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DDOT ponders four decisions for Klingle Valley trail

DDOT has released the Klingle Valley Trail Environmental Assessment to build a trail through Klingle Valley.

Image from the Klingle Trail EA.

For those not familiar with the area, Klingle Valley is the tributary of Rock Creek between Woodley and Cleveland Park, where a former road washed out in 1991 and kicked off a multi-decade debate about whether to build a new road or a trail that was resolved in favor of the trail in 2008.—David

Four decisions must be made before the project moves forward. These include the design of the trail, the restoration of Klingle Creek, access from the trail to the Rock Creek Trail and trail lighting. The more desirable and user friendly options also carry the highest price tags.

In all of the proposed actions, DDOT will build a multi-use trail with two trailheads, provide better storm water management and restore the creek. They would remove the existing road and all of its associated elements as well as a few trees that present a hazard.

They would add in a bioretention island on the west side and signage and/or pavement markings to connect users to the bike route on Woodley Road. Due to the steep terrain, the trail will not be designed to ADA standards. At the Indian Embassy property the trail would be lifted out of the flood plain.

Trail options: There are four options including a No Build Alternative (Alternative 1). All of the build options include 2-foot shoulders and a 7-foot swale to capture runoff. Alternative 2 would build a 10-foot-wide trail with a permeable surface, and Alternative 3 a 12-foot-wide trail. Alternative 4 is similar to Alternative 2, except that it uses an impermeable surface instead. They would all take 8-12 months to build.

Trail Alternative 3.

Access to Rock Creek Trail: Option A would build a trailhead on the east end and trail users would use the existing road to connect. Option B would narrow the 20-foot roadway to 14 feet and create a 6-foot bike/ped lane with a physical barrier and paint. Option C would also narrow the road to 14 feet but then build a multi-use trail (with a width that would vary from 6 feet to 10 feet) along the south side of the ramp that leads to the Rock Creek Trail below Porter Street, NW.

Access option C.

Lighting: Either the project will include trail lighting or it won't. If it does, they're looking at pole lighting and bollard lighting, using solar powered lights (which they previously noted would be difficult there) and low energy LEDs.

Stream restoration: Option A restores the most critical 420 feet of the stream, while Option B restores the entire 1,595-foot-long stream.

Analysis: For the resources studied in the EA, all options had either a benefit, minor and/or temporary negative impact or no impact (mostly no impact). The only exception was the removal of the hazardous trees.

The study also eliminated some options. It did not study a connection to Connecticut Avenue due to the steep grade. The idea of turning the Klingle-Porter intersection into a park was deemed unreasonable because it would be too disruptive and too expensive.

From a technical standpoint, Alternative 3, Access Option C, Stream Restoration Option B and the lighting option with lights are the best. Together they create a wide, permeable trail with the best possible connection to the Rock Creek Park Trail and lighting for transportation; and completely restore the stream. They also happen to be the most expensive options as seen in the table below.

The addition of lighting is critical to make the trail into be a commuter route. DDOT should make the investment.

The maintenance savings for the impermeable trail surface don't seem worth it. They create an additional $40,000 up-front cost to save $2,000 a year, and increase runoff. Therefore, Alternative 4 should not be considered.

Choosing between Alternative 2 and Alternative 3 seems difficult at first because of the over $2 million difference between the two. That seems like a lot of money for 2 extra feet of width. It is.

Running through the numbers in Table 2 below, it appears they made a math error. In order to get the high value in the Total Cost row for Alternative 2, they added $143,000 for access option C instead of $1,430,000. The real price difference for the two is $746,000. At that price, the wider trail may be worth it—more so if they can get the woman in the drawing above to not walk down the middle of it.

The most difficult choices deal with the trail connection and the stream restoration. The road in question gets very little traffic, and so $1M+ to get a narrow sidepath seems like an unnecessary expense. It would be a plus, and possibly even required for pedestrians, but it would be nice to know what DDOT would do with the money if it weren't spent on the connection. Complete stream restoration on the other hand, though pricey, seems like the right thing to do.

A public hearing on the EA has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 23, 2010, starting with an open house from 6-6:30 pm and presentation and comments from 6:30-8 pm The hearing will be at the National Zoo's Visitor Center Auditorium, 3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW (Red Line to Woodley Park-Zoo). The public comment period closes July 6, 2010, and comments must be received no later than July 6, 2010.

Table of Costs for Klingle Options

Crossposted at TheWashCycle.

David Cranor is an operations engineer. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and former Texan (where he wrote for the Daily Texan), he's lived in the DC area since 1997. David is a cycling advocate who serves on the Bicycle Advisory Council for DC.  


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Little knowledge curse going on here. Klingle Valley? Where's that? Why is it silently assumed that readers know where that is?

by Jasper on Jun 21, 2010 3:55 pm • linkreport

I'll add something.

by David Alpert on Jun 21, 2010 3:56 pm • linkreport

Klingle Valley used to be home to Klingle Road. Parts of it are still there on each end. One end meets Woodley Road at Courtland Place (near Nat'l Cathedral). The other end meets Beach Drive and Porter Street in a freeway-like interchange in the middle of Rock Creek Park.

