Crain's: Divvy bike program in Oak Park rejected by Gov. Quinn

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Crain's Chicago Business reported Wednesday that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn rejected a $3 million grant that would have brought the Divvy bike-sharing program to the suburbs of Oak Park and Evanston.

The business journal reported that the grant would have made up "11 percent of the $27.4 million in public funding" Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration would have used to expand the program.

The funds would have purchased 75 docking stations in the two communities, Crain's reports.

The full story is available on the Crain's website at

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Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 20th, 2014 4:56 PM

John-My experience has been different. Though, I don't contact the Board very often, so that may have something to do with it.

Mary Unbehauen Rodrigo from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 20th, 2014 3:27 AM

On the contrary, John. Although I have sent very few email concerns to the village board, on the one occasion that I did, I received several emails from board members in return. Later, my idea was incorporated into the FYI Oak Park Village newsletter that comes out several times a year.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 19th, 2014 10:30 PM

Bridgett - My one problem with sending notes to board members via the village site is that board members rarely reply, reply with little more than acknowledgments, and add nothing to the village dialog.


Posted: May 19th, 2014 4:59 PM

Why is the old curb cut out for Wendys still not replaced to make it like a normal curb. Was that a Village issue or a Wendys issue? Needless to say the new Wends has been there for a couple of yrs. The car drive way was moved further down Harlem.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 19th, 2014 3:01 PM

Non-anonymous comments, written to the Board at their email address (one email to the Board goes to all their email addresses) may be a better way to voice opinions. I think they'd be taken with more weight than comments here. FYI to all: This is where you find meeting agendas, usually posted the Friday before. And the Board's email address is located in the top right corner.//

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 19th, 2014 2:50 PM

@John, and many times, these items are on the consent agenda. As you know, that means that the Board doesn't even discuss them. They just approve them.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 19th, 2014 12:38 PM

I hope that board members are reading these posts. They are educational for any residents, but more importantly it captures the chaos of government including our government. Clearly there are a lot of residents that see Divvy as a folly that is not needed in the village. When you add those residents who don't care and did not post, there is a vast majority of residents who don't want to pay for Divvys. Was their voices heard when the board was studying and approving the project? Board members should have a clear, thorough, and resident supported viewpoints before votes. Shouldn't they be expected to express their views before votes? Shouldn't the village have less 7-0 votes? Why does it seem that Oak Park's board approve every governrnent program that offers grants irrespective of whether the program meets the village's needs or meets the board's priorities? Oak Park made it name by not letting the county, state, and federal government tell us what is best for our village. Perhaps we have lost our way!

Oh Come On!  

Posted: May 19th, 2014 11:50 AM

I've seen some stupid comments on this board, but really, Paddy Boy? Everyone knows Brian Wilson didn't surf.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 19th, 2014 11:36 AM

Regardless, $40K for 10 bikes and a docking station is on the crazy side. I'd reject it on that basis alone.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 19th, 2014 11:30 AM

Almost 75% of the bikes for this particular grant would have been located in Chicago.

OP Transplant  

Posted: May 19th, 2014 10:07 AM

The question is, should the taxpayers of Illinois, most of whom make less than Oak Parkers and don't benefit from bike sharing in their own communities, pay to subsidize bike sharing here? Most Oak Parkers own their own bikes, and those who don't can already rent them from an existing business. Do the taxpayers owe us a third cycling option? The state is already struggling to pay its bills. Is this necessary?

Violet Aura from RF  

Posted: May 19th, 2014 10:01 AM

When Quinn the Governor gets here/Everybody's gonna jump for joy... :/ Hey, check this out: even if each bike cost $1K, that is only $75K and not anything close to $3 million. Just sayin'...


Posted: May 18th, 2014 7:14 PM

Let's face it Bridget, if Divvy were to come to Oak Park the stations would be on Oak Park Avenue, Harlem & Lake, and maybe on Harrison in order to provide bikes for tourists. Commuters won't be able to use them because there won't be Divvy racks near there homes to leave them or take them to the el's or Metra. Those using their own bikes to get to the stations can leave them chained there and don't have to take them on the train/el.


Posted: May 18th, 2014 1:16 PM

@3 million you know average miles driven per month has been falling in the US, right? Fewer young people get a driver's license. More people using transit and biking. The US rate of car ownership is down. Not that bike sharing is all about that. Most people just want an integrated, interconnected transportation network.

