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Front Page March 27, 2014  RSS feed

On Board For Quieter Skies

Port Authority Directed To Address Noise Woes
by Robert Pozarycki

Residents frustrated by low-flying planes may soon get some relief as Gov. Andrew Cuomo formally asked the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) on Monday, Mar. 24, to step up noise mitigation efforts.

Cuomo ordered PANYNJ Executive Director Pat Foye and the entire agency to “take a multifaceted, comprehensive series of actions” to address concerns related to jet noise voiced by local residents. The measures include holding roundtable discussions with community leaders, launching a major airplane noise study and doubling the number of noise monitors established around areas near LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy Airports.

“Airport noise is rightly an important concern for residents of Queens, the Bronx and Nassau County, and that is why I am directing the Port Authority to open a full and thorough dialogue with the impacted communities while also pursuing a noise study to better address the issue,” Cuomo said in a statement Monday. “We will listen to local residents and ensure their input is used to make both JFK and LaGuardia airports better neighbors.”

“We are working with all communities we operate in to address their concerns while brining JFK and LaGuardia airports into the 21st century and maintaining the viability of our airports as major economic engines for the metropolitan region, added Foye.

In recent months, local lawmakers and civic associations around Queens blasted an increase in low-flying jets approaching at or departing from JFK and LaGuardia. The extraneous noise has been known to disrupt sleep patterns and, especially in areas very close to the airports’ runways, rattle homes as the jets fly by.

Port Authority officials previously stated the increase in jet noise was largely due to flight pattern changes mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Cuomo announced Monday the Port Authority will hold regular roundtable discussions with FAA officials, community representatives and staff members of area elected officials. The first session is scheduled to take place in April at a date, time and location to be announced.

Additionally, the Port Authority will launch a “Federal Airport Noise Compatibility Planning Part 150” study to examine the noise impacts on communities near JFK and LaGuardia. A private firm will be hired to conduct the study, which will include identifying public locations most impacted by airplane noise, and offer a host of potential solutions.

“The overall goal is to provide noise relief to communities where possible and practical, while ensuring the continued regional economic benefits of air travel,” according to the Governor’s office.

To get a better read at how many communities are negatively impacted by low-flying aircraft, the Port Authority will also double the number of portable noise monitors displayed in areas in close proximity to JFK and LaGuardia. Airline carriers whose jets are found to be exceeding noise limits are subject to fines by the authority.

Also included is the creation of a modified version of WebTrak, an online flight tracking system in which visitors can track plane movements into and out of the city’s two main airports. Residents can gather data on jets and refer flight information to the Port Authority when filing noise complaints.

The data is provided in real time, but on a 20 minute delay for security purposes.

Finally, the Port Authority will establish an Aviation Noise Office specifically designed to collect and review noise data and respond to complaints and concerns voiced by residents.

Residents who wish to report complaints about low-flying aircraft may call the Port Authority hotline at 1-800-225-1071. To view the current version of WebTrak, visit http://webtrak.bksv.com/panynj.