In November of 2011, opponents of the Klingle Trail filed suit in DC District Court to declare the Klingle Trail project unlawful and to prohibit the FHWA from funding it and DDOT from constructing it. In 2012 the various defendents asked that the case be dismissed because the plantiffs lacked standing to sue. The court agreed and the case has been dismissed.
Plaintiffs argued that the removal of the road and installation of the trail would impair their ability to use, enjoy and appreciate Rock Creek Park, the streams and scenary and that, for example, one senior with mobility issues would be denied access to this right of way. They also argued that the trail will increase traffic congestion on nearby streets leading to greater pollution, exposing them to unnecessary toxins and contaminate the water. It would also decrease connectivity in the area.
As a result, the critical question is whether it is action by these Defendants - as opposed to actions by others - that have caused these harms. And the answer is quite simple: Of course not. The D.C. Council, rather than any of these Defendants, closed Klingle Road.
Judge James E. Boasburg goes on to point out that the injuries described have nothing to do with the trail, and so there is no standing to stop the trail because it won't remedy these injuries. He never addresses whether these injuries are real.
I can't possibly see how closing this road impairs their ability to use the Park. You can still get to it, even if disabled, with a very minor detour. Or, of course, they can use the trail to get into the Park. Are they really arguing that everyone should have a road to the Park that is as short as possible?
And then the pollution claim is really nuts. Somehow the trail is causing more pollution than a road? That is a bold assertion.
They have a point about being less connected, sort of. It is harder to drive to and from certain places without the road. But it is easier to walk and bike to them with the trail. In net, that is probably a slight loss. But them's the breaks. If a reduction in connectivity is an issue that can overturn other legitimate concerns, then I'll sue to have Pennsylvania Avenue reopened.
Boasburg's got a sense of humor BTW. When discussing the road he throws in phrases like "although the wheels were set in motion (so to speak)" and "Then in 2008, the D.C. Council changed gears."