Chicago’s Second City nickname comes from the old accusation that we’re constantly aping the Big Apple. Regardless, we’re definitely following in New York’s footsteps when it comes to bike-share NIMBYism. After NYC installed 300 Citi Bike stations within a few weeks this spring, a number of condo associations hired lawyers and threatened to sue the city after stations were placed in front of their buildings. At least one association actually filed a lawsuit, which was almost immediately thrown out. Opposition died down after 65,000 members pedaled over two million miles within two and a half months. Many other bike-share cities have seen resistance to the docking station from homeowners, but stations have worked out just fine in historic residential streets in London, Washington, D.C., and Boston.
So let’s chalk it up as a rite of passage that Chicago is now seeing its first anti-bike-share lawsuit. On Wednesday, a Lakeview condo association filed suit against the Chicago Department of Transportation and 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman in an effort to get a Divvy docking station removed from the front of a three-unit building at 3565 North Pine Grove, on the southeast corner of Pine Grove and Addison Street. Workers installed the station yesterday afternoon, it went online at 3:13 p.m. and saw its first use at 4:19 p.m. However, before the installation was complete, association members and married couple David Kolin and Jeannine Cordero, both lawyers, had already filed the lawsuit.
Why? Kolin told the Sun-Times the condo owners object because the station is five steps from the front door, and they think it will attract strangers to the block who will might follow residents’ children into the building. In the Tribune, Cordero called the station “hideous,” calling to mind Wall Street Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz’s famous rant against Citi Bike stations “begriming” the streets of New York. Kolin and Cordero are kidding, right? The 50 people who had used the Pine Grove station by 9:30 this morning would probably argue that it’s in a handy location.