Divvy Into Spring

by Emily Speelman

With the range of temperatures in 2017 thus far, Chicago has had several spring-like days and citizens are returning to one of their favorite warm-weather past times: biking. While many Chicago citizens have their own two-wheeled transport, both locals and visitors alike take advantage of Divvy, Chicago’s bike share system. Since it’s establishment in 2013, Divvy has grown in size and service, making it the third largest bike share program in North America (behind Washington D.C. and New York City).

Photo: Divvy Bikes

Divvy is owned by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and operated by Motivate, which owes the majority of U.S. bike share programs. Currently, Divvy has over 580 stations docking around 5,800 bikes throughout Chicago and the nearby suburbs of Oak Park and Evanston. Bike share programs are designed for short-range or one-way trips lasting no more than 30 minutes, making it great for commuters or visitors on the Lake Shore Trail. To begin riding, riders must first purchase a 24-hour pass (9.95 plus tax) or a Divvy membership (varies). Then undock the bike, ride, and re-dock it at any Divvy bike dock in the service area. While passes last 24 hours, bikes must be docked every half hour to prevent additional fees.

One of the primary goals for Divvy and other bike share programs is to connect to other transportation methods, such as connecting to a CTA bus line or a Metra train line. Since its establishment, Divvy has been widely popular in Chicago. In a statement by the Mayor’s office at the end of 2016, Divvy was near (and since surpassed) 10 million trips in less than four years of operation. With the additions of Evanston and Oak Park, Divvy covers the largest geographic area of North American bike share programs.

Photo: DNAInfo

The majority of Divvy docks are located outside of CTA stations, in the Loop, and along the lakefront. According to the Mayor’s 2016 report, the most popular stations in 2016 were located at:

  1. Streeter Dr. & Grand Ave. (Navy Pier)
  2. Lake Shore Dr. & Monroe St.
  3. Theater on the Lake (Fullerton Beach)
  4. Lake Shore Dr. & North Blvd.
  5. Clinton St. & Washington Blvd. (Ogilvie Station)
  6. Michigan Ave. & Oak St.
  7. Millennium Park
  8. Clinton St. & Madison St.
  9. Canal St. & Madison St.
  10. Canal St. & Adams St. (Union Station)

As Divvy grows in usage and popularity, they have introduced a number of discount memberships to ensure more people are able to use the bikes. Many Chicago corporations have a Divvy partnership and students are eligible for a discounted annual membership fee. Most recently, Divvy established the Divvy for Everyone program in 2015, a discounted annual membership for qualifying customers based on their household size and income. This is a one to two year discount membership starting at $5. This also allows for memberships to paid for by cash, eliminating the requirement of a bank or credit card that is needed for 24-hour passes and most annual memberships. More information on this program can be found below.

As the weather gets warmer, consider trying out this bike share program for a fun new way of seeing the city.

Photo: WTTW

See all the current Divvy stations here.

 

More Information about Divvy:

About Divvy: https://www.divvybikes.com/about

FAQ about Divvy and Bike Share: https://www.divvybikes.com/how-it-works/faq

Divvy for Everyone: https://www.divvybikes.com/pricing/d4e

Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Department of Transportation Announce Divvy Bike Share to Hit 10 Million Rider Mark in Coming Days (December 29, 2016) : https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/provdrs/bike/news/2016/december/mayor-emanuel–chicago-department-of-transportation-announce-div.html

GSC is Going Green!

The Geographic Society of Chicago is Going Green!

We’re proud to be a 2017 sponsor of the Village of Wilmette’s Going Green Matters initiative. Going Green is designed to encourage residents of Wilmette and the Chicagoland area to consider their impact on the environment and change what they can to make their community more sustainable. Some of these ways include:

  • LED lighting
  • Energy-efficient homes
  • Solar energy
  • Active transportation
  • Clean, green cars
  • Natural yards and native habitat
  • Parks and open spaces
  • Storm water management
  • Water conservation
  • Edible gardens and smart food choices
  • Waste reduction and recycling

Learn more about the Going Green Matters movement here.

To promote this movement, Go-Green Wilmette and the Village of Wilmette will be hosting a Going Green Matters community event on Sunday, March 12. The Geographic Society of Chicago will be there – will you?

The event is FREE and will be held at Michigan Shores Club (911 Michigan Avenue) in Wilmette from 12pm – 4pm. This fair will include exhibits such as:

  • Environmental Graphiti Art Exhibit by artist Alisa Singer
  • Native Plant Sale
  • Raffle and Auction Prizes
  • Household Battery Recycling
  • The Geographic Society of Chicago’s Geosphere!

The event is for all ages and has something for everyone! For questions regarding the event, contact info@gogreenwilmette.org.

 

We hope to see you there!

