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Should Be Leading Effort to Repair Klingle Road
By Paul McKenzie
It's hard to swallow At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson's claim that
he truly represents the interests of our entire city. His most recent
"flip-flop" decision on Klingle Road is case in point and only
serves to fuel a "nimbyism" attitude in some locations west of
the park. This is one of the reasons we see division in this city.
Recent press reports indicate a substantial number of people in
Washington feel the city is headed in the wrong direction. We suffer
from a lack of citywide leadership in this case.
Mendelson's flip-flops on the issue of repairing Klingle Road are a case
in point. His suggestion to repair Klingle Road so it could support
emergency equipment, if needed, but not allow DC residents to drive on
this public road is blatantly wrong. Small groups of people benefit,
while the rest of us are forced to pay for the road repair, wait longer
to cycle through stoplights, and sit in idling cars that create more
pollution. Is this fair? Is it sensible? If the city has to build a road
for utility and emergency vehicles, in order to not lose the right of
way, it must be engineered to accommodate heavy equipment vehicles,
utility repair vehicles, and fire and emergency vehicles. Without doubt,
an average car would be able to use the road as well. There is no
logical reason to deny access to the driving public. And to top it all
off, this heavy utility/emergency vehicle option would not cost less!
So, along comes a single interest group that wants to close a public
road. It advocates for essentially one small residential area, taking a
narrow position solely in its own interest, to the detriment of the rest
of the city. What is most distressing about their communications is how
they play fast and loose with the facts on this road closing, i.e.,
traffic issues, pollution, home land security and safety in the park. As
always, we need forthrightness from our politicians, complete airing and
understanding of the facts, and honest discussion, not fiction, for the
greater good of all Washington's citizens. Our elected representatives
should not cater to a few in this case who complain about "trucks
lumbering" down their street. Oh, wouldn't we all, at times, like
to close the public street in front of our house? But we can't because a
road closing in one place only serves to move traffic to another place.
Our representatives should look at the big picture. A well-planned
street grid serves to distribute vehicle traffic across all roads. The
roads belong to everyone, resident or visitor. We all share the
responsibility for making this city work for bikers, drivers, bus
riders, pedestrians and all types of emergency vehicles. Klingle Road is
an integral part of Washington's historic street grid and must be
restored. Klingle Road needs to be repaired.