Brentwood residents sue Mayor Bowser over planned bus depot

Residents of Northeast D.C.’s Brentwood neighborhood are suing Mayor Muriel Bowser to stop the District from building a parking lot for hundreds of school buses.

The bus depot is planned for the 1600 block of W Street and will span four acres.

Residents said it would add significant air and noise pollution near people’s homes, and that the area is already home to many industrial sites.

They’ve hired lawyer Johnny Barnes, who represented a separate group in a similar case in nearby Ivy City. Residents won that case in 2012.

Ward 5 council member Kenyan McDuffie, who is running for D.C. attorney general, said at a news conference Tuesday that he supports Brentwood residents.

“I am here to stand with the residents of Brentwood, because we need more people to recognize the environmental injustice right here in this neighborhood,” McDuffie said.

“Imagine having to keep your windows closed when you have a cup of coffee to avoid the fumes of a trash-transfer station coming into your home. Imagine having to deal with the sights, the smells and the pollution from concrete asphalt plants.”

McDuffie called it “an injustice.”

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Darlene Oliver said Ward 5 “can no longer be the dumping ground” for the District government.

“They would never go to Ward 1. They would never go to Ward 2. They throw it over here. We have a street probably a mile of nothing but industrial pollutants. We have residents who cannot sit on their front porch because they cannot breathe,” she said.

Resident Reggie Donaldson is one of those suing the city. He said he wants D.C. to hear what the community is saying: “We don’t want this bus depot over here.”

“We’ve been told that this won’t affect pollution — 250 buses won’t affect pollution? We’ve been told it won’t affect traffic. Come on,” Donaldson said.

Empower DC Executive Director Parisa Norouzi said residents reached out to her organization after being “ignored by the city government.”

“There is a system in place that ignores D.C. residents and their concerns and bulldozes through to make whatever the mayor’s office wants … to make it happen,” Norouzi said.

“We want to change the way that the city deals with environmental justice and deals with the placement of polluting facilities.”

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

Carrie Shokraei

Carrie is a writer and reporter for WTOP. She’s been in the news business for more than 20 years, starting out her career in small market TV as a reporter and anchor.

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