Chicago Residents Go to Court over Rahm's Rental Bikes

Chicago Residents Go to Court over Rahm's Rental Bikes

Controversy surrounding Chicago’s new $22 million taxpayer-subsidized bike-“sharing” program “Divvy” escalated this week. It’s not just the cost burden and “special pricing” for city workers that’s driving the continued discontent, as new concerns about the placement of the bike rental stations resulted in court action on the part of residents.

Last Wednesday David Kolin, who lives on the north side of Chicago, went to court after noticing a 15-unit bike rental station outside of his three-unit condo building on a residential block near in the Wrigley Field neighborhood.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Kolin, who is the president of his building’s condo board, “asked a Cook County judge to the stop the station from becoming a permanent fixture in the neighborhood”:

“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.”

Not only are residents concerned about the crowds in front of their homes, but they also fear a negative impact on the value of their homes, citing the nuisance of extra “safety issues and trash buildup.”

A statement from Chicago Department of Revenue Spokesman Pete Scales said, “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…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.”

Another slap in the face to Chicago taxpayers surfaced last week, as Breitbart News reported, with reports that despite local taxpayer funds used to get the program off the ground, residents are not charged the same rates to use the rental bikes as city employees.

The rate for an annual pass to the use the bikes is $75; city employees (whose average taxpayer-paid salary, paid by is $74,698) receive a 27 percent discount, paying only $55 for the pass.

The “bike-sharing” program is funded by a federal transportation grant (TIGER) and Tax Increment Financing (TIF), which fits into the city’s overall infrastructure plan, “Chicago Forward,” estimated to cost over $7 billion. $91 million of which is to be spent on 650 miles of protected bike lanes.

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