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Mayor Submits Resolution to Close Klingle Road

By Elizabeth Wiener, Staff Writer
Copyright, The Northwest Current
January 1, 2003

Mayor Anthony Williams has formally asked the DC Council to ratify his controversial plan to close Klingle Road permanently to automobile traffic, reserving the seven-tenths-of-a-mile stretch through Rock Creek Park for pedestrians, cyclists and emergency vehicles. 

A resolution submitted to the Council December 19 also promises a hydrology study to find ways to repair longstanding drainage and storm water problems in Klingle Valley, and an "East/West Transportation Study" to investigate other ways to get traffic across town.

The battle over Klingle Road has raged for several years and probably won't stop even after the council votes on the resolution, which is expected to occur in the first half of 2003.

Those who want to reopen Klingle to cars claim that the winding stretch of road is a vital east-west link and that its closure since 1991 has clogged neighborhood streets and helped divide the city.

Supporters of returning the road to parkland say it would be too expensive and environmentally unsound to repave a narrow path following a fragile stream valley.

But the resolution essentially repeats the stand Williams announced a year ago.  Citing "exhaustive review" of seven alternative plans for the road--including a two-lane highway--it simply seeks approval of the Klingle Road Use Plan that would repair water problems but keep the road closed to cars.

Council approval will allow the city to begin work on drainage problems sooner, Williams said in a cover letter.

Because the resolution was submitted shortly before the end of the council's 2002 session, it must be reintroduced next year in order for the Council to act.  Aides say they expect hearings in late January or early February, to allow a full 30 days for public notice.  Council members have been split on the fate of Klingle, and the outcome of their vote is uncertain.  

In the resolution, Williams also promises an environmental assessment before any work on the roadway begins, providing more opportunity for public comment.

For additional information, please email support@repairklingleroad.org