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This trail was sold to the City Council as costing $2 million and cheaper than the road and it is now $12 million and not cheaper than a road. The road has been used for over 100 years and it is needed as a connector route across the park as there are few roads that cross the park. Over 3000 cars used the road daily when it was open and you will not have 3000 bikers on any day unless you STAGE an event. Bike paths pollute when they force traffic off roads and onto already crowded roads leaving idyling cars at traffic lights. Klingle is the middle of an existing ROAD that is used daily and $12 million for a bike path no one needs in this area is a waste of bike money. When you spend tax dollars on projects that make no sense you deminision you efforts on getting funds for worthwhile projects.

So if I understand the anti-trail argument, it's: "Opening a road that has been closed for 22 years is vital to maintaining current traffic flow through the city. Building a trail on this road that has been closed for 22 years also will impede a few residents' ability to drive into the park (?). ZOMFG, what will we do if we can't drive on this road that has been closed for 22 years!1!!"

Is that basically the gist?

@Bob:
This trail was sold to the City Council as costing $2 million and cheaper than the road and it is now $12 million and not cheaper than a road.
Wrong - the trail costs $4-6 million and the road would cost $10 million. Go to the site and read the cost estimates:
http://www.klingletrail.com/EA.asp

The road has been used for over 100 years and it is needed as a connector route across the park as there are few roads that cross the park.
The road has been closed for over 20 years. All of the arguments act like building this trail will have harmful traffic impacts - hint the impacts are ALREADY in effect. So get over it.

No, the gist of the argument is that 22 years there has been additional pollution and traffic congestion due to the road closing. Rebuilding the road will improve the flow of cars more effectively than the reductions in traffic from people switching from cars to bikes due to building the trail.

This in theory reduces the pollution due to excess idling; however, if the ease of driving results in more trips taken, this could increase the net amount of pollution.

It is a potentially valid arguement to say that it's better to distribute traffic in the Park, so that the pollution impact at any one point is lower, perhaps below some kind of threshold at which natural systems can absorb it without degradation.

I suspect it's better to concentrate them so that we can better and more efficiently engineer mitigating systems and/or limit the extent of environmental degradation. I think the Park's ecosystem is already stressed and degraded in many, if not most, areas.

The way the road was closed was essentially demolitionby neglect during the Dixon and Barry mayoralties, which has always bothered me. Acceding to arguments to keep it closed seemed to say it was OK for the city to practice what it discourages among private property owners. But better a traíl than nothing at this late date...

The $4 to $6 million figure for a bike trail is outdated it is $12 million for a bike trail. For 22 years the city has not rebuilt a road and fallen down on their duties that does not make their neglect the right way to use the land and spend tax money. This land is 3 blocks in the middle of a road and not a necessary bike trail. Cheh said it was not meant to be a commuter bike route. So now the city is ready to spend the money it would be a better road for $10 million than a neighborhood $12 million trail. Long term use of the land is the concern and a road is the best use in this area. This is the first time the city has closed a road with legislation and turned it into a recreational trail.

Bob and evee, I don't believe that you have a lick of evidence proving your environmental claims. But I would like to point out this on the subject:

"“There’s this pervasive mythology that our pollution problems are chiefly caused by people having to idle in traffic,” he continued. “There’s no evidence for that, and the evidence there is suggests that if you reduce congestion, people actually drive further, and that more than offsets the benefits of less idling.”

In addition, Williams-Derry pointed out that not all congestion is stop-and-go traffic. Congestion that consists merely of slower but smoothly flowing traffic actually improves air quality, since cars work more efficiently at slower speeds. "

Gotta call BS on the relevance of: "Williams-Derry pointed out that not all congestion is stop-and-go traffic. Congestion that consists merely of slower but smoothly flowing traffic actually improves air quality, since cars work more efficiently at slower speeds." That may be true as highway speeds drop from 60 to 35, say, but not from smooth flow at 30 to, say, 10. Cars have different gears for the same reason as bicycles. Driving smoothly at 10mph puts you into a gear that does not optimize fuel consumption. On a bicycle, what steady speed do you think minimizes your energy expenditure per mile? On flat ground, I highly doubt it is less than 5 mph.

@Bob
The $4 to $6 million figure for a bike trail is outdated it is $12 million for a bike trail.

Where is this number? I pointed to the document, which is the 20-month-old EA, which says $4-6 million. If you have another source which says otherwise feel free to link to it. And you can't compare a new number for the trail to an old number for the road - there is no universe in which the road is cheaper than the trail. It's not possible.

It may have been demolition by neglect but trying to prop up a road that is continually going to be washed into the creek just so people can save 3 minutes on their commute is not a good use of tax $.

It's ironic that their claim best supported by the facts, that cross-Park auto traffic is impaired without Klingle Road, is also the element least consistent with the Park's charter.

washcycle, I find it amusing that you claim that I have no evidence when in the next paragraph you make the exact same claim I did. “…if you reduce congestion, people actually drive further, and that more than offsets the benefits of less idling” is pretty much what I said in my second paragraph.

However, the real point I was aiming for was about the length of the closure not having any bearing on the pollution impact. It doesn’t matter if the road never existed, has been closed for a year, or has been closed for 22 years—the air pollution issue boils down to “Going forward, should we build a road or a bike trail here.”

eevee, I think you need to re-read what we wrote.

You claimed that the loss of the road increased congestion which caused more pollution. Or that reduced congestion leads to reduced pollution

I quoted someone saying that reduced congestion leads to more pollution. Which is the opposite of what you claimed.

Going forward, should we build a road or a bike trail here.

That question is settled. We have, through the democratic process, decided on a bike trail.

What congestion would a new road alleviate? I lived in Cleveland Park a couple of years ago and honestly, traffic was never particularly bad on that section of Connecticut, from Dupont up to Van Ness. Really, it was more because of the amount of stop lights than the number of cars. Traffic doesn't really start to get "congested" until further up past Van Ness and even then, it's not terrible. And the cross-park routes (Tilden and Porter) certainly don't experience anything I'd label as congestion, even with those commuters that are jumping from Connecticut to 16th or RCP. And if all three major north-south routes are jammed, adding in one more feeder road is only going to do two things, jack and shit.

ahhh the Klingle debacle.

Trail cost of 4-6 million, road cost of 8-10 but the funniest part the trail supporters never admit is the the infrastructure, the drainage, retaining wall and base work is precisely the same between the two, and costs the same.

People like to think they are "getting something" back but they aren't, Rock Creek will have the same footprint with a trail as it did with a road.

The road was trafficked by 3000 vehicles per day prior to closure. It is used by less than 120 cyclists per day (according to the counts), and those counts we're done on a warm fall Saturday when bike traffic is obviously higher.

The million vehicles a year that were using it to cross the park are now crossing at Porter and Calvert. Despite the subjective claims of someone who lived in the area for 2 years, I as a resident of Cleveland Park since before the closure can attest that the million cars now filtering their way through the sidestreets between Porter and Calvert have indeed made it a cluster F. Traffics on Porter waiting to cross Connecicut east bound is frequently backed up the hill to the red light halfway to 34th. That was never the case prior to closure.

It has only worsened over the past decade as dc has added population for the first time in 50 years and Columbia heights population has skyrocketed.

It was and act of Congress to make it a park "for the preservation from injury or spoliation of all timber, animals, or curiosities within said park, and their retention in their natural condition, as nearly as possible". So, here we are. A park it is, not a ribbon of green around a commuter thoroughfare.

the funniest part the trail supporters never admit is the the infrastructure, the drainage, retaining wall and base work is precisely the same

Well, primarily that is because it is not true. The trail itself will not be as intensive or as wide as the road.

It is used by less than 120 cyclists per day (according to the counts), and those counts we're done on a warm fall Saturday

What are you talking about? What counts? Where?

That was never the case prior to closure.

And certainly the absence of the road is the ONLY variable that exists between 1991 and today. Oh wait, no...as you point out "It has only worsened over the past decade as dc has added population." Perhaps that's the cause of any differences you've noticed?

Quoted from the Sierra Club website, "Though once pegged at around $1 million, the costs of building the trail (mandated by a City Council mandate in 2008) has now ballooned to approximately $12 million."

What a shame. Let's hope that the city doesn't spend $12M for a neighborhood dog walk.

There were only 3000 daily trips on Klingle when it closed? That doesn't sound like a lot... one-lane R Street in front of my house manages to handle more than 10,000 trips a day.

Anyway, there are only 11,000 trips on Porter (which is actually less than it was a few years ago) and 13/14,000 on Calvert... that's a bit less than a million, I think.

Anon, that number is not official - and as you left out - was reportedly related to sewer reconstruction which would be needed for the road too. So if a road were being built, it's cost would have ballooned as well.

The trail portion of the project hasn't increased in cost.

Right, road or trail the infrastructure needs to be built to accommodate 12-foot wide trucks from Pepco, WASA, etc., so in essence a road will be built.

For that money, it should be opened to everyone, including cars or it should sit and rot like it has been.

Like I said, the city would be foolish to spend $12M for a neighborhood dog walk.

