After tough questioning by City Council members over the proposed placement of bike share stations to deployed as part of a pilot project to extend Divvy to Evanston, the Council gave the go-ahead to pursue the grant but significantly changed the station locations.
The original plan to have just seven stations has been increased to eight. The proposed station at city hall will be moved to a largely residential neighborhood six blocks adjacent to a community center while one of the downtown stations (Sherman & Grove) will be moved .5 mile south to Chicago Ave. and Greenleaf where Jewel Foods and Whole Foods are situated. This station will also be a block away from a new Trader Joe’s food market. The eighth station will be situated on the Chicago border at Howard St. and Chicago Avenue, one block from the Howard CTA stop.
The new map and the additions are an improvement on the initial effort. However, the number of stations is still inadequate and the western part of the city is still excluded. One thing that is not clear following the council meeting is just how the pilot is going to be evaluated. If this is an initial foray to work out the kinks and get residents and visitors familiar with the system and that the ultimate goal is for the city to properly implement bike share, it is probably a workable map. It’s another matter if they are going to gauge interest based on usage numbers, because the saturation is not adequate to properly assess citizen interest.