Klingle Valley Multi–use Trail
Closed segment of Klingle Road from Cortland Place to Porter Street, NW
Dear Mr. Brown:
In its meeting of 17 July, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a proposed design for a multi-use trail and streambed restoration project associated with the closed segment of Klingle Road between Cortland Place and Porter Street, NW, and approved the design with the condition that the final documentation respond to its comments.
The Commission members continued to express support for the project, characterizing the undertaking as being a great improvement for this neglected segment of the city's park system. They commented that the presentation—while better documenting the proposed design—did little to respond to their previous concerns stated in the public meeting of 19 June regarding the overly urban character of what should be a pathway within the greater woodland context of Rock Creek Park and its tributary valleys. However, they supported the proposed design of the heavy timber fence as appropriate for the park setting, and they accepted DDOT's proposal to specify metal benches, light standards, and trash receptacles as belonging to a related group of street furniture.
As the final documentation for the project is prepared, the Commission members requested more thoughtful development of the plans as the cumulative interaction of many elements. For example, they noted the location of a trash receptacle directly in front of a bench at the Cortland Street trailhead as well as the proposal for a grass parkway strip nearby, where pedestrian traffic on this narrow remnant of turf will likely create maintenance problems. Most significantly, they raised concerns that the proposal to create planted areas of ground cover and shrubbery near the bases of existing trees may in fact damage the trees; they instead recommended adding understory trees and developing a tree-protection strategy for the project.
In conclusion, the Commission advised that the final design proceed carefully and thoughtfully to treat these much-needed improvements as part of a park landscape rather than a streetscape, with particular concern for the preservation of existing mature trees. Please coordinate with the Commission staff in responding to these comments as the final documentation of the design is prepared for completion of the final review and approval action.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Matthew Brown, Interim Director
D.C. Department of Transportation
55 M Street, SE, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20003