Housing Complex

Klingle Trail Hurdles NEPA, But Don’t Expect Action Soon

The anointed alternative. (DDOT)

Could it be coming to an end? Could it possibly?

Well, a part of it, at least. Today, the District Department of Transportation released its National Environmental Policy Act-required Finding of No Significant Impact (affectionately known as a Fonzi) on a plan for the Klingle Trail–the washed-out road that once connected Woodley Park with Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park. The issuance of FONSI means that the proposal won't negatively affect the surrounding environment, and won't have to go through a lengthy environmental impact statement process. The preferred alternative, a 10-foot-wide permeable pathway with bollard lighting, will cost about $6.76 million to complete–more than the concrete road option, but less than what it would have cost to make the gravel pathway 12 feet wide.

Next step for the most contentious road in Washington: Lock down funding in the city's fiscal year 2012 budget to actually engineer the thing. And then get the money needed to construct it, which will be a mix of federal and local dollars. And then, most likely, get the City Council to perform a formal street closing [UPDATE, Thursday March 10: The plan will not require a street closing]. Bottom line: Nothing happens before 2013. Plenty of time to derail this debacle once again!

  • In MD

    Actually, the NEPA finding is called a "FONSI"; Fonzi[e] was a character in a 1970s sitcom ....

  • http://dcjack.org Jack

    Formal closing of the street is NOT necessary. It will be maintained as a public right-of-way for pedestrian, bicycle, and utility/maintenance vehicle use. The only remaining obstacle is funding, of which the Feds will pay 80%. Given the urgent need to deal with the drainage issues, which represent most of the cost, and the modest total cost, this does not warrant your heavy pessimism.

  • Mary

    To be called an open road this ROAD must allow all motor vehicle traffic, not just trucks, ALL motor vehicle traffic. Check Ddot defintions, right-of-way land or interest therein acquired for or devoted to District highway purposes. Yes, it will have to go through the street and alley closing act procedures if the land is not going to be used as a road but a hike/bike path. The Feds. will also pay 80% of building a road that everyone can drive on and connects the east-west route, and this alternative will be most cost efficient. A 7 million dollar political bike path defies common sense.

  • Bill

    Why on Earth would this council vote for a dime to make another hike/bike path in Ward 3? This has been a rich man's efforts all along to stop traffic passing through their neighborhood and not once have I read any facts saying there is even a need for.

    We all know there is a need for the road.

    Let's hope this gets derailed.

  • ADP

    The Klingle trail vs road thing may get reconsidered downtown from an economic development perspective. The Cathedral Commons development on Wisconsin Ave. is trying to line up investors so they can break ground. I understand their economic model depends on better access to customers from east of the Park, and Giant has told the Mayor's office in no uncertain terms that if they want this project to happen, they better improve traffic access via open Klingle or Porter.