Myths and Facts
Myth: Closing Klingle Road will
Save Klingle Valley.
Fact: Closing Klingle Road will
continue the urban degradation of Klingle Valley that has taken place over
the past ten years, and will deprive the majority of D.C. citizens the
enjoyment of Klingle Valley that we had for many decades. Klingle
Road used to be make Klingle Valley accessible to all: hikers,
bikers, automobiles, police, fire/rescue, city maintenance vehicles.
Klingle Valley, without its historic road, now fosters illegal dumping,
drug use, the homeless, and gang activity. The longer the road stays
closed, the more these activities will fester.
Myth: The Sierra Club supports
the closing of Klingle Road.
Fact: The national Sierra Club has
no position on Klingle Road. The local Sierra Club has no published
vote or position, and has never polled its membership, on Klingle Road.
Many current members of the local Sierra Club support saving Klingle Road.
Myth: Klingle Valley Park is
Fact: The repair of the road does
not pose a threat to Klingle Valley. Klingle Road and the Klingle Valley
have co-existed for more than 100 years.
Klingle Road has been
identified as a point source polluter of Rock Creek.
Fact: Klingle Valley
is a source for organics and toxics from non-point sources and combined
sewer overflow. See for yourself at the EPA
website. In fact, other tributaries of Rock Creek, like Broad Branch
and Piney Branch, are non-point source polluters too -- shall we close
every road leading into Rock Creek Park?
Myth: This is a proposed road.
Fact: Klingle Road is an existing
road that predates Connecticut Avenue, Cleveland Park, and most of Woodley
Park. Every one of the surrounding roads was built after Klingle
Road was built in the mid-1800's. The transportation system in the
area was developed with Klingle Road at its foundation. Closing
Klingle Road pulls the rug out, and the result is an unsafe and broken
Road will lead to more traffic.
Fact: Repairing Klingle Road
won't lead to more cars in our City, any more than closing the road will
lead to fewer cars. No one is going to start driving a car because
we repair 4/10ths of a mile along the middle of Klingle Road. Does
building more schools lead to overpopulation?
Myth: There is corporate pressure
to reopen the road.
Fact: The citizens are
responding because we need relief from the traffic congestion and because
there are serious public (human) safety issues. We are tired of
being forced to travel through congested residential side streets and
enduring dangerous traffic patterns and taking more time than before.
All of this could be alleviated by the repair of our street. It is an
issue of fairness, safety and quality of life.
Klingle Valley is too
dangerous for a road.
Fact: Klingle Valley has had
this road for more than 100 years. Whats dangerous is having
vehicular traffic that formerly traveled on Klingle Road now travel
through residential streets that were never intended to carry such
traffic. Whats dangerous is that the response time for emergency
vehicles is harmed by the delay in repairing this necessary east-west
public artery. What's dangerous is the amount of extra traffic that
is forced through the hazardous intersection at Connecticut and Porter...
The right of way
should be transferred to the residents nearby or the federal government.
Fact: Klingle Road belongs to
all of us. It is owned by the City. It is not part of Rock
Creek Park. It is public property of the citizens of D.C., and
listed as a public highway under the DC Code, Title 7, Chapter 1. As
such, the road belongs to all of us.
divert funds from other necessary District projects.
Fact: One of the City's
primary functions is keeping its streets in good repair for the safety and
welfare of its citizens. The quality of life and safety of our
neighborhoods is extremely important, as is relieving undue burden on
Plus, DC is in the process of rebuilding
its roads and has funds available from its surplus. The restoration
of Klingle Road is long overdue, and will spur economic development.
We dont have the
money to repair the road.
Fact: DC has a surplus and has
budgeted the funds to address each of the options under consideration,
according to testimony this year from the DPW.
This is a green space
Fact: This is a public rights
and a public safety issue, not a green space issue. Spending
millions of dollars to remove Klingle Road will add almost nothing to our
green space; less than 1/10th of 1% of the 1,754 acres that make up
Rock Creek Park, one of the largest forested urban parks in the United
States. This expensive street removal, the cost of which is not
subsidized by Federal dollars, adds nothing to DCs already abundant
urban forested area.