In between, the valley passes under Connecticut Avenue just south of Cleveland Park.

by Matt Johnson on Jun 21, 2010 3:57 pm • linkreport

Mmm. Could use some background information here!

by andrew on Jun 21, 2010 3:58 pm • linkreport

Thanks for this summary. I agree emphatically about complete restoration of the creek. I disagree about lighting. I don't think it needs any lights. Too bad about the omitted plans for stairs from Conn Ave. Agree that a seperated path on east end on Klingle Rd is not needed, but a bike ramp/curb cut to get to the RC trail would be nice, as would a painted line on Klingle to communicate to the few drivers that its a bike/ped path. I'd be fine with the 8' permeable path. Yahoo!

by Bianchi on Jun 21, 2010 4:00 pm • linkreport

Cost estimates between $4.4M and $6.8M for this project? Holy cow! Isn't the trail going to be something like 2/3 of a mile? Does this make financial sense? This makes the $400,000 dog park look like a bargain!

by Fritz on Jun 21, 2010 4:08 pm • linkreport

~3.5 to 5.5 million of the estimate is just for restoration that needs doing anyway- retaining wall, storm water, utilities improvements and creek bed restoration. The bike/ped path is the cheapest part of the project. The retaining wall is neded b/c the original semi-channelization of the creek due to the road being built has caused significant erosion on the east side of the creek and the large apt/condo building on Devonshire is threatened, or will be if nothing is done.

by Bianchi on Jun 21, 2010 4:16 pm • linkreport

I would do without the segregated path at the east end of the trail. That is a very underutilized section of pavement that serves the 1980's era houses that over look the intersection and vehicles traveling from Rock Creek Park to southbound Porter/Klingle (towards Mt. Pleasant).

by Andrew on Jun 21, 2010 4:26 pm • linkreport

This "trail" push has been a sham job from the beginning. The linked report proves it.

The ONLY two arguments trail folks had was that:

1. It was more expensive to put the road back than it would to put in a trail.

2. There was hardly any affect on traffic patters and LOS, so it wasn't really needed. Now we see, it was all completely and utter BS.

1. Trail proponents kept subjectively claiming it would only cost a million or so to put in the trail. They compared this to the doubly inflated road cost at 10 million dollars. Well golly gee...the trail itself ranges from 5.5 to 7.5 million dollars. So much for the cheapo million dollar trail.

2. This is the most infuriating part. The "original" traffic study that trail proponents kept beating their chests with and that the city paid for (anyone who believes a DDOT Traffic study needs to have their head examined) was 100% wrong. It claimed no noticable LOS on any of the surrounding intersections since Klingle was closed to the 3,000 cars a day that used it. This study shows that "oops" the original was catastronphically wrong because they "assumed" the lane widths were 12 feet, instead of the 10'feet they are. How can a company do a traffic study and not even have apparently visited the road to actually measure the freaking lanes!

So, if you'll read the above linked report, all delay times have literally increased from a minium of 70% to over 100%. "Ooops". They also, in another unbelieably boneheaded move assumed ZERO yearly traffic growth. This after years of proven DC population growth and an explosion of new population directly across the park in Columbia Heights. Seriously...the City needs to sue Berger for that orginial report. It wasn't just marginally mediocre, it was flat out fradulant.

All of us who lived (or previously lived) knew right away that was the case. The day the road closed and till this day traffic along that corridor of Connecticut Ave and nearby neighborhood streets got instantly nightmarish, where it wasn't before.

But oh well...the 30 people a day (yes, it was quantified), mostly retirees or stay at home parents who use the trail currently will get their 7 million dollar trail because they were more important than the ~3,000 cars per day who used it.

The most hilarious part about this entire sham job, is the folks in that neighborhood that were pushing so hard for the trail, are the exact same ones that complain daily about "all the additional thru traffic along their sidestreets", completely oblivious to the reasons despite being told countless times.

by nookie on Jun 21, 2010 4:28 pm • linkreport

The EA said there are no federal funds for this trail, so who is going to pay for it? Second, the City has to go through the Streets and Alley Closing Act to close the road before this "trail" can even begin. Then, we will lose the road because we will no longer have rights to the road.

And now we're finding that it's cheaper to repair the road and let EVERYONE use it.

Yes, sham job is right.

by Bill on Jun 21, 2010 4:32 pm • linkreport


Can you point to a DDOT volume study from before the road closure that suggests 3000 cars per day? I only ask because I grew up right there and at least from an anecdotal perspective, that seems like an incredibly high number.

by Andrew on Jun 21, 2010 4:36 pm • linkreport

@Nookie, @Bill
The trail will not cost $5.5 - 7.5 million. That's the total cost of the project, the majority of which is for stream restoration.

Even if no bike trail is built (or roadway, for that matter), the restoration of the stream is essential, as Bianchi pointed out above.

Now, the bike trail (and removal of the roadway) will add some to the cost of the project. But rest assured that were a roadway to be constructed, it would cost far more than the bike trail.

It appears that the actual cost of the bike facility is only around $1-2 million.

by Matt Johnson on Jun 21, 2010 4:43 pm • linkreport


I hesitate to point you in the direction of the original Berger study ala 2004 because as we just found out it was so fundamentally wrong, but traffic numbers were mentioned.

Also, you have to understand those were the number of cars that used the road when it was closed almost 20 years ago, so the "true" number of cars that would use it daily today, even in its old config would be what...15%-20% more figuring in 1% growth per year, which considering the population explosion of Columbia Heights, and of DC to a lesser degree is pretty conservative.

by nookie on Jun 21, 2010 4:47 pm • linkreport

@Matt Johnson,

Matt, the storm sewer and retaining wall mods that you mention are the same EXACT ones, at the same exact cost as would be required if you built the road, a trail, or didn't build anything. The rerpairs to that infrastructure is the same along the alignment regardless of trail or road.

People want to continually parse the obvious for their own argument, but I am sorry. It just doesn't pass the smell test.