February Travelogue: Belgium and Luxembourg

The next travelogue in our 2017 Winter Series is tomorrow!

Join us tomorrow at 1pm in Chicago Cultural Center’s Renaissance Room to hear Ralph Danielsen’s presentation on Belgium and Luxembourg. More information about the talk can be found below:

“Belgium & Luxembourg are a perfect microcosm of the best of Europe, with a long history right up to and especially including last century’s world wars.

We’ll visit some of these battle sights and somber monuments, as well as the world’s most beautiful town squares, marvelous medieval towns, imposing castles, ancient art, and dramatic architecture. Highlights include EU capital Brussels, Bastogne, and bewitching Bruges.”

We will see you there!

The Legacy of Wrigley Field

by Emily Speelman

Last week, the Chicago Cubs made history by winning their first World Series in over 100 years. The famous “Billy Goat Curse” was broken and Cubs fans around the country rejoiced. This victory will go down in history and be as essential to Chicago as the Cub’s stadium itself: Wrigley Field. It’s located between Lakeview and Uptown in the appropriately named Wrigleyville and is one of the oldest stadiums in the Major League. Since it’s construction, Wrigley Field has undergone big changes, massively impacting the surrounding neighborhood and becoming a famous Chicago icon.

Wrigley Field was built in 1914, making it the second-oldest ballpark in the country. Initially called Weeghman Park (after property owner Charles J. Weeghman), the park was built on the grounds of an old seminary at Clark and Addison on the city’s north side. The initial stadium allowed for up to 14,000 visitors. The first game at Weeghman Park was on April 23, 1914 where the home team, the Chicago Federals, played Kansas City. Weeghman purchased the Cincinnati Cubs in 1915, moving the team to its now permanent home. The Wrigley family purchased the Cubs franchise in 1920 and the stadium was renamed in 1926 after Cub’s owner William Wrigley Jr.

Once called Central Lakeview, the area was renamed Wrigleyville to celebrate the park. Unlike many stadiums, however, Wrigley Field is in the middle of a dense residential and commercial neighborhood: therefore, all stadium renovations and changes directly impact the residents of Wrigleyville and interests can often clashes with the team’s ownership. One key example is the long-awaited approval for stadium lights at Wrigley to allow night games. Unlike the White Sox’s Comiskey Park (now known as Guaranteed Rates Field) who gained lights in 1939, Wrigley could only have day games for its first 74 years. Lights were only installed in 1988 after the Cubs threatened to leave Wrigley if the renovation was denied. There are also no official parking lots for the field, making street congestion a constant throughout baseball season. Under its most recent ownership, however, Wriglyville will look very different in the upcoming years.

Since Tom Ricketts’s purchase of the team in 2009, Wrigley Field and the surrounding Wrigleyville has undergone significant change. According to the Chicago Tribune, the current Cubs owner is working with Boston’s Theo Epstein to remake Wrigley and its surrounding neighborhood in the style of Fenway Park, which was built just two years before Wrigley Field. The project is titled The 1060 Project and began at the end of the 2014 season. Learn more about the project here: http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/restore-wrigley/

The 1060 Project

Since 2015, Ricketts and his associated businesses purchased 10 of 16 rooftops surrounding the park, where fans have full view of the game from the top of nearby buildings. Huge signs from companies such as Budweiser now stand on the outer perminter of the stadium, bringing large revenues to the team while blocking the view of rooftops that refused to sell. A McDonalds adjacent to the stadium on Clark Street was recently demolished after being purchased for $20 million: now, a hotel is being constructed on the site. Plazas were created on all sides the stadium and will host events both on and off game days. Northwest of the field, a large building for Cubs’ offices and related retail shops will overlook the stadium.

Mark Schlenker, a local rooftop owner, noted that the Cubs ownership made it clear they want to purchase all of the buildings on the east-bordering street of Sheffield Avenue. While Alderman Tom Tunney is optimistic about the economic growth of these plans for Wrigley, there are concerns about how this will affect long-time residents and businesses in the neighborhood. With an average of 40,000 fans in attendance at Cubs games, however, there is a strong draw to diversify and expand businesses in the area. The team will work closely with both Alderman Tunney and Mayor Emanuel as field renovations continue into the upcoming years. 

As the 2016 World Series Champions celebrate their victory, it is clear that Wrigley Field (and all of the changes to come) will remain an important part of the Chicago landscape for years to come.

 

For more information about Wrigley Field and the continuing renovations, please see the links below:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-cubs-wrigleyville-redevelopment-met-20161023-story.html

http://wrigleyville.org/about-wrigleyville/

http://graphics.chicagotribune.com/wrigley/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-cubs-wrigley-rooftops-future-20150213-story.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/chi-chicagodays-wrigleylights-story-story.html