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Klingle to Stay Closed

The D.C. Council just rejected Council member Jim Graham's efforts to restore $2 million in funding in the budget that would have reopened Klingle Road, the controversial path through Rock Creek Park that has been up for debate for 17 years. The vote was 10 to 3. Graham (D-Ward 1) was joined by members Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Carol Schwartz (R-At Large).

All said they were concerned about protecting the environment but believed opening Klingle Road would relieve traffic, along with other benefits.

But they were obviously outnumbered. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) said the council had the "chance to reclaim parkland."

Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) said, "Klingle Road is a historical accident."

As if giving a lesson, Cheh noted that inventor Alexander Graham Bell carved the path because he wanted a shorter trip when visiting his girlfriend. There were no cars at that time, she noted.

Just before the council voted, Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) offered some perspective on the 17-year fight over the path that stretches less than a mile. He said most District residents "wouldn't be able to find Klingle Road if you put a gun to their head."

No disrespect to advocates on both sides, he said, but "we have more serious challenges in this city than this tiny road."

By Nikita R Stewart  |  May 13, 2008; 11:52 AM ET
Categories:  Budget  
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Comments

I was thinking about this bitter comment that people are still hammering Obama on....why is it that when Senator Clinton made those comments to ABC about hard-working Americans, white Americans, and wrote those off as a poor choice of words it was accepted as such. However, when Senator Obama used "bitter" instead of "angry/frustrated" and "cling" instead of "rely on", Senator Clinton pounced on them and labeled him as an elitist. Senator Obama's poor choice of words no more make him an elitist who looks down on small-town people than Senator Clinton's make her a racist who looks down on African Americans (which both their RECORDS indicate clearly otherwise).

Posted by: SMS | May 13, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

What road isn't "an historical accident"? Most of Boston is roads that used to be cow paths.

Anyway, it seems that saying it will "stay closed" really means "stay closed . . . for now", since the DC council and everyone else seems to go back and forth on this pretty regularly.

Posted by: ah | May 13, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully the funding to tear out the old blacktop and turn this into a real hiking trail is still in place. Yay dirt! :)

Posted by: AvocadoInParadise | May 13, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Yet another way that this ain't Boston. And that road was perhaps better said, an accident waiting to happen (again). Let's use the $2 million for something that we really need such as rent supplement vouchers.

Posted by: Capitol Hill | May 13, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

DIE YUPPIE SCUM AND TAKE YOUR BAGUETTES WITH YOU TO THE OPEN PARKLANDS OF PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY! YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO HIRE AMERICAN KIDS OUT THERE TO CUT YOUR LAWN, BUT AT LEAST THEY'LL BE AWAY FROM THEIR PLAYSTATIONS! YEEEAAAAGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!

Posted by: Heen! | May 13, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Once again, ignorance is bliss. This road is a vital link for those on the east side of Rock Creek Park to access health care and other essential services. This is not about "saving the environment" - this is about keeping the black man out of elitist Cleveland Park. Even if all the cars to cross Klingle Road were Suburbans and not Priuses, opening the road will save gas and lower air pollution from congestion and idling cars (both cross traffic and traffic on Connecticut Ave).

Posted by: SS | May 13, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

A few rich people have had this closed long enough OPEN THE ROAD.

Posted by: s.w.robison | May 13, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the rich folk in Cleveland Park got out their checkbooks and lined the pockets of the Council. And couldn't law professor Mary Cheh come up with a more plausible reason then Alexander Graham Bell? What a pathetic excuse for a politician that lady is.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | May 13, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the rich folk in Cleveland Park got out their checkbooks and lined the pockets of the Council. And couldn't law professor Mary Cheh come up with a more plausible reason then Alexander Graham Bell? What a pathetic excuse for a politician that lady is.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | May 13, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the rich folk in Cleveland Park got out their checkbooks and lined the pockets of the Council. And couldn't law professor Mary Cheh come up with a more plausible reason then Alexander Graham Bell? What a pathetic excuse for a politician that lady is.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | May 13, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the Council can get the $2m for a bike path by raising the tax assessments of the 30 or so property owners nearby who benefit the most from this.

Posted by: ah | May 13, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I live in Eastern Market and I wrote to my council member to oppose re-opening Klingle Road, so, please, enough with the ridiculous assertion that only a handful of people near Rock Creek Park want to road to remain closed.

More roads means more cars. More cars means more traffic, more pollution, more accidents. There are good reasons for everyone top want this road to stay closed, and a lot of better ways to spend $7 million.

Posted by: Drew | May 13, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so Pennsylvania avenue is closed to through traffic, and Klingle is closed. Why not just shut down all roads and have everybody in DC walk? Gee, wouldn't that be earth friendly? The council shouldn't make it so obvious that the home owners along Klingle Rd. are lining their pockets.

Posted by: cambel | May 13, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

David Catania stated a fitting epitaph to this "end of the road" discussion. Rich folks in Cleveland Park? Give me a break. The backing of the park initiative was SOLID, LONG TIME ENVIRONMENTALISTS with UNINPEACHABLE credentials. The road proponents have been grossly overstating the importance of the road, and the Council wisely disregarded the [never met a road they didn't like] Wash Post opinion. Kudos to all the council members who saw through the nonsense touted as fact by the roadies. If there was such a huge dark conspiracy, how was it that the roadies won the first round of this? You can't have it both ways.

In a recent Loose Lips article, Laurie Collins, longtime road fanatic said: 'Get over it, move on, find something else to invest your time in. Save something actually worth saving....We went through a fair and democratic process, and we won. Take your little balls and jacks and go home.'"

Great advice Laurie.

Posted by: Soccer Mom | May 13, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Great Idea Cambel! Let's close the roads adn make DC a car-free zone!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Lets be clear on a few things here- (1) Klingle is not equivalent to other roads, so saying that Klingle should be closed is not equivalent to closing other roads. This portion of Klingle is prone to flooding, and has been since it was built. As such, it is a waste of DC taxpayer money to spend so much for so little road, particularly when many other roads in good drainage areas need work. (2) The rebuild of Klingle failed to pass EIS muster, and therefore can not get federal funding, like other roads. This point has been clear from the beginning, hence Mayor Fenty's attempt to push the project through entirely with DC tax money. (3) It is not a few rich people who want to keep this boondoggle closed. Several groups on both sides of the park have come out against reopening it, including the ANC from Mt Pleasant. Furthermore, Ward 1 has changed significantly in 17 years, such that the residents there need much less goods and services from west of the park. (4) This represents a rare opportunity to reclaim some park land, while doing the right thing environmentally. Why not take it? Finally, (5) There are a handful of good east-west roads crossing the park, all of them close to Klingle. Park & Porter is a mere 1/8 mile away from Klingle to the north, and Calvert a mere 3/5 of a mile to the south. Is all of DC to pay a final cost of over $12 million so a few thousand people (the estimates of traffic from the Berger Report) can save the time to drive 1/8 of a mile? The 2 million was only to "jumpstart" the process- the final price tag was several times higher.

As the Council noted- DC has more serious issues to spend money on. Lets drop this financial and environmental boondoggle, and move on.

Posted by: CommonCents | May 14, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Even I, who love a good Park drive, and miss Klingle Road's dip and folliage overhang, have got to admit that:

a)it did flood out - remember that?
b)it's not like the city is rolling in the dough, y'know?
and the biggest one-
c) IT'S BEEN 17 YEARS, OK!!!???
Seriously. They are called Porter, Tilden, and Calvert. LEARN THEM, OK?!!??!!

I mean geez, already....

Posted by: takoma620 | May 15, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

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