The TOTAL cost of the trail is 5.5-7.5 million (jumped about 6 million at the upper end since 2004) and the TOTAL cost of the road (of which there were federal matching funds for, funny how folks who peruse this board like to trumpet those when they pay for ill advised street cars, but not for anything else) was 10 million. After Uncle Sams matching funds, it would likely cost DC Taxpayers less to put the road back the way it was than to put in a trail for a couple dozen people a day.

by nookie on Jun 21, 2010 4:55 pm • linkreport

What does it mean to "restore" the creek?

by Tim on Jun 21, 2010 5:01 pm • linkreport

The Berger Study was commissioned by a group who wanted to see a road rebuilt- the Linda Cropp led city council. The fact that the study's conclusions did not support rebuilding a road in terms of LOS at Porter and Connecticut and other traffic impacts (in fact that rebuilding Klingle would actually slightly worsen LOS at Porter and ConnAv and other local traffic would be unaffected with or w/o a rebuild) I guess makes the study "fundamentally wrong". I imagine nookie will now say the Berger study was led by UDC grads.

by Bianchi on Jun 21, 2010 5:05 pm • linkreport

"Lighting is critical to make the trail into a commuter route". Is there lighting on the Rock Creek Park Trail, to which it would connect? I assume this would be the major "commuter" link. Otherwise it's just an east-west link parallel to (but a little more convenient than) Porter and Calvert.

by Gavin on Jun 21, 2010 5:12 pm • linkreport


I don't care if AAA paid for it (which they didn't, DDOT did), it was fully and irrefutably 100% wrong. Did you read the revised study linked to this article above that outlines that? You are defending a study where the people who did it didn't even get the road width correct. And yes, the LOS difference between the Berger study, and the one linked above are between 70% and 100% different.

I get it, just like the PA Avenue bike lanes, as long as the project is near and dear to your heart, the City can screw the pooch in any number of ways and it doesn't long as the trail or bike lane gets built, but you really need to acknowledge the fundamental fail in things when it is so obvious and documented. How can anyone who so claims to be such an environmentalist claim that forcing cars to idle for 70 seconds at an intersection rather than 20 (now multiple by thousands per day, every day) is a good thing? We aren't talking about chopping down rock creek park to install a road than wasn't there before, it was ALREADY there.

As it stands, with the matching federal funds the road would at best be the same cost as the trail, likely less.

by nookie on Jun 21, 2010 5:18 pm • linkreport

nookie-what linked study? The only study linked to above is the EA for the trail. In any case -we're getting a restored creek bed and other maintenance, along with the trail (w/o lights i say). i repeat -Yahoo!

by Bianchi on Jun 21, 2010 5:43 pm • linkreport

.the 30 people a day (yes, it was quantified), mostly retirees or stay at home parents who use the trail currently will get their 7 million dollar trail

Actually, I suspect they'll fight for the no build alternative, lest the bike traffic restore just a little bit of the noise they have managed to avoid for the last 20 years by using every mechanism to resist any form of reconstruction/rehabilitation.

by ah on Jun 21, 2010 5:56 pm • linkreport


Listen, I am not going to do all the work for you. This isn't a situation where if you don't see it, its not true.

Appendix F - page 8 and on....

by nookie on Jun 21, 2010 5:57 pm • linkreport

Guys, Before ANYTHING CAN BE DONE, the DC Council will have to hold a hearing to close the road through the Street and Alley Closing Procedure Act.

Ward 3 already has 2 parks next to Klingle Road: Woodley Park and Tregaron Conservancy, filled with hiking paths.

Why would we spend $7.5M for a 3rd park?

by Bill on Jun 21, 2010 7:11 pm • linkreport

Is it a bit scary that there are some people NOT aware of the Klinge Road fight -- something that makes GGW flame wars look like, well, playing with toy soldiers?

Personally I am sure Chandra Levy was killed because of this fight. Not sure how, but I am damn sure of it.

by charlie on Jun 21, 2010 7:20 pm • linkreport

I knew someone with the National Park Service who told me the NPS fought the installation of Klingle Road through this section of the park in the first place, because the NPS believed it was unsuitable due to the high likelihood of being washed out. And then in 1991 that's what happened. Does anybody remember if this is true?

Is this NPS land, or city land? Does that impact the process for deciding what to do? Maybe it used to be NPS but was conveyed to DC somehow to get the road built?

And why do we think a pedestrian trail would not get washed out like the road did? Should there be anything there besides an upper-Rock-Creek-Park-style dirt footpath?

In 5 years of living on Wisconsin Ave above Woodley Road, I haven't understood why pedestrians/hikers would be blocked from walking through the public land (DC or NPS) connecting that route to Rock Creek Park. It sits fenced off and foreboding... is it really a health risk to walking through?

by Graham S on Jun 21, 2010 9:36 pm • linkreport

1) I am not uppercase Andrew. We're actually different people. Sorry for the confusion.

2) I can actually see the need for an additional road in this part of town. However, you need to consider the cost of the 3 alternatives presented for the construction of this project. The third alternative -- doing nothing, may actually be quite expensive (and will gradually get more expensive if erosion continues, and nothing is done about it). Calling this a $5 million bike path is disingenuous at best. If you can present a traffic study that satisfactorily shows that a new road will substantively relieve congestion (rather than simply shifting it), you might have an argument.

Anecdotally, I know lots of people dumping their cars for bikes, and small links like this one can make a huge difference in their decision to do so. DC's already got an incredible network of bike paths, and I'm always happy to support the creation of new grade-separated routes -- the system's currently at a size, where new additions exponentially increase its usefulness.

by andrew on Jun 21, 2010 9:40 pm • linkreport

A quick Google search can answer the question more directly:

but the road predated the existence of the National Park Service.

by Andrew on Jun 21, 2010 9:45 pm • linkreport

Nookie, Well golly gee...the trail itself ranges from 5.5 to 7.5 million dollars. So much for the cheapo million dollar trail.

Nookie if you read the table, the trail improvements (that's the first line) are only about $1M. I should point out this is about $8M less than the Repair Klingle Road group estimated 2 years ago and $6M less than they estimated for the road repair. How much faith do you have in that number? The only way a road can be the same price as a trail is if it is built to the same standard and that would make for a poor road.

