Liveblogging the Council hearing…
OK, Finally the Council has gotten to Klingle again. This is the second reading and the final opportunity. Graham is saying that since it’s so late, he’s not going to reopen the entire discussion.
Whoops, but now he’s talking about it anyway. The question of whether it’s a road, he says, is different from whether it’s going to be a hiker-biker trail. Graham asked DDOT how much it will cost to build a bike path. Graham has repeatedly asked “with great intensity,” and last night, Moneme told him DDOT’s conclusion: it would cost $9.6 million to renovate into a way suitable for a bike path.
Graham is introducing an amendment. “Did you think it was just going to be a statement?” (Chuckles from around the table.) His amendment strikes the $2M of federal money allocated to the bike trail but leaves the language that the area won’t become a road. That way, Graham is saying, the Council can decide later what to do with the land.
Schwartz: The Council sent the message loud and clear that they don’t want a road. She disagrees strongly, still. But Rock Creek Park already has miles and miles of pedestrian and bicycle paths. So do we need another one at a cost of $10M, in a gorge that’s subject to flooding?
Bowser: We have a limited transportation network. That’s roads as well as transit. But she doesn’t think they’ve been presented with a good reason to make this a bike trail or park. Also, we still haven’t gotten an estimate for how many people will use the trail. There are many needs for bike trails in the city, but this focus on Klingle has distracted from the critical bike issues like commuting. This trail won’t do much for commuting, and she’s concerned other projects like the Blagden Trail and the Metropolitan Branch Trail will get tied up because of the focus on Klingle.
Cheh: This is just a maneuver to try to reverse the 10-3 vote last time. That’s revealed by the comments of Bowser who still wants a road there. Graham said he didn’t want to reprise the arguments, but they are sound. It’s an environmental imperative to keep the road closed to vehicular traffic like it has been for the last 17 years.
Mendelson: Great rhetoric from the opponents these last few minutes. But this hiker-biker trail isn’t from out of nowhere. So many alternatives was studied, and this is one of them. It’s time we move on. The valley has been languishing; we need repairs to the storm sewer system.
Barry: People have been able to traverse the city east and west for 17 years. We had ample time and an open process. Vote the amendment down and move on.
Aye: Schwartz, Bowser, Graham
No: Mendelson, Thomas, Wells, Alexander, Barry, Brown, Catania, Cheh, Evans, Gray
Same 10-3 as before. That’s it for Klingle for good (at least until the next Council budget…)