Hundreds attend meeting to oppose bus depot in Maryland

Hundreds of residents attend meeting to oppose bus depot in Maryland (Ben Rice/ABC7)

A standing room only crowd of hundreds came out Wednesday night to voice opposition to a plan that would put a bus depot near Montgomery College in Rockville.

The school system plan calls for 100 school buses to be kept in a parking lot at the southwest corner of Rt. 355 and Mannakee Street. The lot sits very close to a townhome community on Ivy League Lane.

"My son's bedroom window is 120 feet from the curb edge of this bus lot debacle," said Eric Ledbetter, a Rockville parent who helped organize a protest before the meeting. "I'm worried about my son's health. He's slept with his window open his entire life."

The county council has told Montgomery County Public Schools that, by January, it needs to remove the 430 buses it keeps at a depot near the Shady Grove Metro Station.

The council wants the buses out of the way so a new development can be built on the property, which is at the southeast corner of Shady Grove Road and Crabbs Branch Way.

But several attempts by the school system to come up with alternate sites have been met by strong community opposition, including the latest plan the crowd was protesting Wednesday.

Besides pollution concerns, residents say they are worried about traffic, which they say is already very heavy around Montgomery College. They say they're also concerned about noise -- at the meeting one official said per federal regulations the buses would be testing their horns around 6 a.m. each school day.

A school system spokesperson told ABC7 MCPS would prefer to leave the buses where they are, and is asking the county council for permission to keep them there past January.

At Wednesday night's meeting, three county council members told the audience they are opposed to putting a bus depot at the Rockville location.

That location is on property that is part of MCPS's headquarters. It is currently being used for parking for Montgomery College students.

Even if the plan to put the 100 buses at the Rockville location was approved, MCPS's problem of where to put buses would be far from solved, since 330 more would need to be relocated. At Wednesday night's meeting an official admitted there is no full plan for what to do about the buses if the council doesn't bend its January deadline.

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