3 Million  

Posted: May 18th, 2014 1:03 PM

FYI: The bike program is NOT putting a dent on auto sales. So to think it is saving the environment, is a falsehood at best. Whats next? The segway sharing program?


Posted: May 17th, 2014 10:07 AM

OP Transplant, you realize the village is pursuing bike sharing still as part of the village bike plan, right? Every level of govt is increasing bike infrastructure (bike lanes, parking, sharing, wider shoulders on all highway re-paving projects). It doesn't matter how many people use something--that was the idiotic part--they are part of how new infrastructure is designed going forward. There are federal/state/local guidelines for integrating bike use into modern road/city design.


Posted: May 17th, 2014 8:06 AM

Most of you people are talking about $3mill like that is some crazy big number. It cost America over $190 BILLION in health care cost for obesity last year alone. A program like this would help combat problem like that maybe not a lot but every little bit helps. You guys are literally looking at the smallest picture.

OP Transplant  

Posted: May 17th, 2014 6:42 AM

Few - City Hall serves every Chicagoan. Divvy bikes serve a tiny percentage of Chicagoans. "Idiotic" is a strong term. Most communities don't subsidize bike rentals. Are they all "idiotic" too? Try to make a point without name calling. It's uncivil. People can certainly disagree with the State subsidizing bicycle rental without being idiots.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 9:11 PM

@Gizmodog, one common usage for Divvys is to and from public transportation. So there is convenience not to have to carry a bike on the bus or train, up and down steps, etc.


Posted: May 16th, 2014 8:47 PM

I own a $97.00 bike that I bought from WalMart which I can ride everyday for as long as I want and it will last for years; as did my other bike. Why would I pay $75 a year to ride a bike for a half hour at a time?


Posted: May 16th, 2014 6:26 PM

How many people go to City Hall every day? Maybe we should get rid of that, too. Your argument is idiotic.

OP Transplant  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 6:13 PM

To Few - Over 2,700,000 people live in Chicago. Those 4000 rides per day represent about .0015% percent of the city's population using Divvy bikes every day. That's a few.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 5:28 PM

"If bike sharing works, why does it need taxpayer support?" Most everything is taxpayer supported, either directly or indirectly. Communities and states, even countries for that matter, compete with one another for business, using tax dollars to incentivize. If everyone stopped doing that, then it would be a level playing field. But, they're not. So here we are.


Posted: May 16th, 2014 5:17 PM

Divvy is, at times, the busiest bike-share program in the world by percent of bikes in use. The avg day sees over 4,000 rides.Just because it doesn't benefit YOU doesn't mean it doesn't benefit the public and all of us.

OP Transplant  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 5:00 PM

If bike sharing works, why does it need taxpayer support? The worst criticism I can make of the Divvy bike program is that it's extraordinarily unnecessary. A state that's having a hard time paying it's bills already shouldn't be entering into any unnecessary ventures that benefit few citizens but cost everyone.

Oak Park CPA from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 4:59 PM

Bridgett, technically we taxpayers pay for a lot of what the state does but not all. Presently, the State has a huge deficit, so it would probably be more accurate to say that bondholders pay for a lot of it. And of course, let us not forget our children who are going to be paying the most!

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 3:59 PM

Tired of Taxes, The Government doesn't pay for anything. We, the taxpayers do. So when we look at how our tax money is spent, it's not in isolation. You look at how having a bike-sharing program that extends FROM the city of Chicago would impact Oak Park. We are not talking about just tooling around Oak Park, or it being just TO Chicago. A question to ask is: Would allowing the City access to Oak Park via bikes be economically beneficial to Oak Park? That's a more relevant discussion.

Paddy Boy  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 3:39 PM

"Tired of Taxes" thanks so much for applying some solid logic to what should be a simple premise! The drinks are on me!

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 3:37 PM

I am not a bike rider. I grew up in the city and before ago 21, had three bikes stolen and got hit by a bus and a cab. Having said that, I also know how successful bike sharing has become. So it's worth it to ask questions as to why that is. People use Divvy not because they can't afford bikes. There's a convenience and maintenance factor. Example: Just today, a gentleman told me he'd pay the $75 annual fee, just so that he wouldn't have to worry about his own personal bike getting stolen.

