Condo residents go to court over Divvy bike sharing station

By Mitch Smith, Chicago Tribune reporter
8:37 pm, August 21, 2013

Source: Chicago Tribune

Divvy bikes at the Pitchfork Festival at Union Park on July 21, 2013. © JUNRU HUANG, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Divvy bikes at the Pitchfork Festival at Union Park on July 21, 2013.
© JUNRU HUANG, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

David Kolin and his wife, Jeannine Cordero, learned Tuesday that the area in front of their North Side condo building would soon be home to a Divvy bike sharing station, one of hundreds the Chicago Department of Transportation is installing across the city.The station, which can hold up to 15 of the baby-blue rental bikes, opened Wednesday near the corner of Addison Street and Pine Grove Avenue. But the three-unit building’s condo association, of which Kolin is president, on Wednesday asked a Cook County judge for an injunction to stop the station from staying in front of their home.

“We don’t think it’s appropriate in a residential area to have this thing set up,” said Kolin, an attorney. “It’s not a very attractive thing to have. It’s led to crowds already.”

“It’s hideous,” added Cordero, also a lawyer. “It’s less than 20 steps from our front door.”

Cordero said she fears property devaluation, safety issues and trash buildup. The civil filing names CDOT and Ald. James Cappleman, 46, as defendants.

A message left Wednesday afternoon at Cappleman’s office wasn’t immediately returned. A city spokesman defended the station’s location.

“We are aware of the request from a few residents to relocate the Divvy station away from their building on Pine Grove Avenue near Addison Street,” CDOT spokesman Pete Scales said in a statement. “This residential street location was determined to be the safest for customers near the busy intersection of Addison and Lake Shore Drive. It is located in the public way, close to the curb on the street, and not on any private property.”

The city started rolling out its bike-sharing program, which allows customers to pick up at one location and dock at another, on June 28 and plans to have 400 stations operational by next spring. Early returns suggest the program is catching on with commuters and tourists. Annual memberships cost $75, while $7 buys riders a day of unlimited 30-minute trips.

Kolin and Cordero said they’re all for the bike-sharing program but think it makes more sense to put stations on arterial streets. They’re also frustrated that building residents learned about the station the day before its installation as crews placed orange cones and no-parking signs in front the condo.

“I just hope the city will work with families,” Cordero said.

mitsmith@tribune.com