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and Public Safety
By Juan Mendez
The Berger Group spent two years and
$250,000 preparing the Klingle Road Feasibility Study, yet did not
consult public safety officials. Since the Study's release, numerous
public safety organizations support restoring Klingle Road, including DC
Fire Battalions 4 and 5. First Responders and career firefighters such
as Battalion Chiefs Johnson and Drumming, Captain Jeffery, Lt. Conway,
Deputy Fire Chief Mauer, and Assistant Fire Chief Thompson informed
Chief Few that Klingle Road access is needed to fight brush fires in the
valley, basement fires in bordering apartment buildings, and fires under
the Taft Bridge.
Chief Few initially backed his rank and file, then bowed to political
pressure from the Mayor and abandoned his troops in favor of the Study's
unsubstantiated conclusions, which Few's officers refute. Not only would
Engines 21 and 28 from Battalions 4 and 5 use Klingle Road, EMS
ambulances also would use Klingle Road 24/7, a way around Cleveland Park
traffic, and the most direct route between the many homes and schools in
Woodley Park and the Washington Hospital Center.
Why are we playing politics with public safety and emergency
preparedness? And for what? So that we taxpayers can spend $2M on a
half-mile jogging path in a lonely, secluded valley for the Klingle
Valley Few? For my money, let's fix the road, put back our street lights
and build a sidewalk. We'd all be that much safer.