For the better part of 25 years, one group of DC residents wished to see the 2600 block of Klingle Road restored as a convenient east-west motorway linking Reno Road and Beach Drive. An exciting return to form – a classic venue for commuter traffic in our nation’s capital!
These traditionalists were opposed by those who preferred to see Klingle Road developed along the lines of its de facto function, as a rustic pedestrian pathway through Klingle Valley into Rock Creek Park. The two factions had it out in fits and starts across two decades and any number of community meetings, case studies, and legal filings. Until this dispute was finally resolved in 2014, Klingle Road received little to no attention from municipal work crews and stood as a monument to urban neglect and indecision.
Twenty-five years after Klingle Road first closed due to storm water damage, the cratered, eroded road has finally been replaced with a formal trail for hikers and bicyclists. A permit to begin restoration of the creek bed, retaining walls, and the installation of a new water permeable trail was granted in October 2014 and “Klingle Trail Completion” was a $3 million line item in the FY2013-2018 District Capital Improvements budget.
Time and shifting attitudes about what we want in our cities – more greenspace, and less traffic, as it turns out – mean that Klingle Road has finally become Klingle Trail.
The pedestrians won out for once, as people decided they liked the ruin of Klingle Road better than the road itself – a little insight gleaned from the wisdom of Mother Nature’s fury.
Rock Creek Park
Abandoned Washington DC by Thomas Kenning