Klingle Valley Trail Project – Trail Construction Meeting

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) held a meeting Thursday at the Cleveland Park Library to present a project schedule update regarding the continuing trail construction phase of the Klingle Valley Trail construction project.
Attendee awaits beginning of presentation.
Image: author
The lightly attended meeting provided a status update of the trail, which will be one of the few bicycle and pedestrian specific crossings through Rock Creek Park. The project will convert Klingle Road NW between Cortland Place and Porter Street into a multi-use trail.  

According to the presentation, the final paving may begin February or March, with the completion of the project to occur April or May of 2017.  The end date could be delayed due to weather of complications resulting from unanticipated sewer and gas line work, which could add as much as 90 days to the project schedule.

The trail will use the latest in green infrastructure components, such as permeable pavement and bioretention techniques Bioswale along the north shoulder of the trail. The project will also restore eroded segments of Klingle Creek and rebuild drainage structures along the trail.

DDOT representative discusses elements of trail construction.
Image: author
Klingle Road NW was closed between Cortland Place NW and Porter Street NW following a severe flood event in 1991. Over the next 25 years, residents argued over several rebuilding alternatives - from the restoration of the road for vehicles only to a mix of trail and road.

Eventually, DDOT, with the support of the Klingle Road Use Plan Approval Resolution of 2003, implemented an option that restored the creek that ran parallel to the road; repair or replace retaining walls, gas and sewage infrastructure; and replace Klingle Road with a trail.

The trail and its surrounding creek and valley components contain several unique features. The trail will be 12 feet wide and made of  semi-permeable asphalt multiple supportive layers to help retail rain runoff or carry it away using a french drain technique.  The trail will include 52 new LED-style lights that will face down on the trail to reduce glare and light pollution. At the initial meeting, bicyclists noted that the Klingle Valley Trail required a curb-cut below the Porter Street bridge to allow for an easier connection to the Rock Creek Trail. That element has been included in the project. The creek the runs along the trail, as well as vegetation and protective elements like retaining walls have largely been restored.

Meeting addendees noted that the trail plan is lacking some elements. Currently, wayfinding signage
Artist rendition of the Trail
Image: DDOT
away from the trail (so that users can locate its entrance) is not included and direct access from Connecticut Avenue is not planned. Also, management of the trail and its surroundings is complicated. The trail is managed by the District, which could be DDOT or the Department of General Services, areas that abut the trail can be under the control of the National Park Service, the Zoo, or other organizations. Depending on where an infraction occurs, the Metropolitan Police Department or the Park Police may have jurisdiction. The DDOT representative used an example of a tree falling along the trail, stating that as many as tree entities may be responsible for removing it from the area that they have control.

An attendee noted after the meeting that credit for the existence of the trail goes the the bicycling community and other preservation organizations who pushed for the trail alternative.