The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has made it official–its bike share program will launch this spring with 4,000 bikes and 400 stations branded with the system’s name, “Divvy.” The system will be operated by Alta, one of its five programs to launch this year and at least seven to launch in the next two years.
The project’s cost of $22 million was financed primarily through federal grants and local tax increment financing. While Chicago has a large advertising market, Alta has not pursued any sponsorship or advertising money. According to the Chicago Tribune, Mayor Rahm Emanuel says that the city plans to eventually sell sponsorships for the system but, for the time being, the Divvy logo will be the only one people in Chicago see on the bikes and stations.
Divvy, as in “divvy up,” is meant to portray a theme of dividing and sharing the new transportation mode. The two Vs are placed on top of one another in the same manner as a sharrow, drawing a vague connection to cycling. The bikes are painted a pale blue which, while they look good now, will likely show dirt quickly and, as noted by Chicago Streetsblog journalist John Greenfield, the light color may be more susceptible to ”vandals with Sharpies.”
Despite perhaps a slightly questionable color choice, the CDOT announcement has many Chicago bike advocates very excited at the opportunity to use the ergonomic bikes to get around. Over the last few years, Chicago has made a concerted effort to enhance its bike infrastructure and the Divvy bikes will undoubtedly be a great addition to the transportation network.
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