Oak Park gears up for the arrival of Divvy bikes

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Oak Park residents will soon be enjoying a smoother commute to work when Divvy bikes roll in next year. The infamous light blue bikes can be found at either one of the 300 docking station in the Chicago neighborhood, ridden through Grant park on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, or on your typical commute to work on the Dan Ryan . The economical and convenient charm of theirs has attracted residents of the southwest suburb, specifically the Oak Park director of parking and mobility services, Jill Velan.

“We’re pleased that the state of Illinois has chosen to help fund this latest expansion in Oak Park,” said Velan. Thanks to a $3 million dollar grant from the state, Divvy bike stations will expand into the towns of Oak Park, Evanston, and other neighborhoods in Chicago. The grant was initially rejected by Gov. Pat Quinn, but had a change of heart at the end of September. Did the upcoming elections have anything to do with that?

According to the governor’s office, the funds will allow for 50 new Divvy docking stations, 12 of them will be issued to Oak Park. The state will be covering 80 percent of the necessary expenses, while Oak Park will be handling 20 percent—about $161, 177.

Oak Park has expended their bike programs over the past years, making it a great town to ride your bike. Their added bike lanes—7.5 miles of lanes will be completed by the end of the year, and new bike racks and bike shelters at train stations and bus stations has given villagers the confidence to ride like Lance Armstrong, but without the lies and steroids.

“Biking is a priority to the citizens of Oak Park, and we’ve gotten very positive feedback that we were able to move and secure this grant,” said Velen.

Eduardo Narvaez, who’s been living in Oak Park for over 20 years, was very excited when he first heard the news of the expansion. “I’ve always wanted to ride those!” Eduardo said “But since you can only find them in the city, I’m afraid I’ll get hit by an over caffeinated driver, or chased down by a mean dog—I don’t have to be afraid of those things here (Oak Park),”

By Spring of 2015, Chicago plans to have 1, 750 new Divvy bikes at a total of 175 new rental stations.

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