News releases

Friends of the Earth and Sierra Club intervene in lawsuit to protect Klingle Valley

Posted Mar. 6, 2012 / Posted by: Kelly Trout

Environmental groups support D.C. Council decision to create a hiking and biking trail through Rock Creek Park on the site of Klingle Road — closed to motor vehicles since 1991

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club filed papers in federal court in Washington, D.C. opposing a lawsuit seeking to compel the reconstruction of Klingle Road through Klingle Valley in Rock Creek Park.

In the legal documents filed today by Friends of the Earth and Sierra Club, the groups contend that Klingle Road should not be reopened to auto traffic and that the D.C. Council made the correct decision when it voted in 2008 to construct a hiking and biking trail through the park on the former Klingle Road path.

The lawsuit, titled Black v. Holder, was filed in November 2011 by five residents of Ward 4. Both federal and District officials were named as defendants. Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club filed legal documents requesting that they be allowed to intervene on behalf of the government defendants.

Klingle Road is situated on the north boundary of the National Zoo and forms the western boundary of Rock Creek Park. Klingle Road was paved in the 1950s but was destroyed by a rainstorm in 1991. Since then the road has been closed to motor vehicle traffic.

Environmental groups have been fighting proposals to reconstruct the road for the past 20 years because rebuilding the road to accommodate motor vehicle traffic would worsen traffic congestion, adversely impact adjacent neighborhoods, impose exorbitant costs on taxpayers and create negative environmental and safety impacts. The latest road reconstruction plan was rejected by the D.C. Council four years ago and a hiking and biking trail was approved in its place.

"The D.C. Council made the right decision four years ago," said Brent Blackwelder, president emeritus of Friends of the Earth. "To build a financially and environmentally sound Washington, D.C., we need to stop spending money on exorbitantly expensive roads that clog neighborhood streets with traffic so a few residents can avoid stoplights. Instead, let's put our money to work creating recreational areas that improve our environment and can be enjoyed by all D.C. residents," he added.

"This beautiful little gorge is a gift to the citizens of our City, a jewel on the necklace that is Rock Creek Park," said Jim Dougherty, Conservation Chair for the DC Chapter of the Sierra Club. "Let us have one place in town where families can walk along a creek without being assaulted by automotive traffic," he added.

The motion to intervene filed by Friends of the Earth and Sierra Club is available here.

For more information, read Friends of the Earth's 2003 Washington, D.C. Green Scissors report discussing Klingle Road.

Contact:
Kelly Trout, Friends of the Earth, 202-222-0722, ktrout@foe.org
Jim Dougherty, Sierra Club, 202-488-1140, 202-607-7093 (cell)


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