D.C. road to be converted to multi-use trail

WASHINGTON — It’s been closed to traffic since 1991, but today, the District is one step closer to converting Klingle Road to a multi-use trail.

On Thursday, crews and the District Department of Transportation held a community meeting in Cleveland Park, detailing their timeline for the Klingle Valley Project. Geoff Pelletier is the construction manager.

“We’re starting a new phase just this week with stream restoration on Klingle Creek, which runs right along the old Klingle Road and the future Klingle Trail,” Pelletier said.

The project calls for the restoration of the stream to take place during the winter months to prevent a disruption to the ecosystem in the spring.

“For the next three, three-and-a-half months,” Pelletier said, “we’re going to be working in Klingle Creek – getting the stream restored – repairing the erosion that’s been going on for many years there and trying to prevent it in the future as well.”

The urban creek is largely shaped by runoff from flooding and debris flows. Since the creek lies in a steep hollow, erosion has taken a toll on its banks. Pelletier says bombardment from urban runoff has left some sections with deep, eight foot cuts in the earth and tree loss.

HNTB Corporation, the contractor in charge of the restoration, plans to reduce the risk of future erosion by installing terraced stone walls, step pools and strategically placed logs from felled trees that will meter the flow of water during storm events.

Concurrent with the restoration, a gas line — unearthed by erosion — will be relocated by Washington Gas.

Construction of the trail alongside the stream is scheduled to begin in March. Crews will work from west to east, beginning near the Woodley Park Towers near Connecticut Avenue. The trail’s surface will be water permeable to further reduce the effects of runoff.

“There will be lighting throughout,” Pelletier said. “There will be benches at each of the trailheads. It will be multi-use so it will be a bicycle and pedestrian trail and it will connect to the Rock Creek multi-use trail down by Porter Street.”

At Thursday’s meeting, some residents expressed concerns over the proposed lighting, which will remain illuminated all night long. Wildlife, they worry, will be disturbed by the brightness. The park sits on the fringes of Rock Creek Park. Others voiced concerns over crime and which jurisdiction will be responsible for patrolling the new path.

Most attendees welcomed the work which has been on the drawing board for nearly 15 years since the first feasibility study was conducted back in 2001. The closed road has served as an unofficial pathway for residents in the years since.

“Still, every day we see joggers, people walking their dogs and cyclists on Klingle Road and I’ll continue to put my plea out there: please stay off the closed section of Klingle Road. It’s certainly not safe for motorists but it’s not safe for pedestrians or for any recreational activities.”

Pelletier insists that the end result will be worth the wait. The entire project is on track for completion by the end of 2016.

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