s deputy transportation commissioner. Kubly says CDOT has applied for additional grants that would be used to build stations beyond the 400 already planned. If and when that money comes through, Kubly said Divvy would go through a another public planning process to site those new stations.</p><p>But some West Side residents aren&rsquo;t content to wait.</p><p>Tiffany Childress Price lives in North Lawndale and teaches high school there. She bikes to work, as does her husband, who takes Ogden everyday to get to his job as a barber in River North.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s easy for the city to say, &lsquo;A community like North Lawndale is not interested in biking.&rsquo; It doesn&rsquo;t surprise me,&rdquo; Childress Prices said. &ldquo;Neighborhoods like this are often overlooked and, when asked why, it&rsquo;s that we&rsquo;re just not interested.&rdquo;</p><p>But Childress Price says people like her and her husband prove otherwise. The problem isn&rsquo;t a lack of interest but, rather, a lack of education and infrastructure, she said.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to take city attention, maybe city investment &mdash; time and resources into education,&rdquo; she said.</p><h2 class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/BIKE_2_Hawkins%20%281%29.JPG" style="float: left; height: 450px; width: 300px;" title="As Chicago’s West Side awaits more Divvy stations, resident Eboni Hawkins says the city ought to encourage bike-related businesses, from repair shops to bike-driven food carts. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></h2><h2><strong>More Black and Latino cyclists on the road</strong></h2><p>As it turns out, though, the number of black and Latino cyclists has increased dramatically in recent years. In May, <a href="http://www.sierraclub.org/" target="_blank">the Sierra Club</a> and the <a href="http://www.bikeleague.org/" target="_blank">League of American Bicyclists</a> released <a href="http://www.bikeleague.org/content/report-new-majority-pedaling-toward-equity" target="_blank">a study</a> that showed rates of minority ridership up all over the country.</p><p>Planners often measure cycling by the number of trips made by bike. While non-white riders still account for only 23 percent of trips made by bike, according to the Sierra Club study, between 2001 and 2009, the number of trips African Americans made by bike increased by 100 percent. Those made by Latinos increased by 50 percent.</p><p>In addition, 60 percent of people of color surveyed said &ldquo;more bike facilities&rdquo; would encourage them to ride, and there&rsquo;s a lot at stake. According to the study, crash fatality rates are 30 percent higher for African Americans and 23 percent higher for Hispanics than they are for white riders.</p><p>&ldquo;For too long, many of these diverse populations have been overlooked by traditional organizations and transportation planners,&rdquo; the study authors write. &ldquo;In too many instances, people of color have been largely left out of transportation decision making processes that have dramatically impacted their neighborhoods.&rdquo;</p><p>CDOT, meanwhile, has asked the city to be patient when it comes to expanding Divvy into more minority neighborhoods.</p><p>Gabe Klein, Chicago&rsquo;s transportation commissioner, acknowledged the dearth of stations on Chicago&rsquo;s black West Side and far South Side, but emphasized the need to concentrate stations in areas with more commerce and residents.</p><p>&ldquo;People ask you a lot, &lsquo;How do you make sure you have access for everybody?&rsquo; It&rsquo;s always a challenge, because they are nodal systems,&rdquo; Klein said. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t really put a station out by Midway Airport and not have [another station] two blocks away or doesn&rsquo;t work as a network.&rdquo;</p><p>Klein compared the nascent bike-share program to the early years of the &ldquo;L&rdquo; system before it radiated miles out from the city center.</p><p>&ldquo;Imagine when CTA started 100 years ago,&rdquo; Klein said, describing a system with few stations but plans for growth. &ldquo;Now look at the CTA. It&rsquo;s ubiquitous, it&rsquo;s everywhere.&rdquo;</p><p>Whether the CTA is truly &ldquo;everywhere&rdquo; is a matter of debate, but for now CDOT is holding off on the placement of 20 stations until after next spring. Officials want to assess unanticipated demand, and make some data-driven decisions about where to expand.</p><p>&ldquo;It could very well be there,&rdquo; Klein said, pointing to the West Side on a city map. &ldquo;And 20 stations is a lot of stations.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><h2><strong>Access to biking harder for the poor and unbanked</strong></h2><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bikes3.jpg" style="height: 451px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="A prospective Divvy member tries out one of the new bikes. Some black Chicagoans want more more stations on the South and West sides. (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" />Even if the city expanded Divvy&rsquo;s bike stations and led a huge public-education campaign, there are still other potential barriers to entry.</div><p>First, there&rsquo;s the cost of membership.</p><p>CDOT officials claim the program&rsquo;s membership cost as a success. &ldquo;This will be the lowest cost form of transit available &mdash; probably less expensive than walking,&rdquo; Klein said. &ldquo;If you walked everywhere you&rsquo;d probably have to buy a couple pairs of shoes per year.&rdquo;</p><p>And while $75 a year is far cheaper than the cost of an annual CTA pass, the up-front cost could be prohibitive for some low-income users. The bike-share system in Washington, D.C., offers an $84 annual membership that can be paid for in monthly installments of $7.</p><p><a href="http://www.thehubway.com/" target="_blank">Boston&rsquo;s Hubway bikeshare</a>, meanwhile, offers steeply discounted $5 annual memberships to anyone on public assistance living within 400 percent of the poverty line. They&rsquo;ve funded this through the <a href="http://www.bphc.org/Pages/Home.aspx" target="_blank">Boston Public Health Commission</a>. So far, the Hubway has sold 650 such discounted memberships in a system of 14,000 members.</p><p>Boston&rsquo;s bike share grew out of multiple initiatives from the mayor&rsquo;s office &mdash; one focused on health and obesity, another focused on the environment and sustainability and another on economic development.</p><p>&ldquo;In many ways, biking is really at the nexus of all three of those,&rdquo; said Nicole Freedman, director of bicycle programs for Boston. She said that subsidized memberships were &ldquo;a very targeted effort to reach residents that tend to have more health and obesity issues.&rdquo;</p><p>While CDOT officials said they were excited about the public-health benefits of cycling, Chicago won&rsquo;t be offering either discounted memberships or the option of a monthly payment program to low-income residents here.&nbsp;</p><p>Equally complicated is the issue of liability.</p><p>With a few exceptions, in Chicago, you will need a credit or debit card to join Divvy or to rent a bike for the day. The system won&rsquo;t accept cash. This is about protecting the bikes, CDOT says. If you lose or steal one, Divvy will charge you $1,200 to replace it.</p><p>If you don&rsquo;t have a bank account or credit card, if you&rsquo;re living paycheck-to-paycheck or stuffing your savings under your mattress, you&rsquo;re what experts call &ldquo;unbanked.&rdquo; And if you&rsquo;re unbanked, you can&rsquo;t be charged for a replacement bike as easily.</p><p>Chris Holben, program manager of <a href="http://www.capitalbikeshare.com/" target="_blank">Capital Bikeshare</a> in Washington, D.C., said his program had faced that issue. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ll be tabling at an event,&rdquo; Holben said, &ldquo;and people will say to us, &lsquo;I don&rsquo;t have a credit card but I really want to join.&rsquo; &rdquo;</p><p>Sometimes, the hurdles to bike sharing go far beyond banking. &ldquo;Perhaps these people don&rsquo;t have access to the Internet or, if they do, they have to go to the library. Or the banks, there are a number of locations, but maybe not where they live,&rdquo; Holben said. &ldquo;If they&rsquo;re unbanked already they&rsquo;re already struggling to have access to some of the things that would make it easier.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Divvy%20map%202.jpg" style="float: left; height: 338px; width: 300px;" title="A map of Divvy’s proposed stations. The initial crop of stations won’t extend past 63rd Street on the South Side, or past Central Park Avenue on the West Side. (Courtesy of Divvy)" />So what are the unbanked to do?&nbsp;</p><p>Divvy and CDOT are planning a unique approach, one that takes banking out of the equation. They plan to partner with community groups including churches and job-training programs.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;The community-based organizations [will set] up the rules that work for their members, in terms of how many hours or time they&rsquo;ll allow members, or how they want to handle the rules around usage,&rdquo; Kubly said.</p><p>Then, the $1,200 liability will be shared between the community organization, the city and Divvy &mdash; not the user.</p><p>&ldquo;And, hopefully, when you get all those things pulled together,&rdquo; Kubly said, &ldquo;it actually takes the banking question out of it for those folks, and lets anybody have access.&rdquo;</p><p>But the city isn&rsquo;t specifying a date when it will launch the community partnership program.</p><h2><strong>Beyond bike sharing: Thinking in terms of infrastructure</strong></h2><p>Cynthia Bell, a lifelong West Sider who works for the Active Transportation Alliance, says the city could do more to encourage low-income biking, with or without Divvy.</p><p>&ldquo;A lot of our people now are going to Walmart or Target, buying those bikes, which are low quality,&rdquo; Bell said. &ldquo;They break down within five months and, before you know it, people haven&rsquo;t been on their bike all summer just because of a flat. A flat kept them from riding their bike the whole summer.&rdquo;<br /><br />Bell says the city could do more to help set up bike-repair shops and safe places to park.</p><p>Tiffany Childress Price, a North Lawndale teacher and avid biker, says the reasons for bringing bike-sharing to low-income neighborhoods go beyond economic development and convenience.</p><p>&ldquo;We have the highest childhood obesity rates in the city so it seems like we&rsquo;d want to promote biking&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Chicago has made progress in laying down more bike lanes on the West Side. When it comes to the bike-share system, though, officials say most low-income neighborhoods will have to wait.</p><p><em>Robin Amer is a reporter/producer on WBEZ&rsquo;s digital team. Follow her on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/rsamer" target="_blank">@rsamer</a>.</em></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 28 Jun 2013 07:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/divvy-blues-bike-share-program-leaves-some-behind-107893 Chicago bike share launch delayed http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-bike-share-launch-delayed-107654 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/divvy%20flickr%20zolk.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="One of Divvy’s powder blue bikes. The launch of Chicago’s new bike share program is being delayed. (Flickr/Kevin Zolkiewicz)" /></div><p dir="ltr">The launch of Chicago&rsquo;s new bike share program is being delayed by two weeks.</p><p><a href="http://divvybikes.com/">Divvy </a>was supposed to open for business Friday, capping off <a href="http://bikecommuterchallenge.org/">Bike to Work Week</a>. But <a href="http://divvybikes.tumblr.com/post/5688369/an-update-on-divvy-launch">a statement</a> posted on the program&rsquo;s Tumblr site on Tuesday afternoon said the launch was being pushed back &ldquo;to ensure we have the necessary time to test stations and ensure the system is fully functioning.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Beyond the testing, Scott Kubly, Managing Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, said his agency wasn&rsquo;t done building the 75 bike docking stations originally scheduled to come online with the launch.</p><p>A fastener used to connect bike holsters to the rest of the docking station arrived from a supplier only a few days ago.</p><p dir="ltr">Kubly called the components &ldquo;minor but important,&rdquo; and said that working without the parts in hand would have meant the majority of bike stations wouldn&rsquo;t be finished in time.</p><p>&ldquo;It would have been well below our goal of 50 [stations],&rdquo; Kubly said. &ldquo;It would have been in the teens at best.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">CDOT contracted with Portland, Oregon-based Public Bike Share Company to build Divvy&rsquo;s infrastructure. PBSC works with a variety of subcontractors to manufacture its parts.</p><p>Kubly said his team will use the extra time to finish building the docking stations, and to test out each of the 950 bikes they hope to have available for the launch. Ultimately Divvy plans to have <a href="http://divvybikes.com/stations">300 stations</a> with 3,000 bikes by the end of the summer, and an additional 100 stations and 1,000 bikes by next spring. Divvy is being launched in part with $22 million in federal funding.</p><p dir="ltr">Officials in Chicago have been closely monitoring the launch of another bike share program, New York&rsquo;s <a href="http://citibikenyc.com/">Citi Bike</a>, since it launched two weeks ago. According to the program&rsquo;s <a href="https://citibikenyc.com/blog">blog</a>, more than 36,000 people have signed up for annual memberships so far, and over 173,000 trips have been made. But the program has been <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/12/nyregion/two-weeks-in-riders-and-errors-for-bike-share-effort.html?pagewanted=all">beset by technical glitches</a>, and some have complained that New York launched its bike share too hastily.</p><p>Both Chicago and New York are partnering with Montreal-based <a href="http://www.altabicycleshare.com/">Alta</a> to run their bike share programs.</p><p dir="ltr">So far 1,200 Chicagoans have signed up for Divvy annual memberships, which run $75 to $125. Users can purchase a daily pass for $7. Because the program was designed to help users make very short trips, and to address what some planners call the &ldquo;last two miles&rdquo; problem of commuting, trips are limited to 30 minutes. After that a usage fee kicks in.</p><p>Despite the delayed launch, CDOT officials are going ahead with <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/bike_chicago4.html">a rally at Daley Plaza</a> Friday to open Divvy&rsquo;s first station.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I signed up for a membership,&rdquo; Kubly said. &ldquo;And it&rsquo;s not just because I&rsquo;m managing the program.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Robin Amer is a producer on WBEZ&rsquo;s digital team. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/rsamer">@rsamer</a>.</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 12 Jun 2013 06:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-bike-share-launch-delayed-107654