“32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack, usually a progressive on transportation issues, recently made some backward comments about city initiatives that convert car parking spaces into facilities like Divvy stations, bike parking corrals and People Spot seating areas. Waguespack fretted about the impact these conversions would have on local businesses, but it’s clear that these innovative uses can be more effective ways to draw visitors to retail strips than simply warehousing cars on the public way. Even after I staked out a bike-share station in his ward and found that 12 customers used it during a two-hour period, while there was zero turnover at two adjacent car spaces, the alderman still wasn’t convinced.
44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney seems to have a much better understanding that it’s much more important to bring people to business districts than to accommodate cars. Tunney did honor a request from Manuel Tenorio, owner of the two Johnny Sprockets bicycles stores, to put the kibosh on a proposed Divvy station near his shop at Broadway and Wellington in Lakeview. However when I recently interviewed the alderman at the ribbon cutting for a station at Wrigley Field, shortly before another ribbon cutting down the street for the a People Spot at Southport and Addison, he explained his reasoning for that decision and expressed support for swapping car spots for more productive uses.”