Lower Merion School District Moving Forward with Expansion of Bus Depot on Matsonford Road

The Main Line Times is reporting that the Lower Merion School District is moving forward with the expansion of the existing bus depot on Matsonford Road. The school district hopes to store an additional 20 buses at the depot by creating a parking deck that would extend over a retaining wall on the property.

Here is part of the report from the Main Line Times:

The district’s is planning to build a parking deck between the former Modern Rental building and a higher elevation portion of its property. The work would include excavating dirt from a hill and constructing a retaining wall between the two sections of district property. The deck would then extend out from the top of the higher elevation and over the retaining wall. The access to the upper part of the deck would be from the higher elevation part of the property.

School officials have said they believe another 20 buses could be added to the site with the parking deck.

The district is trying to find space for 36 to 39 buses. The buses are a mix of new ones that are expected to be purchased over the next few years due to higher enrollment projections and another 24 buses that are currently parked on the Lower Merion High School site. The district has said it needs to remove those buses to free up space for cars due also to the higher enrollment projections.

West Conshohocken and Upper Merion Township, both which border the property, are against Lower Merion adding buses at this location and have their common solicitor, Joseph McGrory Jr, expressing their opposition. From the Main Line Times report:

“Our problem with the plan is the existing conditions as much as what you are proposing,” McGrory told school officials. “Adding 20 buses exacerbates an existing condition that is not tolerable. So when we look at this situation we look at remedies that the school board can do to soften the impact on major roadways in Upper Merion and West Conshohocken. When you put transportation facilities in the further most western property of the entire school district and bordering two other adjacent municipalities, it has an impact on those two municipalities. …For that reason we are looking at your zoning, we are looking at your land development ordinance, we are looking at PennDOT requirements.”

McGrory went on to offer to meet with the district’s solicitor and go over alternatives that could be done to lessen the impact the buses have on the neighborhood.

If you are interested in this issue, according to Main Line Times, the school district will be presenting a sketch plan for the bus depot before the Lower Merion Planning Commission on Monday, January 5th at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Board Room of the Township Administration Building at 75 East Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore.