image

Hundreds Turnout for MCPS Meeting to Oppose the Relocation of School Buses in Rockville (VIDEOS & PHOTOS)

Hundreds of residents turned out for a Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) meeting held to discuss the relocation of 100 school buses to Rockville on May 11. MyMCMedia’s Maureen Chowdhury reports.

Residents packed the multipurpose room at College Gardens Elementary School and voiced their concerns and frustrations about plans to relocate buses from the Shady Grove Bus Depot to the Carver Educational Services parking lot, which is located close by to residential neighborhoods.

“We already experience enough traffic and congestion as it is and this is just going to add to the madness that’s already there in the community and impact our lives, its going to create much more congestion that we already deal with on a daily basis,” said Dinesh Verma, a resident, who lives in the College Gardens neighborhood.

Scott Weaver, who is a member of the Carver Coalition group that arranged for a protest before the meeting, said that he is worried about the health of his children.

“I have a vested interest because my window is 110 feet from the curb of the existing lot and I have a toddler who is four-years-old and a baby who is six-months-old and I know what asthma can do,” Weaver said.

Residents also wanted clarification on which official entity would ultimately make the decision on the Carver lot plans.

image“Who’s the decision maker?” one audience member asked during the MCPS presentation.

The County government has set a deadline for MCPS to vacate the more than 400 buses located at the Shady Grove Bus Depot by January 2017, so developers can begin building a neighborhood near the Shady Grove Metro station.

According to School Board officials, a permanent solution has not yet been found.  “So, that’s the problem we have,” School Board member Phil Kauffman said. “We need a place to put the buses.”

Kauffman believes that School Board can decide the fate of the Carver site. “The decision on whether or not we move ahead with the Carver bus depot is, I think, with the Board of Education because ultimately in July it will be coming back to use for the approval of the construction contract. That will be an opportunity for the Board to say yes or no for the Carver site,” he sad.

Kauffman added that he hopes the County Council will delay the deadline to vacate the lot before July. “If we can get the assurance from the County Council that we don’t have to move our buses, that they are committed to finding us a permanent solution to our bus depot needs, if we have that assurance, prior to that, which is what we’ve asked the County Council to do, then I think we could take an earlier action to say we don’t need to move ahead with any interim solutions,” he said.

Councilmembers Sidney Katz, George Leventhal, and Marc Elrich attended the meeting and told residents that they oppose the plan.

But for residents, the discussion isn’t over.

“We heard much more clearly, that the County Council and Board of [Education] are beginning to hear us. That this is the wrong plan, the place, just a bad idea. But you still hear the Board of [Education] saying ‘the county need to not kick us off our existing bus depot and you still hear the County Council saying ‘the Board of [Education] can stop this any time it wants.’ So they’re still pointing fingers at each other and we’re going to have to keep pressing until this bad idea goes away,” Erik Ledbetter, resident of College Square in Rockville and a member of the Carver Coalition,” said.

Maureen Chowdhury

About Maureen Chowdhury

Maureen Chowdhury is a multimedia journalist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at mchowdhury@mymcmedia.org and on Twitter at @MediaMaureen. Maureen authors the blog Sound Check on MyMCMedia.

Comments

| No comments yet.



Engage us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter