Millennium Park bike station reopens under new name and management

The Millennium Park bike station, previously named after its original sponsor, McDonald’s, has officially reopened as Hub312 Cycling Center earlier this month with an open house, free on-site bike checks, free park tours, and even free Chicago-style hot dogs.

The bicycle station, located at 239 E. Randolph St., has been in existence since 2004, offering indoor bicycle parking, changing rooms, repair services and bicycle rental. Bike and Roll Chicago The cycle touring company has operated the facility for most of its existence. Shift transit, a Chicago-based mobility operating company founded by Eddy Inlow, who was the first general manager of the Divvy bike-sharing program, took over operations in late spring.

Shift renovated the locker rooms, introduced towel service and introduced membership packages. This includes discounted “capital memberships” for residents who receive state dietary benefits. Representatives for Shift said mobility justice is important to the business and that the center will serve all Loop workers, not just office workers.

The contract

In November 2019, the city held a tender process for the next bike station operator. Shift’s offering “received the highest overall rating”.

Team contract for the operation of the bike station came into effect when city council approved the deal on May 26 of this year, and it will last for three years, with the option of a two-year renewal. The commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, which oversees Millennium Park, has the right to terminate the agreement “without cause, for any reason,” provided Shift is given 30 days notice.

Indoor parking at the bike station.  Photo: Hub 312
Indoor parking at the bike station. Photo: Hub 312

The company will pay an annual fee of $ 60,000 to use the facility, plus 3% of gross annual income for the first year, 5% of gross annual income for the second year, and 7% for the third year. If the city chooses to extend the contract, it will have to pay the same fees and 7% of revenue per year. The contract also requires Shift to pay the prevailing wages to contractors responsible for “the construction, repair and maintenance of the improvements”.

The opening hours of the bike station are from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. from March 1 to October 31 and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. the rest of the year.

Inlow, who was present at the inauguration, said that even with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and many people still working from home, there is still a demand for indoor bicycle parking downtown.

“Customers made 3 million trips in 2020, and we are looking to expand it in 2021,” he said. “We are just delighted to be here.

Amenities of the bike station

According to Phil LeDonne, general manager of bike stations, the facility includes 244 indoor bicycle parking spaces and 100 outdoor spaces, with 92 lockers on the lower level. The men’s shower has 112 lockers, while the women’s locker room has 128 lockers, but the bathroom / shower areas themselves are virtually identical.

Bike racks outside the bike station.  Photo: Hub 312
Bike racks outside the bike station. Photo: Hub 312

The bike station still has a bike shop on the lower level that offers safety checks for $ 40, “basic” and “full service” tune-ups for $ 50- $ 75, and more advanced repairs for $ 100. – $ 200. “The price is very competitive compared to others [bike shops] in the region, so we hope it will be popular, ”said LeDonne.

Hub312 offers $ 50 monthly subscription and $ 250 annual subscription, as well as day passes for $ 15. The pass allows users to park their bikes and use the showers and lockers. Cyclists who just want to use a shower can access it for $ 5, towel service costs an additional $ 2.

One of the changing rooms.  Photo: Hub 312
One of the changing rooms. Photo: Hub 312

Subscriptions allow cyclists to use the bicycle shop for free and to access the facility outside of normal opening hours using key fobs. The annual pass includes free towel service, lockers reserved exclusively for them, and five free five-day passes they can share with others.

Hub312 also offers “equity passes” of $ 5 per month to residents who receive assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (colloquially known as food stamps). They just have to present their Link Cards to check their status. “We are very excited about the equity pass,” said LeDonne. “We hope to serve all members of the community, regardless of their income. “

There is no annual equity pass. 12 monthly equity passes add up to $ 60, which is significantly less than $ 250, but $ 250 equates to five regularly priced monthly passes – and 12 monthly passes don’t provide its users with the annual benefits.

No more bike parking in the basement.  Photo: Hub 312
No more bike parking in the basement. Photo: Hub 312

Inlow said fairness is a high priority for her business, saying about 25% of the members of the bike sharing schemes she operates in Detroit and Tucson have discounted subscriptions. “It’s something we want to do here,” he said. “We want to get the word out, and we can’t wait to see members use this option.”

team spokesperson Cynthia mccafferty said they had promoted The Loop bike station and surrounding neighborhoods, going as far south as Bronzeville, and reached out to aldermen and colleges in the area.

Offers for tourists

Inlow said that while serving the people of Chicago is a top priority, so is “helping[ing] visitors see Chicago. Hub312 offers bicycle rental and plans to organize cycling and walking tours. “We are really proud to be able to provide customers with a safe and affordable way to get around the city during the difficult pandemic,” he said.

Bike rentals were a point of contention when city council reviewed Shift’s contract. The contract with the city sets the rates at $ 20 per hour, which Chicago Sun-Times reported some aldermen felt that was a bit too much. Anne Davis, contract administrator for DCASE, said the $ 20 an hour fee is for tourists less inclined to choose Divvy.

At the grand opening, Scott Anselmo, Hub312 Tours and Rental Manager, took a walking tour of Millennium Park – because, ironically, the park doesn’t allow biking. He said he was still working on the details of the tours, but said they would take place in the area between North Avenue and the museum campus, and use the Lakefront Trail and / or protected bike paths. . The idea, Anselmo said, was to create something that cyclists of all skill levels could participate in. “It’s really about seeing Chicago where people are comfortable. It helps to make people comfortable with cycling, to understand how to react to traffic, and to be proactive when it comes to cycling safety.

While Anselmo said prices are to be determined, the contract sets the maximum rate at $ 25 an hour. According to him, cycling and walking are simply a good way to see the city. “When you’re in a car, you’re a bit in a box, you focus on the road. But when you walk or cycle, you appreciate what is around you.