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
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
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