NIH Spent $47,530 on Bicycle Shelters

Agency commissioned Modern Design and Site Furnishings to build ‘elegant’ structures

October 18, 2016

The National Institutes of Health spent nearly $50,000 on "elegant" bicycle shelters for its headquarters.

The Washington Free Beacon reported last month that the agency commissioned Modern Design and Site Furnishings to build two structures to keep bikes out of the weather, but neither the agency nor the company would say how much the contract would cost taxpayers.

In fact, the agency told the company not to comment to the Free Beacon about how much their bicycle shelters cost.

A contract posted on now reveals that the National Institutes of Health spent $47,530 for a "Bicycle Shelter" from the company.

The agency announced its plans last month to go outside the normal competitive process to purchase bicycle shelters from Modern Design and Site Furnishings, a Czech company that has a distributor in New Jersey.

The company describes its bicycle homes as "elegant."

"Bicycles are no longer just the exclusive transportation of the poor—and design should react to this truth," Modern Design and Site Furnishings says. "This elegant bike shelter has an uncompromisingly dynamic shape combining a robust frame and delicate glass which are supported by sturdy stainless steel brackets. The main characteristics of this shelter are the grooves for bicycles in its rear and its distinctly slanting wall."

The cost of the bicycle shelters is more than four times the cost of a traditional bus stop, which is estimated between $10,000 and $12,000.

An NIH spokesman told the Free Beacon that the bike shelter purchase is a "long term investment."

"This purchase is necessary to encourage alternative transportation, thus reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality," said Brad Moss. "The purchase allows the NIH to comply with federal guidelines established to mitigate traffic congestion."

Modern Design and Site Furnishings did not immediately respond to request for comment on why it is appropriate to spend nearly $50,000 of taxpayer funding for bicycle shelters.

Update 4:46 P.M.: This article has been updated to reflect comment from NIH.