The "original" traffic study that trail proponents kept beating their chests with and that the city paid for (anyone who believes a DDOT Traffic study needs to have their head examined) was 100% wrong. The 2004 study had errors. But Appendix F doesn't tell us anything about the changes on LOS that closing Klingle has caused.

Bill and nookie, The EA said there are no federal funds for this trail, so who is going to pay for it? And As it stands, with the matching federal funds the road would at best be the same cost as the trail, likely less.
From the EA "The Recreational Trails program provides federal funds to states and the District of Columbia to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses. As the currently barricaded segment of Klingle Road is being proposed as a recreational trail facility, it is eligible for federal aid under The Recreational Trails Program." So 80% of the trail will be paid for with federal dollars. Can we get the road built for $200k? Unlikely.

Gavin Is there lighting on the Rock Creek Park Trail, to which it would connect? No, but there is lighting on the road and much of that lights the trail.

by David C on Jun 21, 2010 10:40 pm • linkreport

I know it's water under the bridge, but this is an embarrasment for DC. The rich can take what they want because they have all the lawyers. Cutting up connectivity does not a whole city make. shame

by Thayer-D on Jun 22, 2010 7:22 am • linkreport

The "do nothing" option seems best right now. Save some money -- and wait until the budget improves before doing anything.

by charlie on Jun 22, 2010 7:46 am • linkreport

They should rebuilding Klingle Road to be used by everyone. That's in the best interest to all.

by bill on Jun 22, 2010 7:53 am • linkreport


Wow...and I mean WOW. The lengths people will go to to twist an argument to fit their needs is astounding.

The cost of the trail isn't 1 million. It is 5.5-7.5. Why? Because you can't have a "trail" without all the associated infrastructure improvements. Get it? You need ~6.5 million dollars of infrastructure improvements BEFORE the trail is even put in.

Spending 1 million dollars isn't going to get you a trail, end of story. What you also realize but won't admit is that 6.5 million dollars of infrastructure improvements is the EXACT same money and improvements that need to be done if they were to restore the road, or do nothing. The twice priced road is 10 million (or by your logic 3.5 million...6.5+3.5 = 10). So in the end, what all of this comes down to is spend ~7.5 million to repourpose an existing road for a trail used by ~30 people a day. Or, spend ~2.5 million more for a road that was used by ~3000 vehicles a day 20 years ago (would be significantly more today), and this revised EA shows the closure of which has worsened local LOS by anywhere from 70% to a 100%.

Oh, and according to your link, the "Road" folks claimed the trail was going to cost ~9 million dollars, which as we have found out years later to be far closer to the truth (~7.5 million) than the "Trail" people originally claimed (~1 million).

Again, this is nothing more than a reallocation of existing public infrastructure for the many, in the favor of the few. It isn't even like these are suburban commuters coming into DC, this cross park connection is soley a DC resident benefit.

by nookie on Jun 22, 2010 8:48 am • linkreport

As a cyclist, I'm a little wary of the "permeable" surface being considered. What specifically are the considering for the surface and what's the ridability of it? If it's like asphalt or close enough, I can accept that. But if it's anything soft, I say forget it and go with "Alternative 4".

Full disclosure: I write this after having last night ridden the "permeable" seashells that constitute the trail connection to National Harbor, not to mention the absolutely crappy paving job M-NPPC did on the connection between National Harbor and the WWB trail.

by Froggie on Jun 22, 2010 8:49 am • linkreport

nookie: since you're all over that 7.5M figure for rebuilding the road, is stream restoration included in that figure? Because at this point, you'll need the stream restoration for any road rebuilding as well.

by Froggie on Jun 22, 2010 8:51 am • linkreport


I was assuming the stream restoration was in the associated infrastruture cost (storm sewer/retaining walls etc). I thought I read it in there, but I might be mistaken. Regardless, all of the infrastructure repairs, stream restoration etc costs are the same regardless of whether you do "nothing", build a trail, or a road.

And it should be said, the environmentalist faction that has been holding this up for 17 of the 19 years really need to apologize.

With the storm sewer the way it is, with the crumbled road and compromised stream banks, I would venture an accurate guess that there has been far more soil erosion and disturbance along that alignment the past 19 years, than what was disturbed in total during the roads orignal construction. I won't even mention almost 2 decades of the asphalt petroleum that has been leaching directly into the stream and into rock creek park...issues that would have been rectified ~17 years ago had it not been for their obstructionism and demands to simply completely close the road and return it to its natural state.

by nookie on Jun 22, 2010 9:06 am • linkreport

@ David: Thanks for the extra info.

by Jasper on Jun 22, 2010 9:31 am • linkreport

I could be mistaken, but I think due to the original limitations in the will that transferred Klingle Road to the city, there was a requirement that it be kept as a road. If I remember correctly, bike trail supporters said so long as the trail was open to bikes, there'd be no need to officially close the road and there'd be no violation of the will. I have no idea if this is true, or even if there are any Klingle descendants left who'd sue to get their ancestral road back.

In my mind, it had always been clear that the trail estimates were based on nothing more than having to be a fraction of the cost of rebuilding a road.

by Fritz on Jun 22, 2010 9:42 am • linkreport

"I could be mistaken, but I think due to the original limitations in the will that transferred Klingle Road to the city, there was a requirement that it be kept as a road."

This has always been one of the biggest canards of the endless Kingle Road/Valley debate. When the "public road" was given to the city, there were no automobiles, just horses. So let's make it a horse and bike trail, and be done with it. Also, the city has not "closed" the road, as it has sometimes been persuaded to do in other cases by well-connected developers. It will remain a public access way open to all -- and their bikes (and horses).

by Laurie on Jun 22, 2010 9:53 am • linkreport

Already been said, but it makes me mad that a few affluent residents that live along the road were able to prevent the road from being repaired and are set to turn it into their own park.

by F. Sheehan on Jun 22, 2010 11:17 am • linkreport

@ F. Sheehan et al - support for the hiker-biker trail was/is widespread. Its hardly just among "a few wealthy along the road". Of course you won't believe this. That doensn't make it untrue.

