The Trump administration removed the White House's Capital Bikeshare station, and you'd think that it's the end of the world ...In 2010, the Obama administration installed a Capital Bikeshare station inside the White House grounds and security perimeter. Since it was placed beyond the security checkpoint, the Bikeshare station was for White House employees, not the general public. This was part of the former administration's push for green transportation alternatives. Additionally, President Obama's 2009 budget allocated more federal infrastructure dollars to build dedicated bike lanes in Washington, D.C., and around the country. This week, however, the White House's Capital Bikeshare station was gone. Gregory Matlesky posted to Twitter that the White House's Bikeshare station had disappeared. https://twitter.com/dcdutchiedude/status/897522344712962049 This was apparently enough to get D.C. reporters to start digging. One reached out to the District Department of Transportation, and according to spokesperson Terry Owens, the removal request came from the Trump administration.
Almost instantly, there was public backlash. It was as if President Trump had declared war on bicycles. https://twitter.com/DonovanFarley/status/897877779827404800 https://twitter.com/jonasnahm/status/897878370683424768 Probably not part of a larger conspiracy to prop up the fossil fuel industrial complex ... //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js The Washingtonian went through Trump's history as a public figure to find instances where he was critical of bicycles. For example, they were critical of how then-candidate Trump made fun of Secretary of State John Kerry in 2015 for having to miss negotiation meetings with Iran because he injured himself in a bike race. That was Exhibit A for proof of his war on bikes. Add in the fact that the president's budget calls for public bicycle programs to be slashed, and many are saying that the Bikeshare station's removal is a strike at the very institution of two-wheeled, man-powered travel.
The truth is likely much less antagonistic. Staffing levels at the White House have widely been reported to be much lower than the previous administration. Overall payroll is lower, but the Trump White House has more aides making the maximum salary permitted by law. A much more reasonable explanation is that the new administration does not need the station because fewer staffers are renting bicycles in order to get to work. If anything, technically, the removal now allows this Capital Bikeshare station to be put somewhere more publicly accessible. The District of Columbia's Department of Transportation has declined to comment further on the matter and has directed all questions to the White House. We will keep digging to get to the truth behind #Bikegate because this is obviously the most important news of the day. Stay tuned for future updates!