Tired of Taxes from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 3:15 PM

I really feel like we need to go back to the first grade on this issue. Bicycles cost a little bit less than a bus or a train, the last time I looked. OAK PARKERS SHOULD BE ABLE TO AFFORD THEIR OWN BIKES! We don't need government to pay for everything. Lest we continue to be their slaves.

Paddy Boy  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 3:05 PM

Bridgett - your comment is certainly correct - however, it's unreasonable to expect every citizen to buy their own bus or private rail car, it's not unreasonable however, to expect citizens to buy their own bicycles or share with family members or friends. I mean did Brian Wilson ride the waves on a government surfboard? Should Oak Park buy skate boards for the kids in Scoville Park? Yes you can make a progressive argument for the govt. to pay for everything, but it doesn't work.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 2:35 PM

@Paddy Boy, I think a more accurate analogy would be PACE buses, the RTA and the Metra trains. A shared bike service is a form of public transportation.

Kevin Cassidy from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 2:24 PM

Using government funds to subsidize a service beneficial to citizens is distinct from getting into a business.

Paddy Boy  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 1:40 PM

Really?.... The state has huge financial problems due to pension financing, Oak Park has high property taxes, (which most of us have gotten used to.) Is it a good idea for any government, local or state, to get into the bike business? I think not. What's next, a government run athletic shoe company? Good bye Competitive Foot!

Kevin Cassidy from Oak Park Illinois  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 9:00 AM

I support the DIVY program and was disappointed in Quinn's denial. DIVY has been a great success in the city. The arguments here against spending are fair but short-sighted. I don't need to cite the advantages of bikes as opposed to cars for short trips. Still, as we read of vast areas of Antarctica breaking off and irreversible melting of the ice cap, we need to think twice and do what we can to leave our kids a livable world.


Posted: May 16th, 2014 7:59 AM

You guys act like he's going to take that $3m and save it, it's just going to some other boondoggle of his choice so stop patting him on the back.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 16th, 2014 7:44 AM

I had assumed that the new rain shelters built by two train stations in the village were going to be for those bikes. I wonder what they are for?

Sanity please   

Posted: May 15th, 2014 11:11 PM

I am just pleased and comforted that the majority of the posters see this as a feel good government boondoggle. Whether people use the service or not is not the issue. With these numbers it's Absolutely a cost not an investment. And a cost we can't afford

Dan Lauber from River Forest  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 6:22 PM

Bravo to Governor Quinn for exercising some good judgment. While the finances of the State of Illinois are crumbling, this Divvy bike program is a luxury we cannot afford. If ever there was a discretionary program that did not need funding, this is it. Good for you Governor.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 6:02 PM

@3 Million--10 bikes per docking station.

3 Million  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 4:34 PM

$3 Mill for 75 docking stations comes out to $40 K per docking station. What exactly is a docking station? One bike per station or multiple bikes per station?

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 1:29 PM

"The funds would have purchased 75 docking stations in the two communities, Crain's reports." Actually, Crain's reports, "to buy 75 docking stations, extending the reach of the program into Oak Park and Evanston."// Not all 75 stations would have been in Evanston and Oak Park. Only about 20 would. The other 55 docking stations would have been in Chicago, on the borders of the two towns.

3 Million   

Posted: May 15th, 2014 12:52 PM

Even $3 Million is a way crazy number. For bikes??? Who is getting the kick back here. Someone should audit the entire program.


Posted: May 15th, 2014 12:27 PM

TomR, you'd better go back to school and take both reading and math over again!

TomR. from Oak Park  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 12:21 PM

$26.4 million for 75 docking stations! That's $365,000 per station. Can't anyone do the math? This would be a ridiculous waster of money, energy, and everything else that goes into it.

Tired of Taxes from Oak Park  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 11:33 AM

It seems ludicrous that our State would have spent millions more that it does not have to provide bicycles to a well-healed community like Oak Park. For once, Quinn showed a little common sense here.

OP Res 253 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 11:25 AM

Sweet of you, but I hardly think the Schulers would be devastated....Greenline is a non-profit hobby of theirs. It would nice to rent a bike rather than keep replacing ones that are liberated by the one-direction only Oak Park/Austin bike exchange.

Chris Carrier  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 11:17 AM

I have mixed feelings about this. I think it would be great to have this, but then it would be devastating to a great local business that rents bikes.

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