Most of the multi-use trails in the area accomodate the occasional utility truck and work truck. That doesn't mean they are built (a) wide enough for two-way traffic or (b) with the thick base and durability to withstand daily pounding from thousands of multi-ton vehicles. It may look a bit like a road, and in a pinch you could drive on it, but it would assuredly not be as expensive or expansive as one.

Actually Crikey7 there will be a standard road built because of the utilities that they need to protect underneath and for the need for 12-foot wide large trucks to come through, service the utilities and be able to turn around. That was covered in the feasibility study. I think that's what makes the road people very upset and rightfully so.

For me, I don't want to see this city spend $12M for a neighborhood dog walk. You get more bang for the buck if you "share" the road.

As to the "democratic process" washcycle, there was no democratic process. The DC Council decided 8-5 to repair Klingle Road; then ramrodded by CM Cheh without any public meeting before the Council.

I predict nothing will happen to that road. It will sit and rot another 20 years until we get find sensible people in our government who will finally realize that our city is pure gridlock and they won't be bought by the wealthy in Cleveland Park who just don't want traffic running through their neighborhood.

It's as simple as that.

There are no 12' wide trucks on the streets of DC. Maximum legal width is 8'8".

I'll buy they wanted to make the trail 12' instead of a more normal 10' to accommodate trucks. The norm in DC is for at least one lane on every road to be 12' or more. An 8'8" vehicle in a 12' lane is a pretty tight squeeze.

I don't want to see this city spend $12M for a neighborhood dog walk.

Ok, well now you're being intellectually dishonest.

You know full well that the total cost is for far more than the trail. It includes stormwater management improvements, utility improvements, a retaining wall, landscaping and the Klingle Creek Restortation. The trail is only about $3M of the total cost - and all the overruns that bring it to $12M (if that is even the case) are unrelated to the trail.

You aslso know that this is more than a dog walk. It is a multi-use trail, just like the Capital Crescent Trail. Go down there and ask people how they like their dog walk and they'll look at you like you're insane.

So if you want to talk about this, let's be adult and talk about the truth. If you want to spin and lie then we're done. I don't have time for that crap. And what you're doing right now is lying.

there was no democratic process.

Cheh offered an amendment in committee and that was voted on and passed (Democracy!).

Then CM Graham tried, after a hearing in which trail supporters outnumbered road supporters, to have the amendment removed. That failed 10-3 (Democracy!).

So, that too, is a gross misrepresentation.

Look, I don't know who you think you're convincing, but, in general, people don't put a lot of weight into the ramblings of an anonymous liar on the internet. You're going to have to get Harry Reid to start repeating it at the very minimum.

The democract process would have called for a public hearing on Cheh's amendment to the budget support act. Cheh refused to have a hearing. The amendment moved on to be part of a budget that got voted up or down but not a line item vote. Without a hearing before any vote there is no democracy. The land is not part of Rock Creek Park-one side of the road is land owned by NPS and the other side the land is privately owned. This land was given to the city for a road forever under a land grant it was never given to Rock Creek Park. The Sierra Club and other non-road groups claim it is part of Rock Creek Park but if you read the EA it states it is not part of Rock Creek Park. If it were part of Rock Creek Park the park would be responsible for building the road or trail. The majority of people using the land everyday are dog walkers who live in the area and do not clean up after their dogs. If the city spends $12 million tax dollars and ends up with a trail then that is the cost of the trail. The city never offered to repair the infrastructure and stop so there is no seperating out the costs between infrastructure and top layer.

Wow, those some heavy accusations washcycle, "intellectually dishonest, liar"? It appears you don't like to have people post here that disagree with you?

Anyway, as Bob said, "without any hearing before any vote there is no democracy." Which even you agreed it stayed in Committee and never left.....

And as Bob said, "If the city spends $12M tax dollars and ends up with a trail, then that is the cost of the trail."

If you know the history behind all of this, you will know that it is about people who don't want traffic thru their neighborhood. It's about people who have the money to fuel groups like the Sierra Club to do their fighting for them.

That's no spin.


Does anyone know what the next steps will be? I am looking forward to using this trail. Does DC need to come up with a design or has that been done? Any sense of time frame?

So as I understand it, one side is park and one side is not. The roadbed itself is a public road owned by the District of Columbia. That situation is not unique in Rock Creek Park, yet the Park Service still exercises the authority to close portions that include that type of arrangement, on weekends.

Putting aside whether all forms of democracy were observed and whether requiring installation of facilities not strictly related to the needs of a trail are properly considered as part of the trail cost, it would appear that the courts have determined this action is not to be overturned.

