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Breakfast links: Stanleys under scrutiny

Photo by jpellgen on Flickr.
Trouble for Montgomery planner: Montgomery planning director Rollin Stanley has gotten into hot water for saying that a group of "rich, white women" calling themselves "the coven" have been actively trying to block his initiatives. (Patch)

Trouble at DYRS: A former employee and other officials in the Dept. of Youth Rehabili­tation Services say director Neil Stanley has created chaos, distrust, and dysfunction, but advocates and the Deputy Mayor support him. (Wash. Times)

Metro kept brake problems secret: WMATA knew 6 years ago that brakes on its 5000 series railcars had problems, but didn't have money to replace the brakes. However, they also didn't tell the public. (Post)

Helmet ticket withdrawn: The cyclist hit recently at 11th and U will not get a ticket for not wearing a helmet (not required by the law). As for the ticket for running a red light, officers had interviewed him, and they say he did admit to that. (TheWashCycle)

What's more environmental, road or no road?: The Klingle Road debate is back, with an environmental lawsuit from road proponents. Environmentalists say restoring the 20-years-gone road would be worse for the environment. (City Paper)

CCT won't go in tunnel: A Montgomery County Council committee has decided to mvoe the Capital Crescent Trail out of the Bethesda tunnel, since it just couldn't fit with the Purple Line. They also voted money to finish the trail to Silver Spring. (Post)

When a taxi won't cooperate: Mt. Vernon Square activist and restaurant maitre d' Martin Moulton couldn't get a taxi to come to the restaurant's front entrance in an alley. A police officer responded and handled the situation well. (PoP, Post)

Senate moves on transpo, House will follow: A Senate deal on the transportation bill lets it move forward. A bunch of Keystone XL and other unrelated amendments failed, while germane amendments are up for votes Tuesday. Meanwhile, the House will work from the Senate bill, abandoning its own failed bill. (Streetsblog, Huffington Post)

And...: Momentum Magazine named Veronica Davis in their top 5 advocates of 2011, but were less successful at naming her correctly. ... Virginia legislators are using Twitter when they're not allowed to speak on the House floor. (Post) ... A McDonnell proposal to effectively end teacher tenure died in the Virginia Senate. (Washington Times)

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David Edmondson is a transportation and urban affairs enthusiast working on his master's in city and regional planning at Cornell University. He blogs about Marin County, California, at The Greater Marin


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I'm glad someone at WMATA got the memo to stop caling them "friction rings" and start calling them brake discs.

by charlie on Mar 9, 2012 9:06 am • linkreport

Planning Director Stanley should apologize immediately. Personal attacks on citizens have no place in local government.

by Crickey7 on Mar 9, 2012 9:27 am • linkreport

I lived in a neighborhood where a road was closed and made it a longer trip into my neighborhood from 3 of the cardinal directions. The neighborhood got over it.

I was astonished that Klingle road was closed 20 years ago, I had never really paid attention to the story and assumed it was much more recent based on the acrimony.

by X on Mar 9, 2012 9:27 am • linkreport

The video in the link on the taxi story isn't working. Something about it being 'private'. Too bad ... The story without the accompanying video leaves the reader hanging. I don't know the specifics of this incident (since the video isn't working) but in general this is one of those issues where I'm of two minds. Discrimination is wrong and even if the destination is to a 'rough area' chances are that the people going there aren't rough ... and just trying to get home. BUT, do I (or the government) have the right to tell a taxi driver that he can't use his own best judgement to determine if the person he's going to let into his cab might be a threat to him, his property, and possibly his life? That's a tough call. It would have been interesting to view the video.

by Lance on Mar 9, 2012 9:30 am • linkreport

Ha. Love the picture of the "Witch's Hat" water tower in Minneapolis.

by Alex B. on Mar 9, 2012 9:30 am • linkreport

@X - I think the continuing acrimony stems from the fact that the debate has been ongoing for that entire time, without final resolution even now. (Yes, the DC Council has resolved it will be turned into a bike path, but a previous DC council had resolved it should be reopened as a road--give those shifting views presumably both (or all) sides realize further change is still possible).

by ah on Mar 9, 2012 9:40 am • linkreport

Lance: That's annoying... it worked when I first looked at this, though that was a day or 2 ago.

by David Alpert on Mar 9, 2012 9:42 am • linkreport

@Alex B:
I knew that looked familiar! I wanted it to be local. Sigh.

by David F-H on Mar 9, 2012 9:57 am • linkreport

Rollin Stanley's comments were inappropriate, but come on. Being called "rich white women" is racist and sexist? Kind of makes me understand his accusations about sowing fear. Anyone who will conjure up that kind of convoluted victimization ought to be ashamed.

by Dave Murphy on Mar 9, 2012 10:14 am • linkreport

If it's not racist and sexist, why did he use those terms? The whole point was to discredit by tagging them with a description, based on their race, income and sex, that would presumably cause a listener to discount them?

