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 606: Chicago’s Elevated Park

Opening Weekend of the 606 – June 2015
Photo credit: the 606

by Emily Speelman

Running 2.7 miles through Chicago’s northwest side, the Bloomingdale Trail has become an iconic part of the Chicago landscape and a favorite of athletes and families alike. Also known as the 606, this once held an elevated railroad run by the Chicago & Pacific Railroad. It was used to move goods from the Chicago River to industrial ports on the city’s north side. In 1893, after a number of dangerous encounters with pedestrians and trains on the ground-level tracks, Chicago mandated all railways become elevated throughout the city. Trains frequently ran on Bloomingdale Lane, passing through the Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Bucktown, and Wicker Park neighborhoods, until freight carriage through this corridor ended in the mid-1990s.

 

The early days of the Bloomingdale Trail – 1965
Photo Credit: Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail


The elevated track lay abandoned through the 1990s as community partners discussed what to do. Since the trains had stopped running there, trees, flowers, and other plant life began blooming on and around the tracks, creating an unplanned, natural trail above the neighborhoods. The first official plans for the 606 came as the Logan Square Open Space Plan in 2004. Though the elevated area was built over 100 years ago, the railroad’s foundation reaches seven feet thick, creating a solid and ideal platform for new construction. After several meetings with city officials and community organizers, the first stage of the plan was approved and construction began in August 2013. The trail’s renovation was spearheaded and established by the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail, who desired to make a mixed-use park space that would connect neighborhoods and provide a safe, elevated space for Chicago communities.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail break ground on the 606 construction
Photo credit: The 606

The 606 opened to the public on June 6, 2015. The name 606 is based off the first three digits of all Chicago area codes, showing that all residents are welcome to the trail. Currently, the 606 is home to 37 bridges, 1400 trees, and 200 different plant species. The 606 arts initiative, called the 606 Arts Program, features a rotating set of sculptures and murals placed along the trail. A number of community events are hosted throughout the year, such as the Arts Blitz and the Walk 606 With Light parade. Visit http://www.the606.org/ for more information and upcoming events.

The trail is open from 6:00am to 11:00pm daily to walkers, runners, and bikers alike. You can even bring your furry friends!

 

Swayze loves walks on the 606! Photo credit: Alli Rooney

 

The trail can be accessed at a number of points shown on the map below:

Resources:

http://www.the606.org/about/history/

http://www.the606.org/resources/frequently-asked-questions/

http://www.bloomingdaletrail.org/about/

http://www.the606.org/explore/arts/