The Department of
Public Works is bound by a promise in 1995 to permanently close the road.
Fact: While no one can dispute
that an officer of the DPW issued such an announcement in 1995 due to the
private influence of a few wealthy individuals who live on or near Klingle
Road (See McGrory, M
Washington Post, May 23, 1995), closing roads is not within DPW's
authority. The fact is that the decision to permanently close a
public road lies with the Mayor and the City Council, requires a detailed
proposal to the Council, a public hearing with input from various public
agencies and the ANCs, and a determination from the DC Council that the
road is unnecessary -- none of this has ever happened. Closing
Klingle Road would be unprecedented. Moreover, far from being
unnecessary, Klingle Road road is necessary for public safety of persons
and property, and to relieve the undue burden on our residential streets.
DPW in recent meetings has assured its citizens that no decision to close
the road has been made. All of the surrounding ANC's have voted to
re-open the road.
Klingle Road is not
necessary since it has been closed for 10 years.
Fact: Klingle Road was never
lawfully closed. The passage of time has not reduced the need for
this road. On the contrary, the road is needed now more than ever,
as an alternate cross-town (east-west) route. It is the only cross
town artery that provides a short cut from 16th Street to the Wisconsin
and Reno Road areas, passing underneath Connecticut Avenue to Woodley
Road. Its the right way to get back and forth between 16th Street
and Wisconsin Avenue and upper Georgetown, without going through
residential streets. Since its closure, traffic that would normally
travel through the park on Klingle Road is now forced to use Connecticut
and surrounding densely populated residential streets like yours, such as
Porter, Tilden, Macomb, Newark, Ordway and cross streets like 34th and
36th Street. As a result, we believe that accidents are happening
more frequently along these residential streets. Some of us witnessed an
accident in July at Newark and 34th Street (Reno). A resident on
that block agreed that the closing of Klingle has contributed to an
increase in congestion and accidents on these residential streets.
Moreover, Klingle Road provides redundancy
that is vital to our fragile system of streets in Northwest D.C., as
evidenced by the recent work being done on Porter Street at Connecticut.
When any one of the cross-town streets is closed, the remaining streets
cannot handle the excess burden. Klingle Road is a vital artery that
should not be severed.
Myth: Klingle Road has hairpin
Fact: Klingle Road has no hairpin
turns -- just look at the map. Even if it did, so do almost ALL of the
roads in the Park, as well as Beach Drive, and so do the roads now being taken as alternate routes
to Klingle Road, such as the route through the National Zoo. All of the park's
serpentine roads were designed as pleasure drives.
The present road system continues to reflect their original purpose
of providing public access to the enjoyment of extraordinary rural
scenery. Although adapted to
the automobile, the designed alignment, width and environmental
surroundings of these scenic roads has not substantially changed since the
1920s. (National Register of Historic Places).
Myth: 1,400 citizens from all over
the city petitioned to keep Klingle Road for themselves.
Those who want the road
closed made the mistake of bragging that these petitions were collected
outside of the Giant Food Store at Wisconsin and Macomb. How many of
those signatures were from citizens in zip codes 20010, 20011 and 20012?
Even if one million signatures were collected, the fact is that we live in
a democracy. Therefore, one group cannot band together to deny the
civil rights or property of another group. There is a process for the
closing of a road. To close the road, the Mayor must present a
detailed proposal to the Council - which must determine that we do not
need the road. Gathering petitions and imposing your will is not the
We know the road is
unnecessary because we monitored it for a day, at 34th and Woodley.
