Klingle Road Redux
Sunday, May 11, 2003
THE D.C. COUNCIL acted in the best interest of all
District residents when it voted last week to reopen Klingle Road.
Restored and repaved, Klingle Road will become the key route across Rock
Creek Park that it was for at least 100 years before flooding led to its
closure in 1991. That it has taken nearly 12 years to resolve this
dispute is a wonder in itself. But public safety needs -- the use of the
road by emergency first responders and law enforcement agencies -- and
the importance of easing traffic congestion on the Connecticut Avenue
artery have finally won out over the desire of some to turn that
critical road into a recreational path.
The motion by Council member Phil
Mendelson (D-At Large) to reject Klingle Road's historic status would
have made the crosstown thoroughfare off-limits to ambulances, fire
trucks and wheelchair transport services. The council's 8 to 5 vote
against his motion was a victory for people who are, as Robert A.
Malson, president of the D.C. Hospital Association, said, "about the
business of providing hospital care and saving lives." A reopened
Klingle Road also links neighborhoods on both sides of Rock Creek Park.
To be sure, the closure of Klingle Road
has been a convenience for some. But as we've noted before, it has
burdened large numbers of other taxpayers who for decades used the road
as a crosstown alternative and as an access road to Rock Creek Park.
Moreover, public safety officials from the Fraternal Order of Police,
the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 36 and employee
groups representing paramedics and emergency medical technicians, as
well as the D.C. Hospital Association, have said that Klingle Road is
vital to the protection of life and property. But for an accident of
nature, there would be no Klingle Road controversy today. There need not
be one now.
The council has spoken. The mayor,
recognizing that the democratic process has taken its course, has said
he will abide by the council's decision to repave the road. It is
regrettable that some opponents of reopening the road would now threaten
litigation to get their way. But District leaders, on behalf of the
city, must stay on the course they have wisely chosen.
Washington Post Company