West Executive Avenue


West Executive Avenue Northwest
P061214PS-0985 (14992500937).jpg
Barack Obama walks across West Executive Avenue in 2014
West Executive Avenue is located in Central Washington, D.C.
West Executive Avenue
mid-point of West Executive Avenue
West Executive Avenue is located in the District of Columbia
West Executive Avenue
West Executive Avenue (the District of Columbia)
West Executive Avenue is located in the United States
West Executive Avenue
West Executive Avenue (the United States)
Owner United States government
Length 1,180 ft (360 m)
Location Washington, D.C., United States
Coordinates Coordinates: 38°53′51″N 77°2′16.9″W / 38.89750°N 77.038028°W / 38.89750; -77.038028
Completion 1871
Designer Gen. Orville Babcock[1]
Status closed, in-use as parking lot

West Executive Avenue Northwest (commonly known as "West Executive Avenue" or "West Exec") is a closed street in Washington, D.C., that, as of 2017, functions as a parking lot for persons employed by the Executive Office of the President. It runs adjacent to the White House.


West Executive Avenue is a short street that runs along a north–south axis adjacent to the White House. It sits between the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and runs parallel to East Executive Avenue, which, in 1986, was also permanently closed to public traffic.[2][3][4] On its northern end it intersects Pennsylvania Avenue, a portion of which was permanently closed to public traffic in 1995.[5]

Claude Grahame-White landing on West Executive Avenue in October 1910

One of several variants of a 1999 plan developed by the National Park Service envisaged the restoration of the historic and aesthetic qualities of the grounds surrounding the White House by converting West Executive Avenue into a pedestrian walkway and moving its parking inventory to a newly built, below-ground structure.[6]


West Executive Avenue was constructed in 1871, providing a first-time road link between the north and south sections of President's Park.[1] According to the U.S. Government, in 1910 it was the scene of the first recorded landing, on a public street, of an aircraft when Claude Grahame-White touched down in his Farman biplane to meet United States Secretary of War Jacob M. Dickinson for lunch.[7][8] During World War II, West Executive Avenue was closed to traffic as a security precaution.[9] In 1951, following the attempted assassination of Harry S. Truman, it was closed permanently as it was believed traffic on the street would pose a safety risk to the President of the United States, and senior staff, walking from the White House to the State, War, and Navy Building (now the Eisenhower Executive Office Building).[10][11] It was subsequently converted into a parking lot and became "one of the city's most desirable parking lots for Federal workers".[10]

West Executive Avenue, pictured on the left side of this 1984 aerial photograph, sits between the White House and the Eisenhower Building.

In May 2016, Jesse Oliveri of Ashland, Pennsylvania, was shot by an officer of the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division on West Executive Avenue after approaching a checkpoint while brandishing a weapon.[12][13]

In popular culture

  • In the fourth episode of season two of Veep the character Jonah Ryan receives "West Exec parking", sparking jealousy from the characters Dan Egan and Mike McClintock.[14]
  • In the tenth episode of season three of Veep, the character Jonah Ryan requests to be assigned "West Exec parking privileges" in exchange for securing a political endorsement from his influential uncle.[15]

See also


  1. ^ a b Janke, Lucinda. "The President's Park". White House History. White House Historical Association. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  2. ^ Bredemeier, Kenneth (December 7, 1984). "East Executive Ave., Goodbye". Washington Post. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  3. ^ Livingston, Mark (2006). Newcomer's Handbook for Moving to And Living in Washington D.C.: Including Northern Virginia And Suburban Maryland. First Books. p. 9. ISBN 091230166X.
  4. ^ Harris, Shane (February 1, 2013). "Obama Moving to a Second Oval Office". Washingtonian. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  5. ^ "Reopen Pennsylvania Avenue". National Review. September 23, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  6. ^ The White House and President's Park, Comprehensive Design Plan: Environmental Impact Statement. Washington, D.C.: National Park Service. 1999.
  7. ^ Villard, Henry (2002). Contact!: The Story of the Early Aviators. Courier. p. 107. ISBN 0486423271.
  8. ^ "Building Firsts". The White House (George W. Bush archive). National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  9. ^ Gamarekian, Barbara (September 9, 1986). "WASHINGTON TALK: WHITE HOUSE; Security, Esthetics and a Lost Road". New York Times. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "MATTER OF MOTIVE, AND OF PARKING". New York Times. July 20, 1983. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  11. ^ Perl, Peter (April 19, 1983). "East Executive Ave. May Never Reopen". Washington Post. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  12. ^ Ware, Doug (May 20, 2016). "Secret Service shoots man with gun near White House; suspect critically wounded". UPI. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  13. ^ "White House shooting: armed suspect remains in critical condition". The Guardian. Associated Press. May 22, 2016. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  14. ^ "13: Helsinki". HBO. HBO. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  15. ^ "28: New Hampshire". HBO. HBO. Retrieved February 13, 2017.