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Let's Reopen Klingle Road

The Washington Post, Outlook, Close to Home
Sunday, June 1, 2008; Page B08

Klingle Road

An amendment before the D.C. Council this week would keep Klingle Road NW closed.
(By Lucian Perkins -- The Washington Post)

On Tuesday, the D.C Council will vote on the District's 2009 budget. Through an amendment added and created by Ward 3 council member Mary Cheh, this budget may violate a 120-year conveyance of a public road to the District by private landowners, namely Klingle Road NW, and it directs the D.C. government to replace the road with a more costly permeable hike-bike path. It also demolishes a long-sought agreement allowing limited development on the Tregaron Estate in Cleveland Park and puts houses and a school in jeopardy.

The amendment replaces a D.C. law under which a Klingle Road would be rebuilt and a sewer and drain infrastructure would be established. Instead, the permeable surface on a steep slope, as stipulated in the amendment, is likely to cost two to three times more to construct and maintain than a traditional paved road would. This surface will not support required utility trucks.

In 2006, an abutting landowner agreed to sell land for the development of eight single-family dwellings, six of which face the closed section of Klingle Road. This agreement was reached with the understanding that Klingle Road would be repaired and reopened in accordance with legislation passed by the D.C. Council in 2003. Under the agreement, the Tregaron Conservancy gained 13 acres for open public green space, gardens and additional hiking trails. The city would gain considerable real estate tax revenue from the approved development. If the D.C. Council fails to consider this information before reversing the 2003 legislation, it could expose the D.C. government to huge litigation costs.

This new amendment would hinder access by D.C. police and Fire and Emergency Medical Services workers to properties at either end of Klingle Road because the proposed hike-bike path would be extended to parts of Klingle Road that are currently open and being used as a road by homeowners and the Washington International School. The amendment would eliminate the egress driveway for the Washington International School, where many cars exit daily, in addition to blocking two homes and another property. On the west side, should the hike-bike path continue to Porter Street NW, as proposed, it would eliminate road access for seven homes built on Klingle Road.

Klingle Road was meant to provide access and to unite the city. At least half of Klingle Road lies in Ward 1. It is also accessible to and used by residents of Wards 4 and 5. Many residents of Wards 2 and 3 use Klingle Road to connect with Mount Pleasant, Washington Hospital Center and other destinations east of Connecticut Avenue. The struggle for home rule was not meant to result in a D.C. Council that divides us, but to look at the transportation needs of all D.C. residents so that we are One City.

Is a small, neighborhood-exclusive, hike-bike path worth all of these extreme costs? The D.C. Council should take a deep breath and pull this amendment for closer scrutiny of its consequences.

-- Laurie Collins

The writer is director of the Coalition to Repair and Reopen Klingle Road.



For additional information, please email support@friendsofklingleroad.org


For additional information, please email support@repairklingleroad.org