Copyright, Northwest Current
January 8, 2003
Contrary to the impression created in the Currents January 1,
2003 article "Mayor Submits Bill to Close Klingle Road",
this is a plan to convert the road to a purpose that is less
beneficial to DC and to waste money studying it. Klingle Road is
functionally classified, and dedicated, for public vehicular use. This
is not a return to parkland issue, since the road was not parkland
DC has already done the necessary environmental assessment and
transportation study. The assessment also confirmed that accidents and
hazardous congestion have increased in the areas adjacent to the road.
This is not surprising since the environmental assessment showed that
the road is near 21 places of worship, 17 schools and 10 of the
citys enterprise zones. Three thousand residents efficiently used
Klingle Road each day when it was available. For the last ten years,
DC motorists, including the elderly, have not had access to this road.
This is one of the few dedicated east-west routes DC has in northwest.
The road serves as a connector for three city wards and is a conduit
to hospitals like Childrens Hospital, the Washington Hospital
Center and the VA Hospital to name a few. Using all of our roads
improves traffic flow, which will help reduce the air pollution
created by idling vehicles.
Since the city has to rebuild the road to accommodate emergency
vehicles, there is no cost avoidance. It makes no sense to rebuild the
road, but to deny the public vehicular benefit. The article also did
not mention that DCs primary transportation funding source is the
Federal Highway Administration, which provides money for road repair,
but may not for road conversion. Under federal transportation law, DC
has an obligation to preserve and maintain its inventory of
federal-aid roads and to use the roads for their dedicated public
vehicular purposes. The Federal Highway Administration has
historically provided funding, but only if the purpose furthers the
transportation mission. If the city were interested in maximum cost
effectiveness, then it would implement its 80 page Klingle Road
reconstruction plan which already addresses the environmental damage.
DC cannot afford to waste this road or to jeopardize our federal
transportation funding. Its in the public interest to restore this
road for its dedicated purpose. The longer we wait, the more it will
Gale B. Black
Washington, D.C. (Crestwood Ward 4)