@ nookie, the comparisons between the 2004 & 2009 traffic study concluded that the volume hasn't changed. There is no reason to assume, and no evidence provided, that the projected outcome is/would be any different in terms of "relief" at specific interesections including the conclusion that Porter and Conn Av would be slightly worsened if motor vehicles were permitted through the valley.

And lets not forget, 52% of all trips taken among residents in the vicinity of the biking-hiking path are on foot or bike.

@David C., still disagree about the need for lights.

by Bianchi on Jun 22, 2010 11:54 am • linkreport

@Bianchi I disagree that a hiker/biker trail was/is widespread, unless you're talking about 3 blocks around Klingle Road in Cleveland Park. Have you taken a look at the repairklingleroad website of supporters versus those who want a bike path?

As to increase in traffic, nookie is correct. There is a percentage volume increase assumed in all traffic studies.

I ask you, Bianchi, why not a road instead? The area already has a 13 acre park next to it for hiking, plus another park on the other side.

Why not SHARE THE ROAD? Why not allow EVERYONE to use it?

Can you explain?

by Bill on Jun 22, 2010 12:35 pm • linkreport

@Bill just b/c you disagree that support for the trail is widespread and diverse doesn't make it untrue.

The study clearly states that volume is/has not increased from 2004-2009 and conclude a zero increase in volume.

Why not a road exclusive to motor vehicles? Explanation: The needs of 52% of the residents in the 1 mile(?) circumference around the trail who make their trips on foot or bike.

Thank you city council for twice voting in 2008 10-3 in support of the trail!

by Bianchi on Jun 22, 2010 12:52 pm • linkreport

There is only one way this will be settled: the trail advocates will choose a representative,and this individual will enter the Thunderdome with nookie. The winner will decide.

PS - screw the trail,I think Klingle Valley should be turned into a mountain bike park.

by dynaryder on Jun 22, 2010 1:12 pm • linkreport


I keep pointing you and others to this conclusion out of

1. From Table 1, the 2009 LOS and the average delay at all of the study intersections are worse than the
2004 results. The drop in LOS between 2009 and 2004 is due to the following reasons...and then it goes on to give them. The results are 70% to 100% worse than the 2004 numbers. It is undeniable.

You also point to this as the "end all", "By comparing with the 2004 data, a growth rate of zero
was determined, which suggests that the volumes of traffic at study intersections are not expected to
increase in the near future"

They say the increase was negligible, either even to slightly more traffic from 2004 to 2009. Fine, but the road has been closed since 1991. What about the previous 13 years, you know, during the biggest real estate and development boom in DC's history, when the population grew for first time in 40 years) by ~50,000 people and Columbia Heights saw the influx of a billion dollars worth of development and thousands of new residents?

Thats the ENTIRE point. You are arguing the traffic hasn't gotten worse in the past 5 years, I am arguing the traffic has gotten fundamentally worse (proven by EA)in the past 19.

And where do you get your 52% number? There are only two ways to access that trail/road, from the ends. At the bottom I would say there are 20 houses within half a mile, and at the northern end the same. Are you saying this is a good idea because 20 out of the 40 people who live within half a mile of the ends of the trail bike or walk to work. I didn't see that number in the EA.

But hey, as long as its for bikes, closing a road used by 3200 people 19 years ago (would be much more now) and increasing traffic congestion at all associatied intersections by 70%-100% all so you can spend ~7.5 million rather than 10 million and have it open to everyone is A- ok.

by nookie on Jun 22, 2010 1:24 pm • linkreport

@dynaryder How about a camp for troubled city youth?

by F. Sheehan on Jun 22, 2010 1:36 pm • linkreport

nookie-the values you mention (30-70%) are not volume. They are seconds. Regarless of the LOS grade diffs in each study there is no evidence that opening the valley to cars would have an effect - indeed that the conclusion from the 2004 study would be changed from the conclusion that opening to cars would worsen the LOS at Porter & Conn Av. There's no evidence. You are speculating and assuming.

4.5-6.5$ mil. will be spent to restore/ maintain water sewage, reatining walls, creek bed, etc. regrdless of whether the trail is upgraded or not.

The fact that you think there are only two places/ways to access the trail indicates your lack of knowledge of it. Your anecdotal evidence about "30 users"/day walking is not evidence of anything. I have that kind of evidence too - one day in April 2010 in a 20 minute period at one access point I saw 15 people walking on the trail.

Thanks City Council for listening to your constituents and voting 10-3 for a hiker-biker trail connecting the RC trail and the Bike Rte on Woodley Rd.!

by Bianchi on Jun 22, 2010 1:40 pm • linkreport

Why not a road exclusive to motor vehicles? Explanation: The needs of 52% of the residents in the 1 mile(?) circumference around the trail who make their trips on foot or bike.

Whatever the source of this figure, surely it cannot be of much relevance to the use of Klingle Road/trail because much of that walking/biking is likely to many other destinations (including Metro) that have nothing to do with Klingle Road.

But even if it were directly relevant, why exclude a use that 48% of those residents might engage the road for? Is this just blunt democracy? If so, DDOT better start removing all those bike lanes.

by ah on Jun 22, 2010 1:42 pm • linkreport

@ah-completely disagree that klingle is not a walking/biking access to metro/busses. Personal experience.