The democract process would have called for a public hearing on Cheh's amendment to the budget support act.

It would have or it did? Because if it didn't now, then why would it? And if it did, then are you saying that someone violated the law?

Here's how democracy works. You elect people to make laws and they make laws; or the people themself make laws through direct vote. It seems you want to lay some super-democracy over top of this that requires some sort of hearing, even though it is not required. Was it within Cheh's right to not have a hearing? If so, then what you're complaining about is how democracy worked in this case. If not, then show me the law or rule she broke.

And didn't Graham have a hearing? How did that work out for you? Do you think a hearing would have changed anything. Were you one hearing away from getting your way?

Without a hearing before any vote there is no democracy.

That's ridiculous, and you know it.

If the city spends $12 million tax dollars and ends up with a trail then that is the cost of the trail.

But they won't end up with just a trail. They'll also have streambed restortation, improved stormwater management, improved utilites, etc... So the natural elseif to your if, is that if the city spends $12 million tax dollars and ends up with more than a trail than that is the cost of all of those things, part of which is the trail.

"intellectually dishonest, liar"?

I calls them like I see them.

It appears you don't like to have people post here that disagree with you?

Disagree with? I'm fine with that. BS? I don't care for that.

"without any hearing before any vote there is no democracy."

That's now how the council works. Is it your position that the DC Council is not democratic? What kind of government is it?


"If the city spends $12M tax dollars and ends up with a trail, then that is the cost of the trail."

See my response above. But his premise is flawed. And you both know it.

If you know the history behind all of this, you will know that it is about people who don't want traffic thru their neighborhood. It's about people who have the money to fuel groups like the Sierra Club to do their fighting for them.

That's fine, but when you have to lie to make your case, you're admitting that you don't have a very strong case to make.

There you go again calling me a liar. I did not lie, nor am I stating any "case" as you suggest.

There was no public hearing. That is not a lie. That is a fact regardless of how you spin it.

The trail will cost approximately, and in the ballpark of, $12M. That is a fact that even the Sierra Club backs up. That is not a lie. That is a current fact at the moment, because in order to get the bike trail, one must repair the entire infrastructure.

And like I said, and this is my opinion and not fact or "BS", that trail will probably never be built.

I did not lie

So then, you believe that this is just a "dog walk"?

The trail will cost approximately, and in the ballpark of, $12M. That is a fact

No it is not a fact. First of all that is a number based on one account by a person I don't know. When DDOT officially states a price - then it will be a fact. In addition, it is the cost of the entire project, and includes several elements that need to be done INDEPENDENT of the trail. Without a trail, stormwater management improvements, utility improvements and the Klingle Creek restortation - at a minimum - will be needed. How is the Creek restoration required to get the trail?

YOU SAID: "First of all that is a number based on one account by a person I don't know. "

ME: Oh you don't know the Sierra Club, DDOT Director Bellamy, CM Cheh? Because that is what the Sierra Club reported when they sat in a meeting with them.

Without a new infrastructure that will hold vehicles, and $12M of taxpayers money, there will be NO TRAIL.

The history of the costs related to Klingle is the bike advocates kept all the infrastructure costs and put them on the road building side of the conversation and equation. The City Council was told the bike trail was $2 million and cheaper way to go and at one time the City Council was told by Sierra Club the road would cost $20 million. Both of these claims were not accurate but no bike advocate owned up to the infrastructure costs in the past. The only way the figures go this far apart is by having the bike trail not responsible for any of the infrastructure costs. So the bike trail can now take all the infrastructure costs and claim them as their own. Sierra Club reported a meeting with Cheh and Ddot this summer when the present costs of building Klingle were recalculated to be $12 million. Cheh and Sierra Club said the money is not in the budget and they will have to try and find the funds for the building project. As the design phase goes forward you can expect the costs will rise.

Anon, that is one source - the Sierra Club. That is what they say that Bellamy said. That is not three sources as you imply. Nor is that the official DDOT number at this point.

Without a new infrastructure that will hold vehicles, and $12M of taxpayers money, there will be NO TRAIL.

That's not true. In fact, the stream bed restoration work will only be done AFTER the trail is built, because they don't want trail work to foul up the stream bed. So clearly that work is not needed to build the trail.

Bob,

Let's say the District decided not to build a trail or a road. Would that cost $0? Only if they wanted to let the old road wash away into the stream and contaminate the soil. Only if they didn't want to repair the stream bed. Only if they didn't want to improve storm water management off of the neighboring properties.

Of course, that isn't even an option since DC Water has said they need a facility on which they can drive their trucks occasionally to service the water line there (in the agency comments section of the EA).

