A Gentrification Cycle, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 13 2013 @ 8:01am

Readers relate to the correlation between bike-share and gentrification:

I live in Chicago, where we’ve just seen the rollout of the “Divvy” bike-sharing program. If you know a bit about demographics in the city, a quick glance here says it all. Stations are dense on the north side, spread out a bit south of the Loop, and cease completely south of the University of Chicago area. According to Google Maps, the Pullman neighborhood, where I live, is about eight miles away from the nearest station by foot and eleven by car.  Westward, it’s the same. There are no docks west of (the northern third of) California Avenue. The situation gets a little better if you include planned dock sites, but not by much, and those too avoid poorer parts of town in favor of the up-and-comers, with none planned anywhere near Pullman or the “wild hundreds”. Even the more affluent areas of the south side are left out.

A reader in a different city:

DC specifically put a number of Capital Bikeshare stations in the poor parts of town. DC also arranged for subsidized and free memberships for the poor. Even with that, those stations are barely used. Right now, there are several stations that have not been used in the last 24 hours. Check it out yourself.

And to New York:

Crime could be a reason for NYC’s stage one to avoid poor neighborhoods, but bike-share is not cheap. You pay for the choice of when and where to get a bike made to some else’s design specifications and to have someone else worry about maintenance. The fact is it’s much cheaper to own one’s own bike, or even rent from tourist dealers, but in my elevator-free building and aging hands and arms the yearly membership is a good investment, despite my severely limited income.