County to Now Study School Bus Parking Districtwide, Shady Grove Bus Depot Not Moving Anytime Soon

UPDATED Montgomery County officials plan to help the Montgomery County Public Schools district with a growing problem: school bus parking.

That’s the word from General Services Director David Dise, who said instead of relocating the school buses from the Shady Grove depot to a different site the county will now be studying the problem of parking buses all along the system.

“We are in discussions with schools on helping them address a larger problem,” said Dise.

In other words, he said, the Shady Grove Bus Depot is not moving anytime soon.

The decision to step back from relocating the buses at the Shady Grove Depot emerged during internal meetings with County Executive Ike Leggett, said Dise.

According to Dise, with the district’s incredible rate of growth there are challenges parking buses at all of the depots.

“They have significant overcrowding challenges that affect their ability to move them around,” Dise said.

He said there has been no timetable for the new study, which will look at transportation funding and infrastructure.

While the comprehensive analysis is underway, he said, the county will help MCPS anyway it can with maintenance.

Dise said he has notified several County Councilmembers about the county’s new study, as well as the chief operating officer at the school district and the county’s regional services centers, which deal directly with residents. He said no community meetings are planned at this time.

Leggett said the depot issue has “so many moving pieces.” He said there would be a domino effect if they make one change.

“The school depot system needs to re-evaluate what you do [on the depots],” Leggett said. “They’re running out of space, and there are environmental challenges.”

Rather than try to deal with one portion, he decided they look at all the depots.

Residents in the Flower Valley neighborhood have been following this issue closely because they were concerned the Shady Grove buses might be moved to Avery Road.

“I am strongly opposed to Avery Road,” said Montgomery County Councilmember Sidney Katz, who said he learned Tuesday afternoon of the county executive’s plan to study the bus parking situation systemwide. Katz said some residents have expressed concerns that the buses will end up at the Carver or Westmore sites but he said that is not going to happen.

Craig Falk is a member of the Executive Committee of the Flower Valley Citizens’ Association. In September, he helped organize a rally against moving the Shady Grove bus depot on Crabbs Branch Road to Avery Road.

“The residents of Flower Valley and the surrounding neighborhoods greet with relief the decision that the County Executive and Council will not proceed at the present time with locating a bus depot with hundreds of busses and support vehicles in the already congested traffic corridor of Norbeck Drive,” he said in an email. “We are grateful to Councilmember Sid Katz and everyone else who supported our community and called for a comprehensive review to address the challenge of parking the school system’s fleet of buses. We thank the County Executive for pausing the process to address the larger issues that reflect the negative fallout that would have resulted from locating a bus depot on Avery Road adjacent to the critical Rock Creek Park and watershed.”

Right now, MCPS has five bus depots: Bethesda, Clarksburg, Randolph in Silver Spring, Shady Grove North and South in Derwood and West Farm in Silver Spring. Calls and emails to MCPS’ public information and transportation offices for more information about the number of buses at these depots were not returned today.

Staff writer Douglas Tallman contributed to this report.

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at sburke@mymcmedia.org or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.

Comments

One Response to “County to Now Study School Bus Parking Districtwide, Shady Grove Bus Depot Not Moving Anytime Soon”

  1. On April 26, 2017 at 1:45 pm responded with... #

    This is ridiculous… kicking the can down the road — one more time!!




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