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
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
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!