There’s a new biking option in town, and unlike Divvy it doesn’t use the familiar docks. After a lengthy process, the City decided on a pilot service area for the bikes (roughly everything south of 79th except the South Chicago community) and has green-lighted several companies to provide the bikes. Service began a few days ago.
Deloris Lucas, a transportation activist with We Keep You Rollin’ Chicago, tells us this is a big deal for Chicago’s south side, although “dockless” biking is still very new and there could be a number of kinks to be worked out in the coming months.
Dockless biking (DoBi) uses a smartphone app to locate the bike nearest you, and, linking to your credit card, it unlocks the bike for you and tracks your usage. When you’re finished you can lock the bike to an approved public fixture such as a bike rack, city lamppost or the like – and be on your way.
Transportation writer and advocate for transportation equity John Greenfield tells us that there’s room in Chicago for both docked and dockless bikes, and that at the same time Chicago is also making plans for a car-sharing program in a zone from Foster to Cermak, from the lake to about Central Park. The car-share program would be similar to dockless bikes in that the vehicles wouldn’t have a “home base.” Customers would find a car through an app, use the app to remotely unlock it and drive away. The car could be dropped off in any legal parking spot in the service area, making the cars incredibly easy to use.
A number of aldermen have voiced opposition to car share though, claiming that they’d rob citizens of valued parking spots. So the roll-out will be more limited than the City had originally hoped.
Also on today’s show we discuss the chronically-delayed construction of the Navy Pier Flyover, an elaborate bridge designed to lift cyclists and pedestrians above the traffic at Lower Michigan and Illinois streets, across the Chicago River and Ogden Slip, and to rejoin the bike path near Wacker Drive. Fuinding issues, construction delays and newly-acknowledged issues with the Lakeshore Drive bridge will cost months more in delays, so the most optimistic completion date is now 2020.
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