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Klingle Road Integral to DC Traffic System

November 13, 2002

In Ms. Weiner's Current article last week, we are told that DC transportation experts have made great strides these past two years "moving Klingle forward." Apparently Herculean efforts are required to keep DC taxpayers off of our public road. Meanwhile, thousands of motorists waste hundreds of hours every day circumnavigating this half-mile boondoggle, causing many additional thousands of motorists to sit in traffic on other roads, pumping extra tons of toxics into the Cleveland Park air.

Ask DDOT Director Dan Tangherlini why not remove the barriers and fix the road, and you'll hear something about too much cost for the benefit of a few. This is doublespeak, though, because Tangherlini himself has admitted that fixing Klingle Road won't cost DC a dime, and DDOT's studies show that two critical problems facing our city will be addressed: Reducing air pollution, and improving traffic for tens of thousands who travel surrounding roadways every day. Ambulance and fire companies tells us that public safety and emergency response in area neighborhoods will improve as well.

How will these problems be addressed if our road is gone? DDOT's studies reveal that without Klingle Road, traffic and air pollution in the area only gets worse. Also, the Porter and Connecticut intersection needs widening by several lanes now, to handle displaced Klingle Road traffic, an chimerical solution with no foreseeable plans.

Ironically, the City always planned, instead, to keep Klingle Road open. A unique and irreplaceable resource, it carries crosstown traffic underneath Connecticut Avenue. This rare and vital below-grade crossing was to be fully restored in 1991. DDOT's 80-page plan solved drainage problems by giving Klingle Road its first stormwater control system. The National Park Service approved the plan, which keeps runoff away from the Klingle tributary, and slowly returns filtered rainwater to Rock Creek. We should stick with the plan and keep Klingle Road, a parkway that is part of our historic heritage and cultural landscape.

Converting this road to a park would be a costly and irrevocable mistake. More money is spent on parks in DC than in almost every other city in the country, yet the city struggles to maintain its 381 acres of public parks. Rock Creek Park, a 1,755 acre gem, also lacks monies for proper maintenance and desperately needed improvements.

On the other hand, Federal laws and resources give us a chance to restore historic Klingle Road to its original alignment. Once the road is gone, however, that chance will be lost forever.

Special interests have kneecapped DDOT's fundamental mission to maintain and improve our transportation system. The decision on Klingle has been tossed like a hot potato to the Mayor and the City Council. They should flip it back to DDOT and say, "Do your job!" Keep Klingle Road barrier free!

For additional information, please email support@repairklingleroad.org