Housing Complex

Klingle Trail Has Become Genuinely Impassable

A dismaying thing to find on a morning run. (Lydia DePillis)

It's been formally off limits for almost two decades now, but Klingle Road/Trail/Valley has at least been navigable by foot for most of it. Residents have been accustomed to using it as a jogging and dog walking path, enjoying the sense of elegant decay that comes from a quiet, overgrown road with no cars.

Recently, though, I couldn't find a way around gigantic fallen trees and sheets of ice blanketing the crumbling concrete. So much for small transgressions.

Anyway, we should see a little movement on the long-simmering issue soon. The environmental assessment presented this June is in the process of digesting public comments, and is scheduled to be released by the end of the month. Barring successful legal action by the abutting Tregaron property owners, that could smooth the way towards the construction of a hike-bike path that people don't have to pass fences to use.

  • Mary

    Build the road, build the houses that Tregaron promised DC when they got their tax free park. This hike/bike path to nowhere is useless. Go jog on the Tregaron paths. If the houses are not built then Tregaron will loose its tax free status and the whole area sits and rots. What a waste! DC was given this land for a road, so build the road already!

  • Rick Mangus

    This is a typical case of the Government of the District of Columbia approach to optimum incompetence!

  • Bob

    With all due respect, Mary has her facts wrong about Tregaron. One can have a view one way or another on whether the Klingle r.o.w. should be rebuilt as a road or a path, but let's not cloud the discussion with incorrect statements.
    --The status of the Tregaron Conservancy, including its tax status as publicly accessible open space, has nothing to do with whether the developer or its successors ultimately build on the several lots provided in the HPRB plan for the Tregaron property. The agreement did provide that, if lots are sold, the developer will make certain additional cash contributions to the conservancy, but the conservancy is not dependent on those funds and his its own fundraising.
    --The two home lots approved on Macomb Street (and a lot at the intersection of Woodley and Klingle) are still unbuilt several years after they were approved, although there is obviously street acess.
    --At the HPRB hearing several years ago, the developer's attorneys at Arnold & Porter explcitly acknowledged that there was no assurance that the DC government would ever rebuild Klingle Road as a public street.
    --Nothing prevents the developer from building private driveway access across their lots to connect them to the public street. (Of course, they would obviously prefer to have the taxpayers provide access to them.)
    --The argument that Klingle was given to DC for a "highway" (and will somehow revert to the grantors' heirs if not so used) is a tired, old canard. In any event, the only vehicles on the roads back then were pulled by horse and donkey. Perhaps the best use for Klingle would be to turn it into a horse trail!
    --Visit Tregaron. It is beautiful and certainly not "rotten." The conservancy has done a wonderful job restoring trails, ponds and garden vistas. It is free and open to the public and one of two urban land conservancies that enhance Cleveland Park and our city!

  • Mary

    The attorney who testified for Tregaron to get its tax free status with the District of Columbia told the city council the 8 housing lots would give back tax revenue to the District and therefore creating a park and taking $6.5 million dollar land off the residential land market and creating a tax free park would be fine for all. This testimony occured AFTER the HPRB hearing. Now to make the 8 housing lots not functional is a lie by the tregaron people. So where is the justice? Build the road that existed for 139 years, long after the horse and buggy days, and get the building lots viable. Alternative is Tregaron looses its tax free status and let them use that fund raising to pay the DC taxes on the park.

  • Sarah

    "Go tell the Roadies,
    Go tell the Roadies,
    Go tell the Roadies,
    that old Klingle Road is dead."

  • Bob

    "If the houses are not built then Tregaron will lose its tax free status."

    I don't think so. It is not a condition of the Tregaron Conservancy's tax status that Klingle Road is rebuilt just so that some developer can build mini-mansions there. (As a land conservancy open to the public, Tregaron's tax status is no different than similar properties like Rosedale or Dumbarton Oaks.) And the only body that could change Tregaron's tax status is the DC Council, which -- having voted not to build a road there -- is unlikely to do so. (And, speaking of lawsuits, the Conservancy would certainly challenge any change.) Finally, I wouldn't worry about any speculative tax revenue loss to the city because some Klingle mini-mansions aren't built. Klingle Valley Park will certainly raise the property values -- and the assessments --of nearby residential properties in Woodley Park.

    Klingle as a motor vehicle road is gone. It's not coming back. It's high time to move on.

  • Mary

    You missed the point Bob, Rosedale agreed to a limited number of houses 5 or 6 that were built, to keep the open green space. Tregaron agreed to a limited number of houses 8 to be built to create the 13 acre tax free park, now they need to get the 8 housing lots buildable and live up to the agreement. Tregaron Conservancy lawyer clearly said the housing lots and future homes and their taxes would offset the tax free status of the park. If you then put in legislation to take away the 5 house lots on Klingle Road then Tregaron is not living up to its 8 housing lots thus the Conservancy should lose its tax free park. What the DC council gives they can also take back. The city council was not told that voting for a hike/bike path on Klingle cut tax revenues previously promised to the city, in perpetuity. The hike/bike is another park in the middle of a road that is used every day, next to a 13 acre park, next to Rock Creek park. This is a useless waste of land that does not add to any residential home values but satisfies the selfish few in Cleveland Park.