Those 48% aren't excluded. As a trail it is open to all. As a road exclusive to cars it would be - exclusive to cars.

by Bianchi on Jun 22, 2010 1:46 pm • linkreport

@ah, the easment is not wide enough for two lanes for cars and anything else, not shoulders, not bike lanes. In 2004 a compromise was presented to the Linda Cropp Committe of the whole - one lane for cars and space for a trail. This was rejected. The road advocates wanted all cars only.

by Bianchi on Jun 22, 2010 1:49 pm • linkreport

@Bianchi, since you won't answer my question as to why you wouldn't support sharing the road, why don't you respond to that fact that before this legislation you continue to regurgitate that the DC Council voted twice 10-3 on to EVER move FORWARD, the city must go through the Streets and Alley Closing Procedures Act which will take away the easement rights to the city and then the city won't have a say in what happens there because it will revert to the abutting property owners.

So all your LOS, 10-3 votes, and "widespread" support don't mean JACK!

by Bill on Jun 22, 2010 2:38 pm • linkreport

@ah The city has a 50-foot right of way, and like Klingle Road was before, we all shared the same road, bikes and vehicles.

by Bill on Jun 22, 2010 2:40 pm • linkreport

Those 48% aren't excluded. As a trail it is open to all. As a road exclusive to cars it would be - exclusive to cars.

Will this road be different from all others in the District (with the exception of I-395) in that it bans bicycles? Bikes share the road plenty of places--why not here?

As for your personal experience, that's not really the point. I find it highly unlikely that 52% of people within 1 mile walk on (or would find it convenient to walk or bike on) Klingle Road on their way to Metro, bus or subway. Happy to have you point me to the figures that show me wrong.

As for pedestrians, since this is parkland why is there a limitation that prevents the park service from creating a pedestrian trail outside the road limits that is limited exclusively to pedestrians?

by ah on Jun 22, 2010 2:50 pm • linkreport

@ Bill I never said I didn't support the compromise. I'm the one who mentioned it, "JACK!". Howver my preference is definitley for the no-cars option. The compromise, which i thought was a good idea at the time because it was a compromise that made no one happy and thus imo was a success, was rejected. The result is that we are moving forward with the plan I preferred anyway- yay!

The easment is definietly not 50 feet. I'm pretty sure it's 20". Easy to look this up. I'm 100% certain its not 50".

The land owners on either side of the easment are the NPS. NPS supports the trail.

I don't know for sure but I don't think the easment to the city is forfeited if motor vehicles are prohibited - that part is not as clear as you make it out. NPS supports DDOT plan for a trail.

by Bianchi on Jun 22, 2010 3:05 pm • linkreport

since this is parkland why is there a limitation that prevents the park service from creating a pedestrian trail outside the road limits. Because of the terrain. Most of it is a narrow gulch with stone cliffs/steep banks on one or two sides with the creek running through it. There's not room for two narrow lanes to accommodate cars plus a path for non-motorized use. Thats why the compromise suggestion was for one lane for cars. The terrain is why the previous road washed out so often.

Have you ever ridden a bike on Beach Dr. not when its closed to cars? Do your really need to ask why bikes and cars wouldn't be able to successfully share a narrow road? But this is a moot point.

The terrain makes the spot unsuitable for a road (hence its previous frequent and costly need for repair) - unless the creek is completely channelized and much of the valley paved - to do that would require permission from NPS -and they've made it clear they're not giving permission for that. Thank Goodness!

by Bianchi on Jun 22, 2010 3:22 pm • linkreport

Have you ever ridden a bike on Beach Dr. not when its closed to cars? Do your really need to ask why bikes and cars wouldn't be able to successfully share a narrow road? But this is a moot point.

Let's not forget, the road would be extremely steep, and given the fact that drivers are incapable of following any posted speed limits, the speed differences would be even greater.

For my part, I support the closing of Klingle Road to auto traffic because I support the closing of *any* road to auto traffic. The harder it is to operate a private motor vehicle within DC city limits, the happier I'll be.

I recognize I'm an outlier, but there you go.

by oboe on Jun 22, 2010 3:30 pm • linkreport


I lived at the intersection of Klingle and Cortland for years, so please enlighten me as to the other accesses to the road that aren't either the beginning or the end? Is there some magical staircase leading down from Connecticut, perhaps another hidden access road only you know about?

Really...I'm waiting, but like that 52% number I asked you (along with others but you seem to have made it up) to link to, I won't hold my breath.

And yes, LOS refers to time spent waiting. In this case the time spent waiting increased 70-100% over the 2004 study which despite you being told was wrong in EVERY way (see linked EA) you continue to reference to like it is gospel, and no my numbers weren't subjective, but quantified, unlike your off the top dalliances.

Still waiting for that 52% number...

by nookie on Jun 22, 2010 3:32 pm • linkreport

The easment is definietly not 50 feet.

Whatever the easement, the report at the link says the DDOT Right of way is 50 feet.

@ Bianchi -- I think it's a bit much to say it's unsuitable for a road. We don't know that because the DC Council voted to ban any further studies of a road for cars. I'm pretty confident a road that would survive washouts could be built, and that there's enough room for a two-lane road plus bike lane, which was one of the options listed by a 2001 DDOT study.

by ah on Jun 22, 2010 3:38 pm • linkreport

@nookie-well howdy neighbor! I lived at Cortland and 28th for years! (And still own property there.) But I used Klingle as a foot crossing from Mt.P to Conn. Av years before I moved to CP to get to -UDC-!

Lets see, in addition to Klingle road, enter Valley from path along Devonshire, path behind swings in Woodley Playground, path at end of playground, Paths(plural) from Tregaron which has at least 3 entrances, hill from Conn Av. (I've done this many, many, many, many x. No need for a staircase. Just fitness)

Trip survey conducted by Berger study. Methods solid/standard/identifiable to anyone who has done community based research -not assumptions like in the "Synchro" traffic method.