Fact: This may not be the best
indicator. DC traffic authorities said the traffic doubled at
Connecticut and Porter because of the closure. The police department
also opposed its closure for public safety reasons. Moreover, the
necessity of the road should be presumed since it existed for 100 years,
serving this function. For those who want to deprive the citizens of
DC of our road, you have the burden of showing that DC does not need this
east west artery. To fairly and accurately gauge this, the City
needs to hear from the people who would use the road, including the
emergency service vehicles, rather than the ones who never used it and
would not use it now. The people who actually used the road before,
the citizens who predate 1990 and those who would use it now when it is
restored to us want it open. Ask the citizens in Crestwood, which is
an adjacent community east of the park and less than 1 mile from Klingle
Road. They want our road back. Indeed, those primarily and
negatively impacted by the closure live in zip codes 20010, 20011 and
20012. Ask the cab drivers. Ask the ambulance drivers who
sometimes cant get through Connecticut and Porter. Ask the
citizens of Mt. Pleasant. Ask most of the citizens of Cleveland
Park and Woodley Park. The majority wants the road repaired.
Opening Klingle is a
recipe for disaster for the school children in the area.
Fact: Continuing to delay the
repair is courting disaster. Think about it. Right now, all of that
traffic is being diverted up and around the John Eaton School on Macomb
Street and down the residential streets leading to it. Children are
crossing there. Some of that traffic would not be going up Macomb,
right at the playground, if we could travel up Klingle to Woodley. Keeping
Klingle Road closed is not helping the children or parents of the other
schools, either because it is denying an available artery and adding to
the congestion. Some of the parents have been involved in traffic
accidents along Wisconsin Avenue because the families and children were
forced to take the more congested routes, instead of Klingle. The
myth that closing Klingle Road will promote the safety of school children,
taken to its logical end, would support the closure of all roads leading
to and surrounding every school in the City.
Klingle Road is
poorly planned because it opens onto residential streets.
Fact: It is the nature of
east-west arteries that they provide a connection to the side streets.
Plus, Klingle Road predates Connecticut Avenue. We are not talking
constructing a new road. Klingle Road follows a stream valley, as is
common practice in road building -- just look at some other local
examples: Piney Branch Parkway, Beach Drive, Tilden Street, Rock
Creek Parkway, just to name a few.
and local papers want it closed.
Fact: Which civic
organizations? Every affected ANC supports repairing the
The citizens and civic organizations negatively impacted want our road
repaired and reopened. There was an article in the Washington Post
September 10, 2000 Close to Home section illustrating this point.
Klingle Road should
be saved for the birds and wildlife.
Fact: Klingle Road has more
value serving its intended and historic purpose, as an east-west road.
We have Rock Creek Park, including Klingle Valley Park, for the birds.
Ironically, the wildlife on Klingle Road lately is more of the human kind.
Our road has become a haven for thieves and vandals, who pick up and
discard stolen property there and a dump for refrigerators, sofas and
mounds of debris. Klingle Road is being used by gangs who have left
graffiti under the bridges and derelicts have begun to congregate there,
Klingle Road is more
valuable as green space.
Fact: Klingle Road accounts
for less than 2 acres, as compared to the 1,700 acres that is D.C.s
Rock Creek Park, which itself is one of the largest urban forested parks
in the country. Klingle Road does not provide any additional usable
picnic or park space. Klingle Road is a road. It is not a
valley or a park. Its function, for more than 100 years, is that of
a road. There are no fields near Klingle Road and no places to park.
One side of the road drops to a deep incline. The other side is a
steep embankment. There is no park land on either side of the road
that is usable for recreation.
If we reopen Klingle,
the developers will build 1,000 houses on the Tregaron Estate, and we will
lose our land.
Fact: Zoning and land use
problems are not solved by closing roads. Besides, access to Tregaron
remains as open as ever, both from Klingle Road and from Macomb
Street, which is the most accessible driveway anyway. Opening
Klingle will have no impact on the development of Tregaron.
Moreover, developers have tried several times in the past without success,
even when Klingle Road was operational -- the citizens against development
have always prevailed. There is no factual basis for these concerns.
Nevertheless to the extent there is a concern, there are ways (perhaps
zoning restrictions or putting the land in trust -- now there would be a
nice park!) to safeguard the uses of the surrounding land since it could
be viewed as historic, should there be other concerns.
Klingle Valley was
part of Frederick Law Olmstead's vision.
Fact: Klingle Road was in
existence long before Mr. Olmstead was born.
We have to go through
the environmental impact analyses if we want to use federal money.
