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Excellent News! Thanks for staying on top of this. For anyone who hasn't gone jogging (or biking) along Klingle Rd, I highly recommend it, it's an amazing park space, even with the road falling apart as it is now. Go now, once they start construction, it might be a few months or more before you can get in there for some peace and quiet.

Amazing tale: The city neglected a public road out sheer ineptitude (or worse), for so long, it had to be closed to traffic. Then affluent neighbors and well-intentioned friends lobbied against its ever reopening. It was a taking of public space by those who had the means and an open ear in government. If during the same period the Downtown BID had lobbied against repairing the tunnel under Thomas Circle to turn it over to developers, this same group would have rioted. I'll ride on it regularly, but what awful memories.

I don't think it's entirely accurate to say it was a "taking of public space." That would imply that the proposed trail isn't a public space, and that is inaccurate. Further, it is a false analogy to compare this to the tunnel under Thomas Circle, as the volume of traffic is entirely different.


Having actually lived on Klingle while it was open to vehicular traffic (some 20 years ago), I can tell you that it saw very little use. It was a little-known street that branched off the park to a small neighborhood that sat far from any business center or major commuter artery, and as such had little utility as a major commuter throughway. The fact that it fell into disrepair with nary a peep from the general populace speaks to how few actually used it on a regular basis. I know the popular narrative is that mean rich people stole public land, but that simply isn't the case. Rather than a "taking of public space", the reinvention of Klingle will actually result in more use by the public.

Whoops - meant to direct that comment to "Read Scott Martin", not "Wil".

also to @scott martin

Having attended a number of public meetings, I don't think the conflict can be reduced to wealthy interests seeking to close Klingle to cars. If anything, my impression is that the wealth has been on the side of re-opening to cars, but that issue is actually irrelevant. The hydrology of the valley means the road will flood with enough rainfall, and while cyclists and joggers will avoid bike paths in those kinds of rains, drivers will frequently choose dangerous roads despite the weather. This is why RCPwy has the highest number of fatalities of any road in DC, people end up taking their cars into the creek during floods and drown. If only for this reason, it makes more sense as a bike/ped route. For those who have spent any time in Klingle Valley, it's just a lovely park atmosphere, and ought to be reserved as such.

You're right, it won't be a taking when the trail is built. I bow out on the affluence angle too, I just remember the late Tim Russert being front and center. Perhaps that was unrepresentative. Keeping Klingle closed always struck me as people making a case for demolition by neglect. That's a no-no if it's a house on the block but somehow seemed fine for a public road.


The previous vehicle traffic flows are well documented in the various reports that have been put together over the years and I wouldn't call the 3000 vehicles per day that were using it 20 years ago "little use", especially when you at the tiny handful of people that will use trail on a daily basis (50-100). Add in the additional cross park traffic of all the people W of the Park who now shop/eat in Columbia Heights which was a pretty sour non-destination 20 years ago and the "little use" becomes quite the misomer.

Lastly, the same folks in Woodley and Cleveland Park who immediately started complaining 20 years ago (yes, I lived here then) and many of them still do about the sudden influx of cars through their neighborhood streets that used to use Klingle, are the same ones that petitioned to keep it closed. The cognitive dissonance at some of those community meetings over the years was pretty astounding.

Link to those traffic studies? 3000 cars a day? That's 125 an hour! There's NO WAY that street had that much traffic. Where would it be going? Klingle was (and still is) essentially a road to nowhere; it didn't provide any convenient throughway to any major road, nor did it serve to link east and west as some cynics have argued. It began in the park (but was not directly connected to the Parkway - you had to cross over the creek to access it) and terminated at Woodley, far away from Connecticut, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, 34th Street/Reno, or any other major artery. There are several direct access points to and from the Parkway to Connecticut, Mass, and Columbia Heights, so why would people have been driving deep into Cleveland park if those were their destinations?

As for the "cognitive dissonance" relating to the "influx of cars" resulting from Klingle's closing, again I ask where is this new traffic coming from and to where is it headed? With Klingle closed and Cortland a one-way street, that neighborhood is more or less a dead end; traffic flow leads away from it, not towards it, and there are more convenient routes (Cathedral, Macomb, etc.) linking Connecticut, 34th/Reno, and Wisconsin.

In the end, this decision represents expanded trails for DC and an ecology's return to a more natural form. The city has lost nothing, but has gained a great deal. Its good to see that rationality has triumphed over politics.


What are you talking about? Of course it helped connect east and west of the park. What do you think that connection to Porter is?

Resources from both sides of the argument. The pro-road website showing 3200 cars per day:


The protrail website stating the traffic flow was 300 vehicles per hour. Link to the DPW traffic study is within.


And for your own reference this "road to nowhere" that terminates at Woodley. That stretch of Woodley at the termination currently carries 4000 vehicles per day (as of the 2008 DDOT traffic volume map, linked below). Just because you've shut your eyes and chosen to ignore the hundreds of cars per hour that used that road and the ones that feed it, doesn't mean they aren't there.


After reading those studies, its clear that, while 300 cars per hour sounds like a lot, it really isn't. Another road that has a similar volume to Klingle is "Zoo Road," that vital commuter artery necessary to the smooth commute of all Washingtonians far and wide. I mean, if Zoo Road were closed, DC would be snarled in gridlock.

Also from those studies, Klingle carried only 2% of all east/west traffic - far from being a vital east/west connector.

Thanks for both informing me, and helping me make my point. I'm not shutting my eyes to anything - I'm just not misrepresenting data push an agenda.

The issue of Klingle Road has been - like so many things in our fair city - more of a proxy about differences in race and class then anything else. We spend a lot of time in this city spinning around about people "east of the park" and "west of the park." For that reason, rational discussion about traffic and use really has no bearing on this issue. :-)

It appears that WABA have not given any comments in on the EA for Klingle. Is that because WABA does not want bike trail funds spent on this neighborhood trail taking funds away from more meaningful projects?

WABA supports the trail.

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