The 70% figure refers to seconds, Not volume. Again, there is no evidence that conclusions re: LOS at intersections would be different then they currently are if road were rebuilt. Starting/base LOS is different b/c of berger using "Synchro" assumptions, but thats all that is changed. The baseline. There is no evidence the outcome of "little to no difference" would be different.

That's it. goodbye.

by Bianchi on Jun 22, 2010 3:53 pm • linkreport


Thanks for proving me correct, that you COMPLETELY made up that 52% number. Your arguments are worthless if you have to lie to substaniate them.

Also, you have to be joking that despite the black and white evidence provided in the EA above (i.e., Berger didn't even get the width of the road correct), you are STILL defending it. Truely amazing.

And lastly, you really make me laugh. When I ask you for actual "entrances" to the road, you give me squirrel trails accessible only if you jump the guard rail at the end of the connecticut ave bridge, or a dirt path from behind a park. Golly gee Bianchi, how many DC residences in CP/Woodley are soley accessible by dirt path?

Yeah, your entire argument = fail. Congrats.

by nookie on Jun 22, 2010 4:01 pm • linkreport

@ ah, how do you explain the frequent wash-outs and road closings prior to 1991 if "its a bit much to say it's unsuitable for a road"?

The option w/ two lanes and a bike lane was rejected b/c it required permission from NPS who wouldn't give it.

I'm pretty confident a road that would survive washouts could be built, clearly so but not w/o completely channelizing the creek and paving most of the valley -which the NPS has made clear they won't give permission for. The road was obviously not constructed to those standards before. The easment is not clear-cut. Any road building/path building requires cooperation from NPS, who supports a bike trail, and they supported the road only as long as the easment was not violated (i.e. not room for two lanes plus a bike lane, or the major re-engineering of the gulch needed to build a road that wouldn't wash out with every rain)

by Bianchi on Jun 22, 2010 4:03 pm • linkreport

nookie-you are resorting to calling me a liar. Classy.

how many DC residences in CP/Woodley are soley accessible by dirt path? wha? entrances to the valley, not residences.

You need to get outside more. I reccommend the Melvin Hazen trail (its a dirt path) right off Conn, Ave at Rodman St NW. From the end of it you can turn right and come back up Klingle Valley, and exit Klingle valley before you get to the southern barricade by another dirt path to th east, leading to Devonshire.

Its fun and beautiful!

by Bianchi on Jun 22, 2010 4:12 pm • linkreport

"@ ah, how do you explain the frequent wash-outs and road closings prior to 1991 if "its a bit much to say it's unsuitable for a road"?"

The road somehow made it 100 years to 1990. It suffered a major washout in 1990, but it wasn't constant. But even so, construction techniques have improved and so has DDOT's willingness actually to maintain roads, which it was not doing with Klingle.

If you can't build a road that won't wash out, how can we expect a bike path not to wash out? There is no engineering obstacle to rebuilding the road properly. There is solely an environmental/political obstacle.

by ah on Jun 22, 2010 4:23 pm • linkreport

@Bianchi to your comment: "The land owners on either side of the easment are the NPS. NPS supports the trail."

I'm not sure any of us should be responding to your posts as most of what you say is inaccurate. First, there are other owners abutting the Road as well who OPPOSE a hike/bike trail. The Embassy of India and the Tregaron Limited Partnership, the latter of which supports the opening of Klingle Road to vehicles because they want to build 5 houses along Klingle Road. They are abutting property owners. They are the only ones who can actually sue the city. Got that?

Second, there is a 50-foot right of way. The city was given a 50-foot right-of-way for the "highway" in 1885, five years before Rock Creek National Park was established. It's shown here:

And again, you refuse to even acknowledge the Streets and Alley Closing Act and the hearing before the DC Council BEFORE anything happens.

How about you @nookie, you and I seem to be on the same page, you get it right?

by Bill on Jun 22, 2010 4:36 pm • linkreport

Construction techniques have improved and so has DDOT's willingness actually to maintain roads, which it was not doing with Klingle[...]There is solely an environmental/political obstacle...

Ah the irony!

Now that DDOT's got the "willingness" to maintain roads, they lack only the "willingness" to construct them!


by oboe on Jun 22, 2010 4:40 pm • linkreport

You guys should debate the Wisconsin & Newark Street Giant too.

by Graham S on Jun 22, 2010 7:10 pm • linkreport

Ask and ye shall receive:

(there are other threads, just use the search function)

by Andrew on Jun 22, 2010 7:48 pm • linkreport

Actually, the Roadies should be happy about this EA. They will either get their road back, or it will sit just like this for another 20 years.

Bets are on.

by Bill on Jun 22, 2010 8:19 pm • linkreport

I favor the Klingle bike trail, but have to say that I enjoy the frank debate on this forum. Even when I disagree with the views expressed, they are often well reasoned and challenge my thinking. There was once another forum like this in Cleveland Park but then the "owner" began censoring views that he disagreed with, spiking contrary messages and skewing debate and so-called"polls" to support whatever position he favored. As a result, a lot of discussion of more serious issues eventually left that list serv, to be replaced by household hints, sponsored ads and advice columns. Glad to see that GGW fills the void!

by Bella on Jun 22, 2010 9:42 pm • linkreport


It's a red herring to say that Tregaron Limited Partnership, overseas developers who got permission for several home sites on the closed portion of Klingle Road, could sue the city. At the HPRB hearing several years ago when the five lots were carved out, their attorneys acknowledged that their clients were assuming the risk that the road would never be rebuilt. And, if fact, if the developers chose, they could build (and pay for) a private access driveway across their own lots. The fact that they want Joe Taxpayer to build a public road to make their land more valuable doesn't give them a private right of action against the city. By the way, the developers also got three homesites along public streets (Macomb and Woodley at Courtland) but never built anything.

As Mary Cheh and a majority of the council members put it several years ago, Klingle is a poor site for a road and it's time to move on.

by Molly T on Jun 22, 2010 9:53 pm • linkreport

Re: lighting on the trail.

