Potential Bus Depot Location Causes Controversy
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Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) currently operates with six bus depots at its disposal. However, due to a recent sale of the Crabbs Branch Way location in Derwood MD, two bus depots, Shady Grove North and South, must be relocated to a new location.
There is much controversy about where the bus depot should go. Residents of Rockville, especially those who live in the Flower Valley, Manor Lake, Rock Creek, Twinbrook and Aspen Hill neighborhoods, are expressing outrage at the prospective site change. A possible proposal for a new location for this bus depot is on Avery Road, at the Blair Ewing Center.
“The site is well suited geographically and central to the County. The existing roadway network is also conducive to disbursing bus routes in all directions,” Greg Ossont, Montgomery County Department of General Services Deputy Director, said. “The size of the property is large enough to accommodate all of the MCPS needs and does not abut existing residential neighborhoods. Finally, the site is publicly owned so there is a significant cost savings to the County by not having to acquire a privately owned site.”
Many residents have concerns about the traffic congestion that the new bus depot could bring about, especially considering the already busy commute on Norbeck and Baltimore on weekday mornings.
“I hope that with the County Executive’s hearing and seeing pictures of all the people that showed up, it’ll make a difference,” RHS parent Lia Mai Puskar said. ”I think the citizens here care about this issue, and I hope that if anyone is on the ballot in November, people will voice their concerns with their vote and send a clear message that we don’t want this to happen and that county executives need to listen to their constituents.”
Aspen Hill Civic Association President Jamison Addock stated at a town hall meeting at the Bauer Community Recreation Center Sept. 8, that the proposal requires 35 acres of land. However, the Blair Ewing Center only has 22.5 acres according to eastmocoblogspot.com. The bus depot would have to be expanded into Rock Creek Park. Addock stated that residents estimated that building it would cost over 100 million dollars, while the county would only gain 30 million.
Maryland state representative, delegate Ben Kramer thinks that putting the bus depot on Avery Road should not even be put up for consideration. He believes a location for the depot should have been chosen before the current Crabbs Branch Way site was put at risk for closing.
“I absolutely think the responsible way to address this is to immediately take off Avery Road from consideration, and then start to look at what it is that can make sense,” Kramer said. “Whether that’s maintaining it in its existing location or somewhere else that’s reasonable, practical and logical – terrific – take Avery Road off the table.”