Fact: A number of roads have
been repaired in DC using federal dollars without going through this
process. Recent examples include the Porter Street construction,
Tilden Street, and the Park Road bridge. You may also want to watch
the communitys interest in the Broad Branch project. No other
road in the history of DC has required any environmental study, except for
the years that have been wasted on Klingle Road.
Protection Act requires this red tape.
Fact: Not so. Klingle Road
predates the 1995 EPA. The regulations also specifically state
This regulation does not apply to, or alter, approvals prior to the
effective date of this regulation. Klingle Road has existed for
more than 100 years.
The repair of Klingle
Road has a major environmental impact.
Fact: The repair of this
street does not fit any category of action generally covered by the EPA.
Those actions include highway and urban mass transportation projects, a
new fixed rail system or the new construction or extension to accommodate
high occupancy vehicles. Klingle Road has one lane in each direction
and is less than a half mile long. It is not new construction. This
is not major.
These delays are
necessary because of the opposition to avoid litigation later.
Fact: The regulations indicate
that alternative courses of action and all decisions should be in the
public interest, not private interest, and be based on a balanced
consideration of the need for safe and efficient transportation. The
regulations provide a number of outs. To the extent more is needed,
the regulations also provide for categorical exclusions, which are
exceptions that would permit the City to move ahead. Besides, what
legal basis exists, what gravamen is there, if DPW simply does its job?
On what basis can our Department of Public Works be sued if it fixes a
The studies are
required and justify the delays.
Fact: It is unprecedented that
a street repair require an environmental impact study. The
restoration of Klingle Road is an important traffic and public safety
issue of public interest. The repair needs to happen, without any
further delay, before your traffic congestion gets any worse. The
City is on a promising upswing. We need the Mayor and the Council to
take action now, and for all of us.
Public transportation service could not be provided on Klingle Road.
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) requires roadways
with a minimum lane width of 10 feet to provide bus service. Since
Klingle Road is a two lane road at least 30 feet wide, bus service could
A decision to provide such service
would depend on the need for bus service based on activity centers served,
passenger demand along the proposed route, proximity to other routes, and
availability of funding.
Klingle Road carried an insignificant amount (2%) of traffic
across Rock Creek Park, similar to volumes on the Zoo Road.
Fact: Klingle Road carried 3,200 vehicles per day, 200 in each
direction during peak hours, a significant amount of traffic.
Opponents include traffic volumes on roads miles from Klingle Road,
such as Military Road, to arrive at the 2% figure.
Traffic that traveled on Klingle Road does not use Military Road as
an alternative. Instead, the
traffic uses Porter Street. DPW
figures showed that traffic at Porter and Connecticut doubled after
Klingle Road closure. The Zoo
Road does not replace Klingle Road: traffic
figures for the Zoo Road show the number of people who drive to the
We should solve our traffic problems by concentrating traffic onto
large, central arteries.
This is a recipe for gridlock.
The advantage of D.C.'s grid system of roads is that it provides
alternate routes that we can use to get around traffic problems.
Limiting to traffic to a few major arteries would spell disaster in
the event one of the arteries becomes blocked or closed. In the area of Klingle Road, the grid system is very spread
out -- cross-town roads are 1/2 to 1 mile apart.
Klingle Road provides an important alternative route for getting
across town and avoiding traffic problems.
closing Klingle Road, it's only a 5-block detour.
Assumes that we are going to
Woodley and Reno. What if we are going to Maret, for example, or the
Washington International School? Also, this analysis misses the forest
for the trees. Opening Klingle will have a beneficial impact on traffic
all around Cleveland Park, not just for those who would travel on
Klingle, but for the many tens of thousands who travel on Connecticut
Avenue and Porter Street as well. Also, you have to travel on more
heavily congested roads, through more stop lights, and cross Conn. Ave.
Current traffic levels do not justify opening Klingle Road.
We live in the third most traffic congested city in the
nation. Just how bad would traffic have to get?
Can always open Klingle Road later (when traffic gets worse).
Klingle Road is an historic road, built in an earlier
day. Once this historic road is lost, it may not be possible to build it