Bike commuters don't need lighting, but appreciate it if it's there. I've commuted on the Custis Trail, which is lighted, and that's great. I've also commuted on the WOD in Fairfax and the Capital Crescent, which aren't lighted (and the CCT can be wicked dark back in those trees). There are lots of bike commuters on both of these trails. The regulars outfit themselves with lights.

Pedestrians, on the other hand, pretty much require lighting to use trails at night. So if the trail is intended to provide access for pedestrians, it probably needs light. Remember, in the winter, it's dark by 5:00 in the evening.

by Steve O on Jun 22, 2010 11:48 pm • linkreport

I live alongside Klingle Valley on Connecticut Avenue and regularly walk, bike, metro, and drive through the area. The valley quickly has become one of my favorite spots in Washington for its natural beauty and escape from the chaos of Connecticut Avenue above.

I wanted to first say this has been a great thread, most of everyone's arguments have been backed up with well researched facts and I can empathize with the rebuild the road, build a bike-path, and build nothing arguments.

The only new idea I have to add is that of a a 'controlled flow' road. Would it be possible to build a one-lane road which could be utilized by cars during peak travel times (AM and PM commute), and then at other times be open only to pedestrian and bike traffic? I know something similar is in place on Beach Road with weekend use.

If you haven't visited it yet, Klingle Valley is a true gem in NW DC and it would be a shame to lose it to a two lane road; at the same time though, it seems DDOT invested a lot of money in what I see as a defunct interchange at Porter and Klingle and it would equally be a shame to lose a convenient commuter corridor which could potentially provide some relief to traffic congestion (I realize how much relief is up for debate).

I do have one solution for DDOT (or whatever agency ends up constructing the trail). In an effort to save money and act in a more environmentally friendly manner by utilizing existing materials, they can pay me 1/2 of what they were planning to pay a contractor to construct the Bike Path and I'll grab a bunch of my fraternity brothers and trim back the trees, break up crumbling concrete, and utilize the existing road structure for the path.

by Jeffrey on Jun 23, 2010 12:15 pm • linkreport

@ ah, see information in FAQ regarding NPS and right of way for building a road to current standards.

by Bianchi on Jun 23, 2010 12:59 pm • linkreport

@ ah et al, the right-of-way is approximately 32 feet at its narrowest point and approximately 56 at its widest according to NPS documents.

by Bianchi on Jun 23, 2010 1:02 pm • linkreport

Okay, according to the easement posted above and DDOT docs, DC has a 50-foot ROW. But even if it's narrower in places I question why NPS would be unwilling to grant ROW for a bike and/or pedestrian path within NPS boundaries.

I don't see in the FAQ the NPS's analysis of engineering possibilities, but maybe I'm missing the exact text you're referring me to. But NPS isn't exactly a road-engineering department.

by ah on Jun 23, 2010 1:16 pm • linkreport

see FAQ "If Klingle was a road 10 years ago, how come it can't just be repaved and re-opened?" and other parts.

by Bianchi on Jun 23, 2010 1:27 pm • linkreport

I guess I read that differently, and that it notes only that there are engineering challenges to overcome and environmental concerns. As I said before, 20 years has added techniques and the obstacles are political/environmental, not engineering.

by ah on Jun 23, 2010 1:49 pm • linkreport

pretty sure it quotes NPS reasons it won't give permission for the construction of a road - b/c it's too destructive to the park and necessitates major construction outside the easment boundaries. Yes, that encorportates both environmental and political concerns. Name a project that doesn't.

by Bianchi on Jun 23, 2010 2:12 pm • linkreport

@ah see my comment above; I concurred a road can be built. Never said it couldn't. i pointed out what would have to occur (environmental destruction) and political hurdle (overcoming NPS's mission -only one hurdle) for it to happen.

by Bianchi on Jun 23, 2010 2:22 pm • linkreport

I know this thread is old but wanted to just offer that I am a Mount Pleasant resident and while many try to paint this as a battle between West vs East of the park, I and many of my neighbors actually support the trail.
So what if it takes us four minutes longer to drive to woodley park. This trail would offer something much better. Car free enjoyment of serene parkland. Rock Creek National Park is littered with cars and the sound and air pollution they bring. I would love for this trail to offer a space to jog that is free from exhaust and noise. The road has been closed for 15 years. If there was a need to rebuild it would be evident but is not.

by Anon on Jun 24, 2010 11:26 pm • linkreport

Please don't buy that east vs. west, rich vs. poor thing. I live, like, 15 minutes from Klingle by bike, which to some of you must be way across town, in Petworth. But I don't for a minute think the park/trail is only valuable when I use it personally. It also matters because the stream there feeds Rock Creek, which in turn feeds the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay. That is the watershed for which I have personal responsibility to maintain. We all to. Avoiding pollutants in Klingle's stream obviates an auto road there.

by Lisa on Jun 25, 2010 9:35 pm • linkreport

Rehashing the road-versus-trail arguments is flogging a very dead horse. Fact is, the "roadies" won the Klingle war, 100 percent, total victory, in 2003, with the Council act calling for the restoration of the car-only road, with no provision for bicycles, no provision for pedestrians (the ROW is too narrow). Then the Federal Government quietly stonewalled the project, rejecting the Environmental Impact Study repeatedly. As Jim Graham said in 2008, "the handwriting is on the wall" -- the Fed Govt won't allow the road. And that was under a Republican administration! Hence, it's going to be a bike/hike trail, and no way is the District Council going to revive those angry Klingle Road debates and try that route again.

It's going to be a trail, of one sort or another, or it's going to be nothing. But it's not going to be an automobile road. Give it up and move on to a debate having some connection to reality.

by Jack on Jun 27, 2010 10:02 pm • linkreport

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