Divvy bikes are headed to the suburbs of Evanston and Oak Park after Gov. Pat Quinn on Sunday reversed course and approved a $3 million state grant to expand the bike-sharing service.
The grant — which appears to be identical to one denied by Quinn in May — will add 700 new bikes and 70 docking stations in Evanston, Oak Park andseveral Chicago neighborhoods. Taxpayers in the three cities will foot the bill for an additional $750,000, bringing Divvy bikes to the suburbs for the first time.
In a news release Sunday, Quinn said, “The Divvy program has proven to be a successful and innovative way to commute, navigate congested city streets and explore vibrant Chicago communities. Expanding Divvy outside of the city limits mean fewer cars on the roads and gives more residents and visitors the fun opportunity to take a ride.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl also welcomed the grant.
The investment will cover 50 new docking stations and bicycles in Chicago’s Garfield Park, Austin, Rogers Park and West Rogers Park neighborhoods, the governor’s office said. Oak Park will receive 12 docking stations and Evanston will get eight. The new equipment will be installed next year.
So far, 3,000 bikes are available to rent at 300 stations across the city. The expansion funding announced Sunday will add to the 175 stations and 1,750 bikes slated for spring 2015, bringing the total to 545 stations.
Quinn’s office was not available for further commentSunday.