Being generous, you could claim the trail costs $4.1M which is the cost of the trail itself, the retaining wall, landscaping, the contingency fee, engineering and design and lighting. But as I said, DC has to build something there. The driver is not the trail, but DC Water and the sewer encasement. Which means the retaining wall, landscaping, the contingency fee, and engineering and design are expenses that will be incurred trail or no trail.

What you're saying makes no sense. It's like saying a new set of tires costs $20,000 because that's how much the car they come on cost. You can't use the whole price of the project and claim it is only paying for one part.

Anyone who reads the EA can see that the cost of adding a trail to this project is a little over $1M. Adding a road would cost much more. You can win this argument by proving that the value of the road would also be much more - but you aren't even trying to make that case.

The stream remediation retaining walls etc will not be done by themselves but part of the whole project. If there is not enough money for the whole project it will not even be started so nothing will be built or repaired. The project requires tearing up all existing surfaces and underbelly and a complete rebuild. This is why the project is not priced in pieces or segments but as a whole. The retaining walls will be built with the trail not after the trail exists. You are reading the EA incorrectly.

No Bob, you read my email incorrectly. I never claimed that the retaining wall would be built after the trail. I said the stream bed restoration would be done after the trail is built.

The reason the project is priced together is because doing it all together makes the most sense. But there is no reason that each piece couldn't be done separately. It would just be incredibly stupid and wasteful to do so. It is like the streetcar tracks on H Street. Doing them with the road rebuild made sense, but it could have been two pieces.

These kinds of ridiculous claims are what I'm referring to when I talk about intellectual dishonesty.

Personally washcycle, I write on this blog as anon for a reason, not for you, with all your arrogance and access to reveal me. Is this the type of site you run? I know of no other website/blog in this city that would "reveal" an anon poster. You are a prick. So let's see how long my post stays up.

Anon, so you may not find this funny, but it actually is. I didn't reveal you on purpose, and couldn't have because until your most recent comment, I didn't know.

What happened was I was looking for information about this issue and went to another blog. I read the comments and one of the people involved had the name I wrote above, and without realizing it, I must've used that name in my comment. I guess you have such a consistent voice that my subconscious figured it out.

But you used an anonymous handle and an email with a different name than the one I used above, so I don't know how I would've known who you are.

So, not knowing who you were, I accidentally used a name other than the only one I knew you by, and that happened to be your actual name.

I've fixed it above.

I am confused. Bob and others, do you think that it would be cheaper to build a road, rather than a trail, through Klingle Valley? I don't understand how that can be. If so, are you assuming that the existing road can be patched, or are you assuming that the City would have to rip out the existing road and build a new one in its place. I would think that building a new road would almost always be more expensive than building a trail, and that is where I am confused.

It's also possible that I've misunderstood your arguments and that you don't think that a road would be cheaper but just think that the trail advocates underestimated the cost of the trail (with or without stream control, etc.).

Are you claiming that a road would be cheaper? If so, how? Thank you.

BTW, my real name is yahoo.com.


"The costs now expected for the trail are about five times higher than those discussed four years ago, when the council reversed a 2003 vote to rebuild the road." - Debonis Wash Post - yesterday.

Well, it looks like Washcycle is indeed wrong, or Debonis is just a lying, car loving know nothing.

This trail has been one long steady lie and false assumption after another and now costs the same ( within the margin of error) as it would cost to put the road back in for everyone to use, rather than a handful of cyclist on nice weather days.


Anony, in order to determine if I'm wrong, I need to know which statement of mine you think Debonis is contradicting.

But I will say that Debonis made a couple of mistakes.
1) He phrased this wrong, making the mistake that pro-road people promote. He conflated the trail with the whole project. The whole project has gone up in cost since first proposed in 2003, mainly because it will now do more (stream restoration, utility improvements etc...) but also because they underestimated how much the other items will cost. The Berger report had the stormwater repairs coming in at less than $1M. That is now shown to be far off the mark.

2) Debonis made the mistake of thinking that because $2M was budgeted for the Klingle project that someone said of thought that that was all it would cost. That is not the case. That is just the money budgeted for the project in 2003. No one claims that that is all it would cost. He reads this blog, hopefully he'll read this comment and correct these items.

now costs the same ( within the margin of error) as it would cost to put the road back in for everyone to use

That's a ridiculous proposition. Most of the cost of this project is for the not-trail items that need to be done anyway - leaving only $1-2M for the trail. In 1999 Berger thought it would take $4M to build the road, and in 2008 that was $11M. So I don't know what you think you're talking about. But the more you say things that are so founded in fallacy, the more you undermine your own position. So keep going.

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