- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 13, 2001

"Reopen Pennsylvania Avenue" has become a battle cry for D.C. leaders including Mayor Anthony A. Williams who say the closed street creates traffic jams and hurts downtown businesses.
But those same leaders have been less vocal when it comes to calling for the reopening of another blocked-off east-west thoroughfare: Klingle Road.
That could change today, as Mr. Williams is expected to announce his plan for the future of Klingle Road, according to staffers.
Supporters of the movement to reopen the flood-damaged road are concerned about the secrecy surrounding the mayor's announcement.
"Whatever the mayor says, it still has to go through the council for approval," said Peter McGee of the Coalition to Reopen Klingle Road. "We think it will be a pretty tough battle if he decides to close the road."
News that the mayor planned to weigh in on the issue caught D.C. Council members by surprise.
Democratic members Harold Brazil, at large; Adrian Fenty, Ward 4; and Jim Graham, Ward 1 all supporters of reopening the road were unaware the mayor had staked out a position.
Officials in the office of council Chairman Linda Cropp revealed she was completely in the dark about any changes on the road's status.
Mr. Fenty said he expects Mr. Williams to repair and reopen the road.
"I support reopening, and I believe the vast majority of Ward 4 residents feel our roads are tied up. We need as many routes as possible to ease traffic," Mr. Fenty said. He also said, "If the mayor does not open the road, he will face a tough fight in the council."
Traveling through Rock Creek Park was a lot easier 10 years ago, when Klingle was open. Klingle Road took motorists from Park Road NW in Ward 1 and Beach Drive in Ward 4 to 34th Street in Ward 3 in less than 10 minutes.
"With Porter Street, Tilden Street and the Calvert Street turnoff as the only east-west routes across the park, it can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes to get to Ward 3 from Ward 1," said Laurie Collins of the Klingle Coalition.
A long section of Klingle Road was washed out in 1991 by heavy rains similar to those that caused massive flooding in the city on Aug. 12 of this year. Since then, the road has remained cracked and impassible, covered over in dirt, and the Connecticut Avenue underpass on Klingle Road has continued to deteriorate.
"At first the city said they didn't have enough money to fix it. Then they started dragging their feet," Mr. McGee said.
"The police and fire department unions and more than eight advisory neighborhood commissioners [ANC] are all supportive of the reopening."
The Berger report, which came out in August, suggests that the best option for Klingle Road is to rebuild it to its original alignment, including repair of the existing retaining walls and the repair or replacement of the existing drainage system.
Louis Berger Group Inc. is an international consulting firm for civil, structural and mechanical engineering.
Ward 3 ANCs are divided about the reopening, said commissioner Robert Martin.
"My sense is that our commission is divided on the issue," Mr. Martin said. "Some want to leave it alone, some want a bike path and others want a pedestrian mall."
Council member Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat, is also undecided, according to her spokeswoman.
"Kathy Patterson initially wanted the area preserved as green space. But she recognized that the city needed to do something about the traffic problems," spokeswoman Penny Pagano said.

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