Even the various parties who prepared the draft Klingle Trail Environmental Assessment couldnt ignore the Catch-22 situation inherent in the attempt to replace a section of Klingle Road with a trail, and their attempts to draft around the problems would have made George Orwell proud.
The final assessment says that the prior version erred in stating that construction of the trail would require removal of the roadway from the DC functional classification map, and compliance with the D.C. Street and Alley Closing Act. The drafters of the final assessment (see pp. S-2-3) have decided that for some purposes (construction of a trail to replace most of the pavement) a road can be closed to traffic but for other purposes (retaining the easement that gave the City the road in the first place) the road remains open, at least in some technical sense. In other words, when is a road not a road? When those responsible for an environmental assessment attempt to figure out a way around the quite real problems posed by applicable law and regulations and say (with straight faces, apparently) that the "public" part of a right-of-way refers only to non-motorized transportation and (limited) access for emergency, utility and maintenance vehicles.
Fortunately, it is not too late. The Mayor and Council, before spending any more from the strained D.C. budget, would be wise to consider whether the addition of a hike-bike trail right next to over 1700 mostly-car-free acres in Rock Creek Park (which itself contains extensive hike/bike trails) is a responsible use of D.C. funds. They should also re-examine the issues raised in this newspaper by Mr. William H. Carroll and others and should follow the procedures of the Street and Alley Closing Act, including a public hearing.