Atlantic Cities

Insidious Chicago Bike-Share Station Threatens Home and Hearth!

Insidious Chicago Bike-Share Station Threatens Home and Hearth!
Flickr/danxoneil

The people who live in the three-unit condo at 3565 North Pine Grove Avenue on Chicago's North Side began to imagine all manner of evils before the Divvy station even arrived this week. Parking would disappear! And property values would tumble! And strangers! There would be strangers outside their very front door!

OK, lawsuits don't typically contain exclamation points. But it's hard to take seriously the particular screeds of property owners wigged out by... people sharing bikes... on public property. This latest complaint was filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court by the 3565 North Pine Grove Condominium Association, which is suing the local alderman and the Chicago Department of Transportation over a Divvy bikeshare station that landed on the block just days ago.

The problem:

Pine Grove alleges that the installation of the Station at the front door of Pine Grove will threaten home and hearth. Strangers will be at the front door, 24 hours a day and children who come and go from the building, which has no doorman, will be at risk. Further, property values will be diminished as thousands of dollars in recent parkway improvements financed by plaintiff are destroyed by the construction and as units will be less desirable because of public invasion, noise, trash and vulnerability, as well as more congestion and less available parking in an already too congested neighborhood

Furthermore:

Residents are concerned that strangers can easily follow minors through the front doors of the building.

In conclusion:

The Station should be installed in a higher trafficked area, near public transportation lines and not on a quiet, residential street seeking to retain some calm in an already busy area.

The suit is asking for a temporary restraining order or injunction against installing the station (too late!), compensatory damages, attorney's fees, and for the city to relocate the station "in some other area."

Steven Vance at Streetsblog Chicago makes the solid point that moving that station "near public transit" would defeat the whole purpose of bikeshare, which is designed to connect people to public transit from the neighborhoods where they actually live. By the same logic, it's also more likely that these bikes would serve the condo's own neighbors than any child-snatching, trash-wielding strangers.

But, admittedly, this tactic has worked before.

(Thanks to Streetsblog Chicago for posting the suit.)

Top image: Flickr user danxoneil.

Emily Badger is a former staff writer at The Atlantic Cities based in Washington, D.C. She now writes for The Washington Post. All posts »

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