Open Roads To Success
District's public libraries are under assault. As operational costs and
inflation rise, the library system was allocated $200,000 less last year
to operate. Factor in an additional $587,000 cut due to an overall city
budget deficit and it is easy to understand why officials were pushed
into closing branch libraries one day a week, beginning next month.
This desperate action translates into fewer hours for our
children to spend time in a public library, working on homework and
getting help. Across the city fewer children and older citizens will
have the benefit of the vast body of knowledge contained in each of
these wonderful public institutions. In Washington, libraries help
bridge the "digital divide" for many Black residents who lack Internet
access. Thus, the reduction in library hours can only mean weakening a
critical informational and educational link.
Now turn the page to how city leaders treat the issue of
closing Klingle Road. The District's transportation department is waging
an aggressive and expensive campaign to close a vital public road that
connects neighborhoods divided by Rock Creek Park's huge expanse.
Officials want to spend significant amounts of money to restrict
vehicular access and turn Klingle into a bike trail. Yes, a bike trail.
This is in addition to vast amounts already wasted studying the road and
The Klingle Road dispute has been pushed to the forefront
by what appears to be the backroom dealings of a few influential people
who live near the road in Woodley Park. They want to see Klingle closed
in a transparent attempt to protect their property values. Perhaps
hidden in the controversy is that some along the park's west side wish
to turn their area into an exclusive community, where folks from other
parts of Washington are just not welcome.
Recently, six City Council members, led by Council
President Linda Cropp and Councilwoman Carol Schwartz, have introduced
legislation designed to restore Klingle to its historic use as a
cross-park connector. We support this effort and believe it is beyond
time to repair and reopen Klingle for its intended use - as a public
thoroughfare open to all.
Spending money to close Klingle Road and not spending
enough for public libraries illustrate poor choices. Access to
Washington's roads and libraries deserves greater support from city
officials. They were elected to protect transportation and education,
two fundamental engines of economic prosperity and social equality. They
must focus dwindling resources on basic services, like keeping precious
libraries and streets open to all, instead of wasting money on the
costly political whims of a privileged few.