You may not think it's a negative description, but really, that's what was intended and further, it's one of those things where you have to be the target to make that call.

by Crickey7 on Mar 9, 2012 10:21 am • linkreport

Rich white women. Let's see. They are affluent people heavily involved in speaking out against community planning projects. And someone is surprised at their fake and overdone outrage?

by aaa on Mar 9, 2012 10:28 am • linkreport

Klingle Road is a great example of how NOT to go on a road diet.

Conceptually, I fully support the idea of more bike paths in the city even if it means reducing some road capacity. And, Klingle Road makes logical sense as a bike lane given it's location.

However, consider the history of Klingle Road and you'll see that decisions should never be made this way and that justice should trump efficiency. In short, there was never a normal decision making process followed to close Klingle Road permanently and turn it into something else. A decision like that would follow a normal process of evaluation and public input that would hopefully result in a bike path but possibly not.

Of course, there have been a couple of reasonable decision making processes that were followed that resulted in decisions to make it a car road and subsequently, a bike lane, but no process can be considered reasonable if it was made while the road was closed (the fact that it's been closed since 1991 lessens the support the road would otherwise have, since no one is relying on it and experiencing its benefits as a road).

Instead, Klingle Road was closed temporarily due to a winter storm in 1991. The city said they would repair it as soon as they had the money (DC was pretty broke back then). Various groups used this as an opportunity as a backdoor way to close down the road.

I know what you're thinking...who cares how it happened, the right decision is to turn it into a bike path. But, that's not justice. Just like we should release someone who committed a crime if he wasn't read his Miranda Rights or provided Due Process, we shouldn't close Klingle Road based on an unjust process.

If we expect the antis to play by the rules and give us our L&M cycletracks which was approved through established processes and procedures, we should likewise be willing to give back Klingle Road.

by Falls Church on Mar 9, 2012 10:42 am • linkreport

...consider the history of Klingle Road and you'll see that decisions should never be made this way and that justice should trump efficiency. In short, there was never a normal decision making process followed to close Klingle Road permanently and turn it into something else...

Klingle was pretty much in a continual state of collapse since it was first built. Always subject to extreme erosion, it was also a major source of pollution that would run off into Rock Creek. It was just dumb to create it in the first place. There wasn't a "decision-making" process so much as a capitulation to the natural forces that had always been conspiring to destroy it. The monetary and environmental costs just weren't worth the benefits.

by oboe on Mar 9, 2012 10:49 am • linkreport

Justice? Really?

Roads aren't people my friend. They don't have a right to habeus corpus. Besides, there was a process to close it, the council passed legislation on it. The fact that the city changed its position on the matter over time is immaterial. Nobody has a property right to a government decision on whether to keep a road open or not. The government's decision to change its mind was not a taking of any Ward 4 residents' property. It was just a policy decision they didn't like.

Besides, Porter St. is right freaking next to Klingle Rd. We're talking about the minorest of differences here.

by TM on Mar 9, 2012 10:57 am • linkreport

Being called "rich white women" is racist and sexist?

If Person A is rich, white, and a woman, and Person B calls Person A "a rich white woman" in an effort to discredit what Person A is saying, then yes, that is racist and sexist.

by Miriam on Mar 9, 2012 10:58 am • linkreport


Klingle survived quite nicely for the ~150 years it was in operation before being closed in 1991.

Fullton St, Normanstone Dr etc aren't required (as in they don't provide primary access to homes) and service a miniscule fraction of the daily traffic today that Klingle did then, and they have all suffered multiple washouts and subsequent repairs in the 2 decades this has been going on.


"Nobody has a property right to a government decision on whether to keep a road open or not."

Really, please explain the near decade of lawsuits that ensued after the Council legislated its repair, before the Council changed its mind? Why is one side of an argument using the law for their benefit noble, and the other a joke?

And you are being disingenuous as to the location. Yes, Klingle exits onto Porter (at an interchange redone a decade ago for nearly 6 million dollars specfically to accomodate the repaired Klingle Road), but the entrance to Klingle on 34th Street is 3/4ths a mile from Porter. They were serving two wholly different geographic areas.

Traffic studies were done by both pro and con sides and both confirmed increased congestion on neiboring streets, increased wait times at signals (doing away with any environmental argument for closing it) and this is a decade after Klingle was closed, a period in which the Districts population actually decreased 6% to 572K (from 609K). The Districts population is now higher than it was in 1991 and traffic has increased sharply across the park via Porter and Calvert since.

