News & Politics

Trump Removed the White House’s Capital Bikeshare Station

The Obama administration got the "secret" dock installed in 2010 for people who worked inside.

The White House's "secret" Capital Bikeshare station was installed in 2010 at the Obama Administration's request. Photograph by Flickr user Bruno Sanchez-Andrade.

As Capital Bikeshare grew bigger and more widespread over the past seven years, there was always one station the vast majority of users could never access: a nine-slot dock inside the White House’s security perimeter. The station, located at 17th Street and State Place, was visible to the eye when it was installed in 2010, but did not appear on any system map, making Capital Bikeshare’s smallest station an unofficial “secret” location.

But on Tuesday, Twitter user Gregory Matlesky passed by the White House and noticed the station not there.

Turns out Matlesky’s intuition was correct. The station was removed earlier this week at the Trump Administration’s request, District Department of Transportation spokesperson Terry Owens tells Washingtonian.

Owens adds that the station was installed in 2010 at the request of the Obama Administration, which had a favorable record with the cycling community. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery—or TIGER—grant program in the 2009 stimulus act funded bike-infrastructure programs throughout the United States, including the installation of several bike lanes and cycling paths around Washington. Before former President Barack Obama left office in January, his Transportation Department signed off on new regulations redefining traffic as people who move on roads, rather than strictly vehicles—a change considered a coup for cyclists and pedestrians.

President Trump’s relationship with the two-wheeled set is not so rosy. As a self-promoting businessman in the 1980s, Trump sponsored a bike race (called, inevitably, the Tour de Trump) that drew crowds wielding signs containing phrases like “Eat the Rich!” and “Die, Yuppie Scum!” As a candidate in 2015, Trump made fun of then-Secretary of State John Kerry—an avid amateur athlete—for breaking his leg in a crash while riding his Serotta in France. And as President, Trump’s first proposed budget in May called for stripping away many programs that have advanced recreational and commuting-based cycling, including the TIGER program. People for Bikes, which advocates for pro-cycling policies, called the White House’s proposed budget a “bad deal for bikes.” The removal of a Bikeshare station from the White House grounds is unlikely to improve Trump’s standing with bike riders.

Owens referred all other questions about the Bikeshare station’s fate to the White House, which did not respond to questions about why it had the dock removed.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.