Union Station's Chutzpah

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Like many people these days, I am concerned about the environment, and I try to do my part to reduce my environmental impact. I recycle, and my garden consists of native plants. Instead of driving from my house on Capitol Hill to my job in Silver Spring, I ride my bike to Union Station and hop on the Metro.

Unlike the bikes being rolled out in the SmartBike DC program [Metro, Aug. 13], my bike is old. I bought it used from a bike store a few years ago, and it has certainly seen better days.

But it functions just as it should, taking me from point A to point B. So imagine my shock and sadness when I got off the Metro after work Tuesday and my bike was missing from the bike rack outside Union Station.

I went to the nearest security guard to report the apparent theft, and he promptly retrieved my "stolen" bike. As it turned out, my bike had been judged to be "unsightly" by Union Station standards and had been impounded. They had cut the lock and confiscated the machine, obviously without bothering to verify whether it was abandoned or just a little beat up.

Are they serious? Is this a message the District wants to send? Is this how the nation's capital is promoting sustainability? Is the city going to confiscate old cars that function perfectly well? Are banks going to reclaim houses that show some peeling paint? Give me a break . . . and a new bike lock while you're at it.



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