This was a backdoor "landgrab" by a handful of people who liked not having people driving past their property, made possible because a Barry led DC was running 30-40% yearly budget deficits and couldn't afford to immeediately repair the road (or collect trash on a reliable weekly basis).

If people were proposing to restore the road bed back to trees and leave it alone, that would be one thing. But that isn't the plan. No, the plan is to keep the roadbed as wide as it is now, do all the same structural and infrasture improvements required of a road for vehicles. To take a public road that had existed for ~150 years and used by more than 1 million vehicles a year (when closed), spend 80% of the money required to return it to vehicular traffic, but on a walking path for a couple hundred people a day during the weekends is pretty ridiculous.

I have to hand it to Cheh though...when she was running for the position, she promised her largest contributers she would get that pesky road behind their homes closed and get the Council to reverse their earlier decision, and she did just that.

by Lara on Mar 9, 2012 11:53 am • linkreport

Roads aren't people my friend. They don't have a right to habeus corpus.

I don't understand this argument. Are you saying that transportation decisions shouldn't be made in a fair, just way that follows a transparent process because roads and sidewalks are not people? Obviously, I'm not saying that the decision to close Klingle Road was unconstitutional and violated Habeus Corpus...I'm trying to draw an analogy.

Besides, there was a process to close it, the council passed legislation on it.

Yes, there was a process, but was it a fair and transparent process? If the process used to close Klingle was applied widely to transportation decisions across the city, there would be an outcry.

Let's say during a city emergency we opened Beach Drive to vehicular traffic on a weekend, but then we continued to keep it open to vehicles on weekends for the next 20 years so everyone got used to it and inertia built, and then we applied some disingenuous process to deem that Beach Drive will continue like that permanently. After all, you could still bike on Beach even if we allowed vehicular traffic, so it would only make the "minorest" of difference. Would anyone consider that the right way to make transportation decisions?

by Falls Church on Mar 9, 2012 1:35 pm • linkreport

I don't think referring to Wall Street mavens as "rich, white, men" is sexist nor racist. Why does it change once the gender is switched? It's like someone complaining that residents opposed to some unnamed project in Prince George's are comprised of wealthy, black people.

Go figure.

by HogWash on Mar 9, 2012 1:47 pm • linkreport

Klingle survived quite nicely for the ~150 years it was in operation before being closed in 1991.

We know more about environmental impacts now. We don't let automobiles drive through the Milkhouse Ford anymore either. This was an administrative move by the Feds, and wasn't put to a public vote either.

by oboe on Mar 9, 2012 2:00 pm • linkreport

Yes, there was a process, but was it a fair and transparent process? If the process used to close Klingle was applied widely to transportation decisions across the city, there would be an outcry.

This all happened 20+ years ago. There was a time and a place to debate this, but nothing productive will come of the discussion if we have it today.

The DC government in the 90s was full of fuckups. I don't think there's even any serious debate there. Let's just accept that the initial decision to close Klingle might have been misguided (or constrained by budgetary or political realities of the time). Any new conversations on the matter should focus on the present state of affairs, rather than hurt feelings from 20 years ago. Sadly, there's very little that we can or should do to correct the misdeeds of the past.

[I swear to god, there's some sort of equivalent to Godwin's law, where any discussion about DC planning will inevitably end up back at Klingle Road...]

by andrew on Mar 9, 2012 2:08 pm • linkreport


The road was washed out 20 years ago, but the Council only legislated its closure to vehicluar traffic 3 years ago in 2008.

This was of course after the Council legislated its immediate repair and reopening to motor vehicle traffic and after the city spent ~6 million dollars in ~99 upgrading the Klingle Porter interchange to accomodate the "to soon be repaired" Klingle.

Road closure proponents fought this in Court for 17 years (1991-2008), stopping the city at every juncture as it started to repair the road. It has only been the past 3 years where the city made it "official", and by official I mean, by overtuning the "official" decision they had made 5 years prior.

It is odd people can fight for 17 years to get a road closed and its fine and noble, but have the other side spend 3 years trying to get it repaired and it is absurd, and they should just move on.

by Lara on Mar 9, 2012 2:29 pm • linkreport

@Lara -stopping the city at every juncture as it started to repair the road.

There never was any action to begin work. As someone else commented the NPS has major clout in what happens b/c they own the land pracel the roadbed traverses up to the very edges of the roadbed and NPS does not want a road in the valley.

by Tina on Mar 9, 2012 2:37 pm • linkreport

It's a little beside the point as to precisely why the comment was offensive and personal. The fact remains that it was, and it was wildly inappropriate for an appointed official.

As to the belief that as long as you agree with the characterization it's not racist or sexist, that usually is found in a statement that begins "I'm not a racist, but . . ."

by Crickey7 on Mar 9, 2012 2:55 pm • linkreport

I was talking with one of the real estate people who is involved with the upscale Cathedral Commons development,going up on Wisconsin. He said they would like to see Klingle Rd. open to make it easier for more patrons east of RCP to shop and dine there. We need more E-W commercial connections, not fewer.

by SallyR on Mar 9, 2012 3:21 pm • linkreport


If it was all about the environment, then after tge Council decided in 2002 to rebuild the road, you would have expectrd to see an envirinmental impact assessment done that would have been the basis for the 2008 Council reversal. To my knowledge, it didn't happen that way.

by Falls Church on Mar 9, 2012 4:22 pm • linkreport

@ Falls Church

Pardon my curiosity, but why would someone presumably from "Falls Church" care so much about a three or four block long street in DC?

by Bob on Mar 9, 2012 4:41 pm • linkreport


I agree that the injustice originated a long time ago (although it was perpetuated recently) but don't dismiss the impact if history and hurt feelings. I'm on the side of more bike lanes but I don't think that disenfranchising Klingle users is in the long term interest of our goal.

What can go wrong if you don't fix an age old injustice? I have two words for you: Middle East. Or, two words that are slightly less controversial, Shermans March. The South is still bitter about Sherman's tactics (which were arguably justified) and to this day it's a source of animosity that divides our country.

The Klingle Krazies (and I don't count myself as one) will never forget this injustice. And, even if it's not in the city's best interest or even their best interest they are likely to oppose anyone and anything associated with their injustice. And, that is likely going to be bike lanes in other parts of the city or other bike/driver issues.

by Falls Church on Mar 9, 2012 4:41 pm • linkreport

I'm just objecting to the use of the word injustice. Injustice is being put in jail for the color of your skin. Injustice is getting paid less for doing the same work just because you're a woman. It's losing your job because you're the wrong religion. It's being a mentally handicapped child being subject to this city's decrepit foster care system.

Having a slightly longer commute is an inconvenience, not an injustice. I don't begrudge anyone lobbying to have the road opened, but calling it an injustice is an insult to victims of actual injustices.

by TM on Mar 9, 2012 4:59 pm • linkreport

@Falls Church even if it's not in the city's best interest or even their best interest they are likely to oppose anyone and anything associated with their injustice. And, that is likely going to be bike lanes in other parts of the city or other bike/driver issues.

I don't think so. Muriel Bowser (CM Ward 4) is a strong supporter of bike trails generally but she voted with her constituents on this, that is, against the hiker/biker trail - even though a bike trail here would connect directly to the RCP bike trail on the east end [of the stub] and directly with a designated Bike Route on the west end.

Otherwise, I chuckled at your comparison of the fight over KLingle Valley to major historic events involving thousands of deaths.

BTW, the reporting on Sherman's march was overblown and successfully propogandized as much more ruthless than it was in actuality. The purpose of that was to generate energy in the south for the war. That we remember Shermans march as it was charcterized by Confederates is a Confederate victory.

by Tina on Mar 9, 2012 5:04 pm • linkreport

@TM - I agree. If anything it was a mishandling of bureaucratic paper pushing.

by Tina on Mar 9, 2012 5:09 pm • linkreport

Asking why @Falls Church cares about the road does not violate the comment policy. But I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that we welcome comments from anyone, regardless of where they live. It is against the comment policy to discourage someone from posting their views simply because they may not live in the vicinity of the subject being discussed.

Thanks to all of you for contributing to the discussion about making our region greater.

by Matt Johnson on Mar 9, 2012 5:16 pm • linkreport

Restoring Klingle Road as a bike/ped/horse path would be consistent with its uses "~150" years ago, no?

by Turnip on Mar 9, 2012 6:47 pm • linkreport

@Turnip, Yes!

by Tina on Mar 9, 2012 8:48 pm • linkreport

Stanley is an obnoxious jerk and it is inappropriate to bad mouth citizens.

But I'm having a hard time feeling sorry for these rich entitled elites.

Some of these ladies, er, persons, have homes valued in the millions.

Yet they are the true "victims" of discrimination -- not all the brown and poor people they want to keep out of their walled garden. And yes, no matter what they say, keeping all the riff raff out of their pristine world is what this is all about.

Let's all shed a tear for the 1% -- the barbarians are at gate.

by J.F. on Mar 9, 2012 8:50 pm • linkreport

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